Dear Advice Diva:
Once again the holidays are over, and I will be spending the next few weeks at the mall returning my very impractical (or just plain ugly) gifts -- at least the gifts that I can. Many others are re-gifted, I am sure, and some don't even have store tags.
It's so frustrating that my family and friends, who obviously don't know my taste, waste their time and money on things I will never use, just to say they bought me something. I can't say anything because I know they love to see the look on my face when I open my gifts, but one day I would love to get a quality gift, not to sound superficial. I am a snob, I admit it. But is it wrong to be so picky when I spend a lot of time, not to mention money, picking out designer gifts that I think will be perfect for others, and in return I get stuff that looks like it came right out of someone's reject pile?
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Dear Miss Unappreciative:
There are few holiday stressors as traumatic as shopping for the family snob. And it's probable that your family and friends go to great lengths to select gifts that will pass inspection and delight you. But your taste level exceeds their imaginations and, likely, budgets, so try to make it easy on everyone by giving them some categories for next year. Sure, it may sound nervy, but it's a lot gentler than what you're really thinking. Avoid anything that involves trends, brand names or fabric specifications, which would leave few options, which is the point. We vote for hard-cover biographies of famous women, culinary and design books, and jazz CDs or DVDs -- all great for the home library or, ahem, the re-gifting drawer.
Even though I'm a Miami girl, I think the toast look is a real turn-off. The worst part is when someone tries to do it themselves by putting on extra-dark, self-tanner and it gets muddy and really dark around the ankles. It just looks dirty. Natural is nice but if you have to add color, think sun-kissed, not over-baked!
The Advice Diva welcomes your questions and fashion pet peeves -- particularly the more amusing ones. Write her at advicediva@MiamiHerald.com.