Miss A Columnist

Grace Yco is the San Diego Editor for Miss A. Denying her writinglust finally caught up with her. She was forced to trade in biology for blogging and hasn’t looked back since (moments spent Hermèsmerized notwithstanding).

She grew up in Japan, considers California home, but feels like she belongs in Paris. In her bag, you will always find three books: one for reading, one for writing and one for planning. Yes she has tablets, but committing to them is another story, and so that relationship remains complicated.

You can find her scouring the web, musing over luxury elitism vs. fashion democracy, and dilly-dallying in rapturous moments of absolute silence (she is not a nun). Grace is also sensitive. And sometimes funny. She’s a professional bikini bard by day and a bookworm by night.

Charitable And Stylish Holiday Gifts 2013: San Diego

Don’t let the Southern California sunshine fool you – holiday season will be upon us before you know it!  That’s why here at Miss A San Diego, we’ve scouted around for the most stylish and charitable finds that will make for perfectly meaningful presents. From home goods to clothing to jewelry, the city of San Diego proves that shopping for a cause goes hand-in-hand with the holidays.  So write up that list, cut the naughty and note the nice—because our handy little gift guide will make this year’s gift-giving a (balmy) breeze!

Solo Eyewear t-woods1_1024x1024

Photo credit: Solo Eyewear

Solo Eyewear
Save your eyes–and someone else’s too—with a pair of shades from Solo Eyewear.  Handcrafted from recycled bamboo, these sunnies have brightened up the outlook of over 6,500 people and counting. Each pair funds eye care for the world’s impoverished via a pair of glasses or sight-saving surgery.  Founded by San Diego State alumnae, Jenny Amaraneni and Dana Holliday, Solo Eyewear is a local company that has its heart set on making a global impact.  Editor’s pick:  T-Woods tortoise shell frames; $78.


Photo credit: Sofia by ViX

Sofia by ViX
Sofia by ViX, the bohemian sister label of ViX Paula Hermanny,  is a playful line of Brazilian resort wear mixed with SoCal style.  This San Diego-based brand offers bikinis, cover-ups and dresses that combine laid-back California spirit with Brazilian beach fashion. It’s the perfect go-to collection when shopping for that one, lucky friend who’s off to an exotic destination this winter. We all have one, and if we could, we’d stuff ourselves into their suitcase! But more importantly, parent company ViX is partnered with World Vision and gives back regularly to charitable causes directly benefiting children.  Additionally, ViX has a special section of garments where proceeds will be donated to Susan G. Komen in support of Breast Cancer Awareness. Editor’s pick: San Isidro Gipsy Short Dress; $105.

Mimi and Lu Sweetheart Ring

Photo credit: Mimi and Lu

Mimi & Lu
San Diego-based designer Michelle Watson cites her jewelry line as being “born amongst colorful clowns and crazy acrobats” from a summer working with Cirque du Soleil.  And if that alone isn’t intriguing enough, let’s turn to the “Lu” in her brand’s name.  It refers to Lucca, her Great Dane.  As the unofficial mascot of Mimi & Lu, Lucca has inspired in Michelle a passion for helping animals. A handful of her artful designs contribute directly to helping animal rescues, especially dogs in need.  Marked as “LuccaLove,” these pieces serve to raise awareness for all those pets in need of re-homing and rehabilitation. Got pet-lovers on your list? Consider them done!  Editor’s pick:  Sweetheart Ring; $38.

Dr. BronnersGIFT-BASKET-2013[1]

Photo credit: Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap

 Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps
The San Diego suburb of Escondido is home to one socially responsible and passionate company, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. Soapmakers since 1858 and San Diegans since the 1960s, the Bronner family has been providing high quality, natural soaps that are certified under the USDA National Organic Program and the Fair Trade “Fair for Life” program.  The brand offers everything from hair care to personal skincare products, such as shaving gel and lip balm.  The best part?  Your purchase would help the company’s activism efforts in social, environmental and organic labeling integrity.  Editor’s pick: Fair Trade Gift Basket; $49.99

Studio Penny Lane journal

Photo credit: Studio Penny Lane

Studio Penny Lane
The vision of Studio Penny Lane is simple: inspiring gratitude, one penny at a time. Inspired by the death of a very close friend, designer Laurie Wilson conceptualized a brand of jewelry and accessories that would help foster mindful awareness for the sake of children.  A single penny easily represents a single thought or action and education is key to making empowering decisions.  Help a friend keep positivity in mind with these unique pieces incorporating the use of vintage pennies.  Editor’s pick: Penny For Your Thoughts Leather Journal; $55.

Studio Penny Lane
346-A South Cedros Ave
Solana Beach, CA 92075
Ph. 858-436-7028

Monday: closed
Tuesday – Saturday: 10 a.m. –  5 p.m.
Sunday: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Pura Vida autumn_evening_pack

Photo credit: Pura Vida Bracele

Pura Vida Bracelets
It was a graduation trip-turned-business venture for San Diegans, Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman.  The two took a five week trip to Costa Rica and found something they couldn’t leave behind—that of the “pura vida” lifestyle.  Literally meaning “pure life” in Spanish, it was a local phrase that would later embody the movement these hand-made bracelets inspired.  Their high demand across college campuses, surf shops and beach towns allowed the boys to partner with local jewelers they met during their trip.  Pura Vida now helps to employ 30 local artisans in Costa Rica, raising their quality of life.  Plus, with every bracelet sold, 1% is donated to the Surfrider Foundation, a worldwide grassroots effort supporting beach and ocean preservation.   Editor’s pick: Autumn Evening Pack; $45.

Jedidiah FLAG tee

Photo credit: Jedidiah

A humanitarian inspired fashion brand, Jedidiah is part of Made for Good, a group of socially conscious brands that align with charities in hopes to affect change through retail consumerism.  In short, Jedidiah is a brand working to “use apparel sales as a vehicle to provide care, support and financial resources for those in need.”  Proceeds from their line of clothing and accessories go towards Not For Sale, a non-profit fighting against slavery and human trafficking around the world.  Editor’s pick: FLAG racerback tank; $29.

Fair Trade Decor

Photo credit: Grace Yco

Fair Trade Décor
This gem of a boutique is San Diego’s first Fair Trade Federation (FTF) retailer, where 100% of the shop is dedicated to fair trade.  The FTF supports businesses that expand markets for artisans and farmers around the world.  These are producers who otherwise would not have had the opportunity given their socio-economic circumstances.   After selling handmade imports at farmers’ markets around the county, Elizabeth and Jude Paganelli set up shop in Del Mar and opened their doors this past spring.  Fair Trade Décor will entice you with its vast array of home goods, linens, blankets and furniture.  Peruse other items such as jewelry, accessories, books and instruments.  Products hail from all corners of the globe, including the countries of Swaziland, Indonesia, Guatemala and Peru.  Editor’s pick: too many to name!

Fair Trade Décor
1412 Camino Del Mar
Del Mar, CA 92014
Ph. 858-461-1263

HOURS: Monday-Sunday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Unite Salon SD

Photo credit: Vanity Fair

Treat a friend to a holiday from the holidays with some pampering from Unite Salon in San Diego’s Cortez Hill. Andrew Dale, founder of the parent brand Unite Hair, opened this location as both an educational center for aspiring beauty professionals and as a way to give back.  Net proceeds from the salon will be donated to the San Diego Center for Children, an organization providing behavioral health, educational and social services for at-risk children.  Talk about getting coiffed for a cause—giving back never looked so good!  Editor’s pick: Haircut—a new look for 2014; service starts at $60.

Unite Salon
1452 7th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
Ph. 619-238-6483

Tuesday-Friday:  10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Saturday:  9 a.m. – 5p.m.

FitZee Meals

Photo credit: FITzee Foods

FITzee Foods
How about giving the gift of New Year’s Resolutions—jumpstarted?  With a gift card from San Diego-based FITzee Foods, recipients will be able to fuel their fitness lifestyle with fresh, all natural meals-on-the-go! This is the perfect present for that health-conscious friend who is short on time since FITzee offers local pick-up or home delivery.  Plus, five cents of every meal purchased is donated to the “Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds” program of Monarch School.  This downtown San Diego public K-12 school serves over 400 at-risk and/or homeless children, providing them with daily, well-balanced and nutritious ‘Miracle Meals.’  Editor’s Pick: splurge with a gift card of $250.

FITzee Foods
2445 Truxtun Road #109
San Diego, CA 92106
Ph. 619-501-5664

Monday-Thursday: 9 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6p.m.
Sunday: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.

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