Gift Ideas to Wow from NILS, iWow, Calvin Klein, Oh Mi Bod, Trojan & Coty

At the GBK lounge during fashion week, I saw a very exciting messenger bag that makes a perfect gift for teens, and men and women of all ages from Blinkzgear.  This messenger bag not only looks eye-catching, and it isn’t just fitting with functional inner pockets, it has another unqiue twist:  the bag’s top cover zips off so you can replace it with a wide variety of colorful designs to suit your mood and your personality.  For example, this URBAN+LIFE Messenger Bag ($79.00) is available with a black, white or red base, and then you can pick a cover from 15 different covers.  conic printed graphics on the front cover flap.  There are other bag styles but this one is 16″ W x 11″ T x 5″ . At Fashion Week, we used the Blinkzgear bags to carry all our samples and swag. At home, it’s been helpful for storage, and when I travel, of course, for carrying my “office” around. It is made of a weather resistant,  tarpaulin nylon with velcro closures for dependability and 3 small pockets for phones, pens, receipts, etc. The interior is lined with 600 denier nylon and features 2 large pockets for phones, 2 small pockets for sunglasses, etc., 2 pencil slips and a keychain fob to stay organized. A partitioned interior with separate compartment for 15″ laptop computer. Empty, the bag is fairly lightweight, but if you stuff it with your laptop and lots of other things, you’ll be happy that it has a wide, adjustable shoulder strap with metal buckles (made of seat belt material) that let you wear the bag cross-body, or on your shoulder. I love the idea of the different, zip-off covers. These are $20.00 each and range from zebra print to bulls-eyes, bicycle print, and more.  This makes a great gift for a road warrior, a student, or anyone who has to carry things around. Visit to order.

Looking for a holiday gift idea for a friend that loves the outdoors, or just likes to look chic and sporty? NILS has  ski wear for women that isn’t just for the slopes, although it is high performance, and lovely to look at.  The collections include jacket, sweaters, fleece, resort wear and petites. For 33 years, the company offered those who want the very best, products that look good and feel good, and perform beautifully.  One item in particular that I think would make an amazing holiday gift offering, is the NILS active sportswear top called Jerrie  #6202 (srp. $120.00).  In size XS to XL, (the sizing is generous, and NILS has a very good sizing chart on their web  site so you can find the perfect fit).  This top comes  in cloud (black and white chevron) with a white fleece inner lining, or in Plane Grey (dark and light grey chevron with black fleece inner lining).  Jerri  a hybrid.  It’s more than a sweater, but also a  sweatshirt, other layer, inner layer and light outer fleece. The outer fabric is a knit but the inner lining is a fleece.  It’s soft against bare skin, simply as a sweater,  but worn  over a camisole, turtleneck or other layering piece, it becomes an essential mid layer for skiing or other cold weather activity.  In the Spring and fall when the weather is nippy but not that bold, it is also a flattering outer jacket.  There are just so many ways to wear it, you or the recipient of your gift will find it to be a four-season sensation!  The streamlined lines of this pull-over top curve,  to make you look curvier, too.  Exposed antique brass hardware snaps on the front on one side, let you access inner layers without having to pull up the top. They also add flair. The neck zips in an asymmetrical bold brass zipper either all the way up into a warm fleecy funnel neck, or unzipped partially to make a wide open collar. The fleece inside goes all the way through the top down to the end of the sleeves, ready to fold up- as a cute cuff to make the length of the arms, the perfect length for your body.  The polyester fleece backing keeps you warm and dry on the mountain, while the trendy chevron knit will keep you looking just as good around town. 100% Polyester Knit Fleece. The fabric is soft and smooth on the outside, the fleece silky and soft on the inside. You just want to curl up with a good book by the fire, or maybe, toss it on over a slim inner layer and go for a long walk in the woods. This multi-purpose top is affordable, but looks like it costs a fortune in a fancy ski shop. Get this for a special someone and make her winter, warm and stylish for years to come.  Visit: to order and to find retailers near you.  *keep an eye out for our big NILS feature: A Tale of Three Layers, coming up on January 5, 2013! 


When you are seeking something special for a holiday gift, music is one of the best things that comes to mind.  Mp3 players, laptops, Kindles, smart phones…all have music capabilities.  However, there is a little device called the i-Wow that truly enhances the sound quality, and yet it smaller than a pack of gum.  Last year, The Advice Sisters reviewed the initial i-Wow Models, but now there’s a new one, the i-Wow-U1F (srp. $79.99).  It’s a little gadget that boosts (enhances) the sound quality of  almost any device with an audio 3.5mm headphone or line out jack like an iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android devices, MP3 players, PCs, standard headphones or earbuds, even your car!  i-Wow boosts the bass in your music devices, improving the treble and making every device sound amazingly great. lt retrieves and restores audio cues that are buried within the original source audio, so you hear the things that many music players and speakers simply can’t unearth on their own. The i-Wow offers three-dimensional sound that makes an immediate, astounding difference in the quality of what you hear.  Plug one end into your music device, the other into your headphones or speakers. Press the “on” button and what you’ll hear will make you go: “WOW! Yes, the I-wow is aptly named. The latest version, the i-Wow-U1f. it is longer and sleeker than the original, and it comes with the  i-Wow-U audio adaptor, five colored faceplate inserts and a Micro-USB cable for charging the device.  It also lets you switch between the connection in your car, and the one for audio devices such as phones and Ipods. This new version is plug and play…you no longer need software to operate the device. And, it comes with an internal, rechargeable battery that gives you up to 5 hours of time, via an included USB cable.  You can switch between the This makes an incredible gift for anyone on your list who loves music, and you can get it in a variety of places including Amazon, or visit:

The Advice Sisters haven’t made a lot of suggestions specifically for men, but one that we think will please just about every male, in every age group, is a fragrance by Calvin Klein called: Encounter. The 1.7 fl. oz. Eau de Toilette Spray is just $58.00 and the 3,4 oz. bottle is $72.00. There are also gift sets available in the department stores and online. The fragrance arrives in a black, matte and shiny outer carton with silver lettering, and inside is a slightly indented rectangular bottle (the photo appears to show the bottle protruding, but it’s actually indented)with a silver collar and smoked grey plastic topper over the spray diffuser. It looks architectural and modern, and the scent within, is, too. What I like about Encounter is that it is pleasant but not overly trendy or “mature.” It just smells fresh, clean, manly–an engaging, woody fragrance. Notes are classic but mixed in a modern way: Mandarin, Cardamom, Rum, Pepper, Egyptian Jasmine, Patchouli, Cognac, Agarwood, Atlas Cedarwood, Musk.  This is the sort of scent you can’t go wrong giving as a gift, because it’s hard not to understand or like it. If you’re looking for something avant-garde, or for grandpa, maybe this isn’t the best choice, but for all the rest of the guys in your life, it is great! Get this at department stores, Sephora, just about everywhere fragrances are sol!

Electronic devices are always welcome holiday gifts, but Kandi Kisses from Oh Mi Bod is another type of “pleasure.”

At a Valentine”s Day preview that was held in the Fall, I spied two collections of “personal pleasure devices” from Trojan and also Kandi Kisses. Kandi’s caught my beauty reviewer’s eye, because some of these vibrators are in the shape of beauty products, designed by an Atlanta “Real Housewife,”   Kandi Burruss for her “Bedroom Kandi” line. My pick for a gift for yourself, or an open-minded friend, is the lipstick vibe ($59.00), with 7 different vibration modes. The “Lipstick” is charged with a USB cord, and the lipstick bullet is made from body-safe, pink, silicone and ABS plastic.  The vibe is very quiet (and somewhat intense), but it is also discreet, so it’s something you can pack in your carry-on bag without embarrassment.  One more thing:  to turn the lipstick vibrator on, you have to press and hold the button on the bottom for 3-4 seconds.  Initially I thought it didn’t work, because I couldn’t figure out that I had to hold the button.  But now I realize that this is a safety measure, that ensures your devide won’t accidentally activate when carried in a pocket, purse, tote or suitcase.  You can get these online at a number of places, but you might want to check out the official site:


If you want to relax on your own over the holidays, but are seeking something you can get easily in the drug store and closer to home, Trojan Vibrations offers a number of impressive, quality models.  One that is similar to the Lipstick Vibe, but larger, and still waterproof and travel-friendly, is the  Trojan Pulse ($29.99) with 6 settings-3 speeds and 3 pulse patterns, a soft silicone tip. Trojan even throws in a satin pouch and an AA battery.  This vibe isn’t as cute as the one from Kandi Kisses, but it does the job, and does it well.  Another popular favorite is the Trojan Tri-Phoria Srp. $49.99),  with 8 settings, 5 speeds, 3 pluse patterns, and three different tips (2 soft silicone, one hard plastic). You can check out all the offerings and if you’re too shy to walk in an bring it to the cashier, you can order online.

Lady GaGa is a true mega-star, the Madonna of her generation, pushing boundaries and becoming iconic at a young age. Now she’s got an exciting new fragrance from COTY called Lady GaGa Fame. Naturally, it’s beyond traditional with a new fluid technology that makes the product black in color (not on your skin). More traditionally, the fragrance is a bright fruity floral, with notes including unusual tears of Belladonna and Black Veil of Incense, plus sensual notes of Pulverized Apricot and a combo of Saffron and Honey, mixed with crushed heart of Tiger Orchidea and Jasmine Sambac.

The fragrance created by master perfume Richard Herpin and also with talented perfumers Honorine Blanc and Nathalie Lorson from Firmenich, will find that young fans favorite the intense notes, but fragrance collectors and those who like unusual scents, will enjoy it just as much for the packaging. The fragrance is meant to emoby the clear rewards, yet dark price, of fame. We think the Lady GaGa has done a great job with this, and the fragrance is going to top the charts! Our choice for the holidays is this Gift Set for $$84.00 (a $128.00 value), which includes a 3.4 fl. oz. eau de parfum in a stunning, elongated, egg-shaped clear glass bottle with an amazing gold “claw” top that mirrors Lady GaGa’s monster claw symbol. For those unaware of the claw’s significance, the monster claw symbol is done by holding your hands up and putting your fingers in a claw-like manner,  You also get the very unique,  6.7 fl. oz. Black Fluid Shower Gel ($25.00 if purchased separately) and a .34 oz. handy-to-carry-rollerball ($19.00 if purchased separately), and a bonus, Skeleton Tattoo. The set is impressively packaged in a hard-sized black box with shiny metallic gold accents and plushy red interior. If you’re on a budget, however, you can get the fragrance in a variety of sizes ranging from $40.00 for 1 fl. 0z, to $79.00 for 3.4 fl. oz. We also like the 6.7 fl. oz. Body Lotion for $30.00 and the egg-shaped, 5 oz. black soap at just $15.00. Lady GaGa Fame is available at department stores and Sephora/

About Advicesisters

Alison Blackman Dunham aka. “Advice Sister Alison” and “The Advice Sisters” is a writer, photographer, online advisor, and lifestyles consultant. She has built her reputation offering readers a unique perspective on life, in print, in person and through the camera lens. Her focus is on advice, beauty, fashion, lifestyles, relationships and things that help make life easier, more successful and more fun. Please follow Alison on Twitter @advicesisters and check out her other web (advice-related) sites: &

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