Holiday Photo Shoot 2016: Awesome Africa, Bright like Neon Love

December 22, 2016

Editor’s Note: Happy Holidays from myself and my loving and growing HGC fam! This year’s holiday shoot is centered around vivid brights, neons for days, and gorgeous artisan goods from Africa. For this shoot, I really wanted to focus on the fun energy of our youth. Celebrating your imagination, the idea of fun and endless possibilities- because if you believe anything is possible- the sky is the limit! Random fun fact: It took 3 times for us to get these shoot pics together, due to the crazy LA weather, so I am grateful for HGC models Kristine, Carli, Sergio and Marcio for making this happen. Third time’s a charm right? So moving on to the good stuff, the 2016 HGC Holiday photo shoot is all about:

1-Music- since I’m always inspired by music (particularly old school Cut Copy and currently obsessed with South Africa’s zef style icons, Die Antwoord)

2-Childhood- I’m always in daydream mode and have been reminscing about being a kid again. The TROLLS movie that came out in November made me smile and reminded me that yes, I did collect trolls….but you know the cute happy ones, which brings me to…

3- The 90s!!!- Not sure what has come over me but I’ve been seeing a lot of OG fashion brands that my 14 year old self would DIE to get my hands on (e.g. Unionbay denim backpack and furry Betsey Johnson Bestseyville journals and MAC makeup), I had to include some fun throwback items!

Lastly, 4- Africa- When I was in 6th grade, I took spanish, and bypassed the cool French and romantic Italian options and somehow went straight to Swahili. That’s when I knew God had placed something in my heart for Africa. At the time I didn’t know what it was, but now as an adult, I knew that it meant something much bigger. My serendipitous ties to the continent continue to multiply each year: In 2015, I was lucky to meet the gracious and gorgeous Jen from GREENOLA STYLE who supports artisans in Kenya (featured in previous shoots), as well as Elisabetta from Kurandza who empowers female artisans in Mozambique, Wamuhu from Shop Othaka who works with artisans throughout Africa, Xolisile of ENZA Accessories, who is a brave heart that supports her community back in Durban, South Africa, and the dainty and delicate collection from Jennifer and Stephanie of Jimani Collections that empower artisans and their families throughout Kenya.

2016 has been a crazy year of getting back to basics, and I have really enjoyed the journey. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve discovered so many new HGC-approved brands and can’t wait to share them with you throughout 2017. I have been excited to partner with my favorite Conscious Magazine to create a beautiful holiday gift guide to showcase some amazing giving gifts from all over the world.

I hope that you enjoy learning about these brands that look good, do good and give back- just as much as I have. Stay tuned for more to come in 2017 and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for our next HGC Gives Back Pop-Up shop!

Cheers, & much love always,


Love is in the air! Our HGC models Carli and Marcio make looking good and giving back so easy! And romantic too! Carli wears Buffalo Offering by Bethany Joy Lenz x Stilnest earrings, muti-color Zulu Girl Necklace and Bracelet set by Enza Accessories, (Bracelets L-R: Enza Accessories, Othaka roll on bracelets and Me to We Rafiki Friendship Chains. On Marcio: Black Matte Giving Keys Necklace, Watchitude Sharks Slap Bracelet watch, Kenneth Cole AWearness black benefit bracelet)


HGC model Sergio joined us in Las Vegas for our Fall 2016 shoot and graces us with his rad style and charismatic character to model our favorite Giving Key necklace in Matte Black paired with a fun Watchitude custom designed-shark watch from NYC.

HGC models Carli and Marcio are excited for these holiday gifts that look good, do good and give back!


Mr. Marcio getting into that holiday mood! Marcio wears Watchtitude Shark Slap On watch and Kenneth Cole AWearness benefit bracelet

Sergio rocks our favorite TROLLS movie gear and a 1Face watch and Kenneth Cole AWearness benefit bracelet

Sergio rocks our favorite TROLLS movie gear and a 1Face watch and Kenneth Cole AWearness benefit bracelet


All smiles in West Hollywood, just a few blocks from our very first House of G&C Fall 2014 photoshoot on Melrose Ave. My how time flies when you’re looking good and having fun!


HGC Approved Guide to Shopping this Photo Shoot

>> 1Face Watch

What: Watches that give back by supporting a difference cause. From the Classic watch to the Touch Screen and the latest, M watch. My favorite colors are blue (which we featured here in the holiday shoot, and also the rose gold and black in the touch screen collection). Prices start at $39 USD.

Where you’ve seen them: We featured these awesome watches throughout the years because they’re a great staple item to have- for both guys and gals. See more here.

HGC-approved: I love these watches because of the variety of colors to choose from. And the mirror face on the Classic watches are nice for a quick lip gloss touch up


Click to shop: 1FACE watches

>> Buffalo Offering by Bethany Joy Lenz x Stilnest

What: Digital designed goods made by your favorite One Tree Hill gal. Bethany Joy Lenz is a jill of all trades to say the least. From music, acting to design, mom and fashion blogger- she does it all! And does it well! Her latest collaboration with Stilnest benefits the Tanka Fund, which helps return buffalo to land, diets and economies of American Indian people.

Where you’ve seen them: Featured on Conscious Magazine x House of G&C Holiday 2016 Gift Guide and available online at Stilnest here.

HGC-approved: I love these dainty designs that support such a beautiful cause. The buffalo are so elegant and regal and Lenz’s interpretation of them in the form of wearable jewelry is perfect. These styles are available in the form of earrings, necklaces and rings – and in gold, silver and rose gold.

Carli all decked out in Jimani Collections earrings, necklaces and bracelets


HGC model Carli looking excited for her holiday goodies! 

Click to shop: Buffalo Offering by Bethany Joy Lenz x Stilnest

>> ENZA Accessories 

What: Variety of bracelets, necklaces, arrings, made by artisans throughout the continent of Africa. Bangle and necklace set from this shoot is from Durban, South Africa. Prices range from $35-150 USD.

HGC-approved: The selection of bold colors and unique designs are show-stopping pieces. From dangling earrings to elaborate beaded capes and neck pieces, ENZA Accessories is a line you have to check out.

Click to shop: ENZA Accessories

>> The Giving Keys

What: Pay it Forward focused company founded by Caitlin Crosby in DTLA. Partners with PATH to employ individuals transitioning out of homelessness. Prices range from $30-200 USD.

Where you’ve seen them: Everywhere, but featured in annual House of G&C photoshoots since 2014. Check out some past posts and HGC shoots where we featured our favorite Giving Key styles.

HGC-approved: I volunteered with The Giving Keys a few years ago before they moved to their DTLA warehouse in the Arts District. I was grateful to be surrounded by such an amazing group of people. A few years ago we celebrated Robert’s birthday and have seen various faces join the team and move on to new jobs, new homes and other new opportunities. So as much as this jewelry line is fun to wear and share by paying it forward with accessories, this brand is a pay it forward family that truly cares about the people who make it all happen.

Click to shop:  The Giving Keys


Holidays are the perfect time for gifting for good, but with all these amazing brands from all around the world- it’s easy to make stylish gifting an every day thing! Carli wears Jimani Collections necklace and bracelets, Marcio wears The Giving Keys matte black necklace and Kenneth Cole AWearness benefit bracelet in black

>> Kenneth Cole AWEARness Collection

What: AWEARness, by the Kenneth Cole Foundation promotes, encourages, and inspires meaningful social change and also supports like-minded organizations to make a difference. Look Good For Good campaign causes range from HIV/AIDS, Freedom of Expression, Disaster Relief, and Civil Liberties.

HGC-approved: As a fellow FIT alum, I commend Kenneth Cole for his lifetime achievement of giving back to charitable causes. He’s done a lot with the Kenneth Cole Foundation and continues to make waves in a variety of ways through donating to many non-profit organzations for the last 30 years.

Where to shop: Kenneth Cole AWEARness Collection can be found in select stores nationwide.


Gifts, gifts everywhere! Who’s the lucky girl Marcio? 

Carli looking super cute all decked out in HGC-approved goodies from head to toe. Kurandza earrings, Giving Keys matte black necklace, and bracelets by ENZA Accessories, Othaka, and Me to We

>> Kurandza

What: Gorgeous earrings, bracelets and totes made in Mozambique. Prices range from $15-98 USD.

HGC-approved: This bold assortment of colorful fabrics makes this line a must-have gift for any lady in your life. My favorites are the bangles and earrings. These accessories are made by women who raise their children, take care of the homes, and farm or work informally to provide the best life possible for their families. Kurandza works alongside these courageous women in Mozambique, empowering them to lead greatly, take risks and discover their strengths in order to live a fulfilled life and raise themselves out of poverty.

Click to shop: Kurandza



Mixed emotions! Warning: Heavy use of color may cause high energy and feelings of happiness and joy! L-R: Me to We Rafiki Chain, Jimani Collections Selena Coral Necklace, Jimani Collections Mkono Horn Bracelet in Black, and Me to We Rafiki Chains

>> Jimani Collections

What: Dainty accessories that offer feminine vibes and just the right amount of classic chic appeal. Prices range from $24-162.

HGC-approved: These beautiful pieces including jewelry and home goods are handcrafted by women in Kenya. Jimani Collecions offers a unique training program to all women employed under Jimani Collections. Through this program, women are able to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to create jewelry, either with or outside of Jimani Collections with the overall goal to help empower these women to become independant entreprenuers.

Click to shop: Jimani Collections



Loving these Jimani Collections pieces- they light up any room!


>> Me to We

What: The Me to We beaded jewelry collection is composed of accessories made by Maassai mamas in Kenya. Prices range from $10-180 USD.

Where you’ve seen them: Back in my Nordstrom social media days, I discovered this awesome line. Check out previous posts on my favorite made in Kenya classics.

HGC-approved: These simple yet thoughtful gifts help make a difference in the lives of my families worldwide. Me to We is an innovative social enterprise that empowers women (Maassai mothers) by providing jobs to women to help support their families through the craft of beadwork. Another thing that makes this product great is that you can track your impact with a tracking code on the back of your package.

Click to shop: Me to We


Carli wears TROLLS cutout out sweatshirt, Jimani Collections Kipekee Horn Earrings in Black, Jimani Collections Mkono Horn Bracelet in Black


sergio 1


What: Watches that support local artists from all around the world. $28 USD and up

HGC-approved: I found these guys in Vegas and fell in love instantly. They’re geared toward kids and tweens, but they are way too fun to pass up- even if you’re an adult. ove these because they’re fun for all ages AND they are designed by artists from all over the world. Check out more about design contests and how to vote on your favorite designs here.

Click here to Shop: Watchitude


HGC model Sergio is all smiles all the time- well mostly when he's modeling some rad gear from all these HGC-approved brands

HGC model Sergio is all smiles all the time- well mostly when he’s modeling some rad gear from all these HGC-approved brands


 All photos by Melissa Wong of HGC unless otherwise noted. 

This entry was posted in Holiday Photo Shoot 2016 and tagged 1face, 1face watch, buffalo offering by bethany joy lenz x stilnest, enzo accessories, fashion for good blog, fashion for good blogger, hgc approved, hgc approved fashion, hgc street style, holiday 2016, holiday photo shoot, house of g and c, house of g and c blog, house of g and c charity blog, houseofgratiaetcaritas, kenneth cole awearness, kenneth cole foundation, kurandza, la blogger, look good do good give back, los angeles fashion, made in africa, me to we, me to we foundation, othaka africa, the giving keys, the giving keys matte black key, trolls movie, watchitude, watchitude slap watches, weho fashion, west hollywood fashion, zef style, zef style south african fashion by

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