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Regifting: Taboo or Socially Acceptable

Posted on: December 26th, 2014 by Leah No Comments

Now that the holidays are over, you’ve likely acquired more never-to-be-used stuff. The question now is what to do with it all. Packing it into your already full closets which contains more unused, unworn gifts from holidays past seems like a waste.  Instead of keeping items you’ll never use, consider regifting that unwanted item to someone that will love it.

Don’t Become a Hoarder

It was once considered quite the taboo to regift. After all, the spirit of gift giving is to show your love and appreciation to the receiver. And what does that say if you discard the gift. However, according to the Spending & Saving Tracker survey by American Express, 76 percent of people now say regifting is acceptable.   Unless you want to end up on an episode of “Hoarders”, you’ll need to dispose of these unwanted gifts in some way. Why not give it to someone else that will really love it. Your only reason for keeping a gift should not be because of an assumed obligation to the gift giver.

Who can I give this to?

If the first thought that comes into your head after receiving a gift is – Who can I give this to? – you are probably a chronic regifter. Perhaps you are the person who has everything or maybe you are just really picky. Whatever the reason, regifting is a great way to pass along wonderful, sometimes even expensive gifts that might be perfect for someone else. Just be sure to keep track of who gave you what. There is nothing more embarrassing than regifting a gift to the person who gave it to you.

Host a regifting party

Instead of avoiding the taboo of regifting for fear of offending family and friends, host a regifting party in the new year.  The only requirement is that each attendee bring an unwanted gift to exchange for one they will actually use.  After all, regifting is the origin of the white elephant gift exchange. So at the very least you’ll all get a good laugh when someone opens your gift from Aunt Martha containing three ceramic kitten bowls.

Ceramic kitty measuring cups found on Amazon.com

Ceramic kitty measuring cups found on Amazon.com

Whether you choose to regift, remember it is the thought that counts. No matter how much the gift may seem like it couldn’t possibly be intended for you, it was. Smile, say thank you, and place the ceramic kitty bowls in your cupboard.


Gift Guide for the Men in your Life

Posted on: December 22nd, 2014 by Leah No Comments

Figuring out what to buy the men in your life is no easy task. Especially if your dad, husband and brothers are the type that seem to already have everything. To me, men always seem a bit more difficult to buy for. Then too, it may be because the perfect handbag wouldn’t exactly knock their socks off.  This year, instead of buying him another fishing lure or cooler, consider one of these man-worthy gifts.

It’s the season to sparkle

Most women swoon over little blue boxes wrapped in tiny white bows. They call their girlfriends to gab over what could possibly be inside the obvious jewelry box. Small boxes can be equally as exciting for men. Plus, they’ll never guess that the gift is even for them. Blue Marlin Jewelry in Islamorada offers beautiful jewelry for men including men’s watches and cuff links. So if you have a guy who likes to get dressed up, consider buying him something to sparkle in.

Stop into to Blue Marlin Jewelry’s new location at 81549 Old Highway in Islamorada, open Monday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sundays 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Capture Memories

A GoPro is the perfect gift for the adventurous men in your life. These small, lightweight cameras are wearable and mountable to shoot action photos and videos for a lifetime of memories. If you have a sportsman or outdoorsman in your family, the GoPro is a great gift to help them film their next big catch or back country adventure. Starting at $299, GoPros are available at Divers Direct located at 535 Greene Street in Key West. Open Monday – Thursday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For the Adventurous

Help your guy try something he’s always wanted to do by buying him lessons to try wakeboarding or kiteboarding. Keys Cable and the oTHErside Adventure Park is the Southernmost cable wake park in the United States offering rentals, coaching and passes to try these fun pastimes. This experience is also one the whole family can enjoy.   Open 7 days a week from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Located on Grassy Key, call (305) 414-8245 for rates or appointments.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Green Egg

The best gift I have ever given my husband was a Green Egg for his 40th birthday. He was dying to buy a Green Egg and after our old grill rusted out, I splurged for this funny looking ceramic grill, roaster, smoker, and baker extraordinaire. The reason it has been the best gift, is that it truly is the gift that keeps on giving. Beyond the normal steaks and burgers, he’s made smoked ham injected with pure maple syrup, brisket, leg of lamb, smoked turkey, BBQ chicken, chicken wings, fire roasted pizza, smoked BBQ ribs and the list goes on. The aroma coming from our house has the neighbors mouths watering and has turned my husband into the cook in the family. I now just get to watch with a glass of wine in hand. Although I’m starting to get concerned that he may run off and join the BBQ competition circuit, these chef-like meals has made us into quite the foodies and cooking together has been fun.

Forest Tek Lumber located at 88521 Overseas Highway in Tavernier carries Green Egg’s starting at $799. They’ll deliver and if you’d like more than just the base the Egg sits in, they also make custom tables for all your grilling needs.

And don’t forget the gifts that don’t cost a thing. Plan to watch the sunset together while enjoying his favorite bottle of wine. Give him a kind compliment or note to let him know how much you love him. Or provide a helping hand to do a chore he normally does alone.

No matter the gift, large or small, it’s the thought that counts.   Happy Holidays.

The Perils of Holiday Shopping

Posted on: December 20th, 2014 by Leah No Comments

I have a confession to make. I hate shopping over the holidays. The long lines, abundance of shoppers, and packed parking lots instantly turns me into the Grinch. Lucky for you, we live in the Florida Keys, far far away from those crazy shopping malls packed with overzealous holiday bargain hunters.

Our shopping options consist of beautiful boutiques where you’ll find friendly locals eager to help with everything on your shopping list. For a pleasant shopping experience this holiday season, take a look at a few shopping tips to help you get into the shopping mood.

Wear comfortable clothing

Whether you’ll be shopping in the Florida Keys or traveling to the mainland, comfortable clothing is a must. I recommend dressing in layers as stores are usually air conditioned and can get cool. Also, make sure your footwear is appropriate for the hours you plan to spend perusing racks of ugly Christmas sweaters, candy canes, ornaments, and stocking stuffers. You may also want to pack a hair tie to pull your hair back in case you have to fight someone for the last $5 bejeweled tree topper.

Create a List and Budget

Make a list of all the gifts you need to purchase for the holidays. By having an idea of what you need and writing it down, you can save both time and money. When you don’t have a list, it’s much easier to over buy and over spend.

Look for the Bargain but Don’t Buy Just to Buy

Bargains are great but you should never purchase something just because it’s a deal. If the item is for you, make sure you will absolutely use it and are not just buying to buy.

Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you have to buy cold weather festive items. After all, we do live in the Florida Keys were its warm year round. Instead of sweaters and boots, consider a more fun approach and buy some new swimwear this holiday season. The owners of the Waters Edge Gift Cottage opened the new Immerse: A Swimwear Boutique in October. Located at mile marker 99 at 99228 Overseas Highway in Key Largo, this new boutique offers cover ups, beach fashion accessories, beautiful swim wear and unique gifts. Plus, your cold weather based friends and family will love receiving something beachy along with an invitation to come visit. It will help them get through their cold winter knowing they have something cute to wear or enjoy on a future trip to the Florida Keys. Immerse: A Swimwear Boutique is open Tuesday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Immerse: A Swimwear Boutique in Key Largo

Immerse: A Swimwear Boutique in Key Largo

In the Iconic 80’s flick Troop Beverly Hills, Phyllis Nefler says, “I may be a beginner at some things but I’ve got a black belt in shopping.” By following these tips, you too can earn your shopping black belt. Remember, no hair pulling…after all it is the season to be jolly.



Holiday Party Planning Simplified

Posted on: December 16th, 2013 by Leah No Comments

The season is upon us for celebrating which means lots of parties, libations and festive food.  If you are hosting a holiday get-together or a soiree to ring in the new year, here are a few tips to help with your party planning.


By now you’re home is likely already decorated for the holidays but, if not, don’t overdo it before your party.  Your guests are coming to see you and enjoy your company and won’t be spending much time in front of your Christmas tree.  If you’re planning to serve a sit down dinner, spend your energy decorating the table with a few festive items.  A small topiary or rosemary tree looks great strung with lights and placed on your table or outside your front door.  Many of our local nurseries carry these trees this time of year.  I recently bought one at The Banyan Tree at 81197 Overseas Highway in Islamorada and had it potted for under $100.

Festive Drinks

The drinks served at your soiree are as important as the food.  The rule of thumb when considering what to purchase is 50% will drink wine, 30% will drink beer and 20% will drink mixed drinks.  You can simplify your bar by only serving beer and wine, or instead of a full bar,  offer a signature drink such as eggnog or pomegranate martinis.  Not only are signature drinks more festive but they’ll also save you money so that you’re not having to purchase a full bar of liquors and mixers that may not be used.  And for your New Year’s Eve festivities don’t forget the champagne.  There is nothing more fabulous than ringing in the New Year with some bubbly.   For something different, offer a DIY champagne bar with fruit juices including orange and pomegranate and fresh fruit such as raspberries, blueberries and strawberries.

The best time to buy your holiday party libations is during sales.  Most local liquor stores offer one day a week with discounts up to 30% on everything in the store.  On Tuesdays, stock up for your holiday soiree at the Green Turtle Wine & Spirits at 81219 Overseas Highway in Islamorada for a great discount.

Create a menu and Make a list

When deciding on the menu for your holiday party, be sure to make a very good list of all the ingredients you’ll need and preparation times needed for each recipe.  Many recipes can be made ahead of time and refrigerated overnight to save you on preparation time the day of the party.  There is nothing worse than starting to cook only to realize you forgot to buy half the ingredients and a good list prior to shopping will ensure this doesn’t happen to you.  Consider a non-traditional menu for your gathering with a Florida Keys themed menu including shrimp, lobster, crab claws and sushi.  Also, hosting a party at a non-traditional time such as brunch can be a lot of fun.  A lobster frittata and mimosa bar will provide more than enough to satiate your guests.

Simplify your party planning

Simplify your hosting responsibilities by getting a little help from a caterer.  Hiring a bartender or server  can make all the difference between you enjoying or working at your party.  They will ensure all your guests are served and will also help you clean up after the last guests have left.  Consider also having a caterer provide all the food for your event.  The holidays are already busy and stressful,  and parties should be fun.  Megan Hylton, the catering manager with Catering by Green Turtle and Kaiyo Grill is an expert at planning amazing events your guests will remember.  She’ll help you come up with a theme, create a mouth watering menu and will make sure you and your guests have a fabulous time.  Contact Megan by phone 305.393.6215 or email meganh@greenturtleinn.com for more information.


Enjoy your next gathering by hiring a caterer such as Catering by Green Turtle and Kaiyo Grill

Enjoy your next gathering by hiring a caterer such as Catering by Green Turtle and Kaiyo Grill

Shop Conscientiously This Holiday Season

Posted on: November 18th, 2013 by Leah No Comments

As we approach the holiday season, it’s important to start thinking about the type of gifts you’ll be giving. It’s also equally as important to think about where those gifts are made. Are they eco friendly? Do they support local businesses? Our purchasing decisions affect our community and the environment and what better time to be “thoughtful” than around the holidays.

Shop Local

Have you considered buying all of your holiday gifts from local merchants? By shopping local you can build a stronger economy and support local businesses in Monroe County this holiday season. When you shop local, more of your money stays closer to home building stronger communities by creating jobs, funding community services through sales tax, and investing in neighborhood improvement. For a list of where to shop local, go to my blog: LeahsFabulousFinds.com where you’ll find past Conch Style columns where I’ve featured a wide array of local boutiques. Just click on the category, Florida Keys Shopping for a full list.

Fair Trade

Fair Trade is a product certification system that identifies products that meet agreed environmental, labor, and developmental standards. Many products that meet these standards will use the Fair Trade marking on their products to let consumers know that their product was not made through child labor or unhealthy labor conditions. Fair Trade products range from apparel and linens to coffee, teas and chocolates.

Vintage, Recycled, and Eco-Friendly Gifts

Give an eco-friendly gift by buying a product that has been made from something that was destined for the garbage or landfill. You can find recycled wine bottles that have been made into candles and platters and recycled bike chains that have been made into bottle openers and bowls. Vintage products are another type of eco-friendly product because they are being recycled and are not longer mass produced. Vintage gifts have storied pasts and are usually a very special gift because of its uniqueness.

Green Pineapple Key West Boutique

Go to the Green Pineapple in Key West to shop local and buy fair trade, recycled and eco-friendly gifts.

Looking for a store that has it all? Go to the Green Pineapple at 1130 Duval Street in Key West where you’ll be able to shop local and buy fair trade, organic, vintage, recycled and eco-friendly gifts for everyone on your list. The Green Pineapple’s vision is to promote sustainability through an eclectic offering of beautiful and conscious consumer goods from around the world. All of the products carried in this beautiful boutique are “green” in nature. Within this shop, you’ll also find the Lush organic wine, chocolate, tea and coffee bar. Lush’s offerings are all certified organic, sustainable, recycled, compostable, biodegradable, socially and environmentally responsible, bio-dynamically grown or fair trade certified. These delectable items may be green but they are also delicious and perfect for a treat while shopping or take some home and give as gifts!

Green Pineapple offers Key West organic wine, chocolate and coffee bar.

Housed within Green Pineapple is Lush, Key West’s very own organic wine, chocolate, tea and coffee bar.


What to wear for the holidays!

Posted on: December 17th, 2012 by Leah No Comments

Sequins, sparkle and everything shiny go hand in hand with the holiday season. Not only will you find them wrapped around your Christmas tree but it’s also the perfect opportunity to add it to your wardrobe. In the Florida Keys, we don’t have a lot of opportunities to get decked out as Keys Casual really is, in most cases, the most dressed up we get, but the holidays are a perfect excuse to dress up a bit more.  And there are plenty of opportunities to wear all that sparkles –  holiday parties with friends and colleagues, family celebrations, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, and that’s all in the same month!

The easiest way to incorporate a little glam into your holiday outfits is through accessories. I can’t get enough of these vintage bags found at Pink Junktique at 98275 Overseas Highway in Key Largo! Starting at just $35 they are also a very affordable option for getting into the holiday spirit.  Look for sequins, metallic shades and beaded bags as these will easily glam up your outfit without a lot of effort. For a holiday party, I’d pair a glitzy bag with a basic black dress and heels for a wow look. Too dressy for your festivities? Try wearing a glitzy bag dressed down with jeans, black heels and a black fitted tee. This will still help you achieve a glam look without being over dressed. Although I would argue that it is always better to be overdressed then underdressed and being that it’s the holidays…just go for it.

Vintage Bags from the Pink Junktque in Key Largo are the perfect addition to your holiday outfit

Vintage Bags from the Pink Junktique in Key Largo are the perfect addition to your holiday outfit

For a really fun look try a sequin dress like this gold dress from Wild Lily at 81933 Overseas Highway in Islamorada.  Pair this with a basic black heel and black opague tights for an easy glamorous look perfect a New Years Eve party.  Black is always dressier so if you’d prefer a dressed down version of this, try pairing it with a fun color like bright pink.  Wrap a bright pink scarf around your neck and pair it with a similar hued shoe and you’re set. This look has a lot going on so pair down your bag and accessories by staying in the same color tones and go for simple elegant pieces like a basic gold bracelet and earrings.

Sequin Gold Dress from Wild Lily Boutique MM 81

Sequin Gold Dress from Wild Lily Boutique MM 81

Statement necklaces and flirty dresses are another easy holiday party staple.  I love shopping at Déjà vu at 608 Duval Street in Key West for affordable girly frocks and lots of statement necklaces.  Wear bright hued necklaces or layer multiple necklaces in bright shades, various metals or pearls to dress up your holiday look.  Déjà vu has a huge selection of fun costume jewelry and apparel, many of which are designed by store owner, Stephanie Carter, under the label Judith March.  Starting at just $20, the Judith March label is both adorable and affordable!

Flirty Frocks and Statement Necklaces from Deja Vu in Key West are Perfect for the Holidays

Flirty Frocks and Statement Necklaces from Deja Vu in Key West are Perfect for the Holidays

Happy dressing this holiday season and remember, the more bling, the better!


This article was also featured in the Florida Keys Reporter and Keynoter as a part of my “Conch Style” column that runs bi-weekly in the Friday and Saturday edition.  If you have story ideas on style in the Florida Keys, please send me an email at Leah@leahsfabulousfinds.com.

Designer Holiday Collection Launches at Neiman Marcus and Target this Saturday!

Posted on: November 29th, 2012 by Leah No Comments

My name is Leah and I am an avid shopper.  In most cases, I’m really quite obsessed.  I can’t wait to see the new designs, colors and fabrics for each season.  But this time of year shopping becomes more of a sport than an enjoyable pastime.  (I literally wore tennis shoes while shopping on Black Friday!!!)  It’s all about getting the best deal on items you really don’t need and standing in crazy-long lines in the wee-hours of the morning with cranky strangers who’ve not had enough coffee.

This Saturday, December 1st will mark the launch of Target and Neiman Marcus’ designer holiday collection.  And the really wonderful thing about this much anticipated collection, other than the amazingly affordable designer apparel, is you can shop it online or in stores!   This limited-time collection features a total of 50 exclusive holiday gifts by 24 designers including: Alice + Olivia, Brian Atwood, Carolina Herrera, Marchesa, Oscar de la Renta, Proenza Schouler, Lela Rose, Jason Wu, Tory Burch and Marc Jacobs.  This is one shopping day you won’t want to miss.

The collection ranges from $19.99 for a Tory Burch lunchbox to $499.99 for a bike designed by Alice + Olivia.  Below are a few of my favorites that I’ll be shopping for this Saturday.


Marc Jacobs for Target + Neiman Marcus Holiday Collection - Pouch $69.99

For you: Marc Jacobs for Target + Neiman Marcus Holiday Collection – Pouches $69.99


Target & Neiman Marcus Holiday Designer Collection

For the fashionista: Robert Rodriguez ruffled top – $79.99, Lela Rose dress for $99.99, Lela Rose top $69.99 & Tracy Reese sequin blouse $79.99


Target Neiman Marcus Holiday collection

For the jetsetter: Brian Atwood Leather globes $49.99, Alice & Olivia luggage $199.99, Prabal Gurung cape $79.99


Target Neiman Marcus holiday collection

For the home: Jason Wu ornaments $49.99, Tracy Reese dessert plates $39.99, Eddie Borgo accent box $49.99 & Altuzarra double old fashioned glasses $49.99