The (Almost But Not Quite) Holiday Editon

By Griffin Miller

The days may be shorter than we’d prefer—suggesting that summer has the edge on seasons—but let’s not forget the dividends we accrue during long, shimmering winter nights, including carte blanche to cliché binge by “going all out,” “partying down,” “wining and dining,” “spreading good cheer” and “shopping till we drop”. So in the spirit of celebrating Life & Style, here “are a few of my favorite (new) things”.


From the Kate Spade Melrose Avenue Barware collection: a cocktail shaker almost too gorgeous to use. Almost. The sleek quintessential form revamped into glass that’s been striped and topped in gold. Yes, it would make a dandy gift… but think for a moment how hard it would be to part with this indulgent little treasure. I couldn’t. In my mind’s eye, I’m already hosting a posh something or other and the shaker—flush with the perfect gin or vodka—awaits my bidding: to be stirred or shaken, that is the question. Sure, 007 had his preference, but he didn’t have this shaker. Info:

Some people have the gift of global gab, picking up languages and communicating easily. I, on the other end of the language gap, am left to pantomime my way through international travel. Thankfully, Hammacher Schlemmer offers a Two Way Live Conversation Speaking Translator. Hand-held, it verbally translates what’s being said and “speaks” it to the other person. Without Internet access, 12 languages are available (including Chinese, Japanese and Russian); with the Internet, add another 21, while 19 more come with text translations. A Russian-speaking friend and I are smitten with the device… now on to my French neighbor. Info:

Writing a thank you or begging forgiveness on exquisite stationery—the very idea conjures images from Masterpiece on PBS: Charles Dickens scribbling away at his desk; Queen Victoria composing a note to Albert; anyone writing anything in Agatha Christie. Yet, how dare we break with slapdash email protocol? I say it’s time to rebel starting with Dempsey and Carroll’s Whispering Angel correspondence cards, melding the color of Château d’Esclans’ rosé wines with 10 cards and hand-lined envelopes; custom angel motif with “Whispering Angel” engraved at the top; name/monogram option. Sublime. Info:

Suddenly, my family tree is adding newbies at an astonishing rate—two in one month with another en route. As a result, my radar is primed for baby gifts and Tiny Love boasts ingenious collection, including a couple of mobiles that blew me away. One—Meadow Days Soothe ‘n Groove Mobile—morphs from crib mobile for babies to a toddler-friendly portable music box (18 tunes/40 minutes of non-repeating music). Colorful buttons even let babies change music on their own. The Meadow Days line also has Sunny Stroll Arch that attaches to strollers for out-and-about interaction with toys, textures and sounds. Info:

Like many New Yorkers, I rarely leave home without a bottle of water, designer or otherwise. For runners, water bottles tend to be a more personal choice often dictated by shape, size and accessibility. Nathan Sports is expert at providing runners with practical gear, including hydration options. The company’s SpeedShot Plus Insulated Flask e.g., is grip-free, holds 12 ounces and features double wall insulation for keeping liquids cool. It also has reflective fabric for night visibility and an expandable zippered pocket for keys, snacks, cellphone, etc. Not a bad idea for errand-runners, dog walkers and street performers, either. Info:


SAVVY COMBO The hassle of everyday life is no picnic, but add in holiday madness and let’s be frank: we can use all the help we can get to look absolutely swell with minimal angst. How about one tool that handles two issues? Bring it on. The Conture Kinetic Smooth Hair Remover & Skin Polisher removes unwanted hair (face, body, bikini area) even on sensitive skin (painless, precision rotary blades) and gently exfoliates skin while taking out surface oils (face and body) with a mild polishing head that adjusts to curves (it rotates 360 degrees). And a standing ovation for the end result: de-stressed, brighter skin... glow on! Info:

Rarely does the opportunity come along to wear the runway… even if what your wearing happens to be the same nail creations worn by the models sporting Christian Sirano’s Spring/Summer 2019 Collection. And yet, the design that made such a splash—created by KISS Products, Inc. lead manicurist Gina Edwards—is doable with KISS’s imPRESS Press-On Manicure in Play It Loud black and KISS Nail Artist Paint in white. “I dubbed this nail the ‘twisted zebra,’ a modern take on the animal print trend,” said Edwards. Info:

“Apply to wet skin; lather and rinse”. Straightforward. Disclosing nothing about the experience itself. But if you peel back the tiny corner, all is revealed: the reason NaturaBrasil’s Cacau Creamy Body Wash is so addictive. As it happens, the fruit of the Cacauero tree is teeming with fat (without it cocoa butter would be skinny—no kidding). Yet once it becomes body wash, the finale is gorgeously subtle: light lather… unpretentious unisex scent… and the somewhat devil-may-care desire to luxuriate in steam and Cacau ad infinitum. But be forewarned: should you dare to share, you’ll be setting a very, very dangerous precedent. Info:

In the days and weeks following Breast Cancer Awareness Month there’s still much to be said about the need for courage and empowerment in all our lives. For cancer survivor Shelly Fisher, the way to go was to launch a jewelry line called One Tough Bitch, the title serving as a tangible reminder that we will—inevitably—end up facing more than we think we can handle… and it doesn’t hurt to wear our courage on our wrist or around our neck. And if you don’t feel comfortable showing the world the words, you can flip the pieces over to show only the symbol. (FYI, OTB has added jean jackets & accessories to its inventory!) Info:

The art of transforming the ordinary into the unexpected. It may sound like a course taught at Hogwarts, but in the world of fashion the alchemy behind this skill is what separates ho-hum from cutting-edge. Echo Design, celebrating its 95th birthday this year, continues to master and re-master this art, a fact not lost on me as I set out to score the ideal pair of winter gloves. Ten minutes on the website and they found me: Classic Colorblock in Echo Black. Sheepskin leather with a wool lining, keeping it whimsical with pops of color peeking out from between the fingers. Best. Gloves. Ever. Info: