So grab some eggnog and join me as I run holiday amok, starting with Hanukkah on December 10th. Christmas (I think you know this one by heart), and Kwanzaa on the 26th. And while we’re on the subject of partridges in pear trees and dreidels spinning their way to chocolate coins, let’s remember to binge on favorite holiday flicks, embrace the warmth of family and good friends, shop for amazing presents (just turn the page to get started), and ring in a most Happy Ever After New Year!
SCENT FROM ITALY
Jasmine Leather, Eau D’Italie’s latest fragrance arrives on the holiday scene accompanied by a fascinating history dating back to the Florentine Renaissance. Evidently, back then it was customary to scent gloves, vests, and other leather items. Topping the list of essences was Jasmine, found to pair bewitchingly with leather. Today, notes of elemi, saffron, patchouli and cedar ensure Jasmine Leather will be one of the season’s most coveted new fragrances! Info: beautyfrontier.com.
Bangs with their own frizz agenda set me on the path to find a flat iron that would keep them from going rogue, but when I let my hair grow I wanted a tool that could also curl. NuMe’s Megastar Hair Straightener has lived up to its multi-thumbs up reputation on both counts, as well with such added tame-and-shine goodies as infrared heat and an ion booster. That said, all that’s left is to ask yourself: “Who wouldn’t want stellar hair?” Selfie time is now!
When I was growing up, every Christmas a new pair of slippers would be waiting for me under the tree. Having let tradition slip through the cracks, I’ve decided to share the slipper convention with my favorite people this year vis a vis Nauseni, a socially savvy company known for its wool felt slippers handcrafted in Nepal exclusively by female artisans. High-quality and cozy, Nauseni’s slippers also reflect Nepal’s cultural heritage.
Sometimes only the crème de la crème will do, and following an informal poll of my besties, the consensus is that makeup brushes should come with a flawless guarantee. Veil Cosmetics Pro-On-The-Go Brush Set—an assemblage of five indispensable tools—is spot on. The quintet of buffer, foundation, cheek, concealer, and lip brushes, with cruelty-free, faux-mink bristles (mega-soft!), not only do their job impeccably, they have “the look” aka trendy-classic!
TO HAVE AND TO HOLD
While evening bags are sized for credit card, lipstick and phone, day bags are way bigger. Make that, were. Due to shorter jaunts and more at home time, “less is more” is now key. Still, we have stuff. Marcher’s Pia and customizable Petite Pia clutches to the en vogue rescue! Exquisite lines, European leather, posh linings, and space+ for essentials make Pia a knockout must-have. Do not hesitate to gift and/or treasure—truly a five-star find!
Looking for an ingenious way to dazzle Mom or your BFF? Consider the limited-edition Spa Girl Spritzer Set featuring a 750ML bottle of Spa Girl Cocktails Vodka, a 375ML bottle of St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, and a 1-liter crystal carafe. As for the cocktail itself, this mixologist dream drink—crisply decadent, bubbles included—is free from excessive sugar, carbs, and calories. Even the presentation is beguiling—all in all, the whole package. Cheers!
To steal from Monty Python: “And now for something completely different…” Moonglow Jewelry’s belief that every moment has a moon. The site even helps you find the moon phase that matches a special date corresponding to several stunning pieces. My wedding anniversary led me to Lovers in the Locket necklace (two Swarovski crystals wrapped in a circle of rose gold). In short, expect to find a piece that unlocks a meaningful memory. Info: moonglow.com.
DESIGNED WITH PRIDE
Even though Piccolina’s Trailblazer Tees were originally created “For Little Ones Who Dream Big,” their inspirational artistry now comes in adult sizes and if your nice list includes a mom, grandma, teacher, etc., you’ll so want to explore this wearable portrait collection celebrating historic female visionaries like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jane Goodall, Maya Angelou and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Extra points if you go for mommy & me tees!
The Buzz: The Ricoh Theta SC2 360-degree camera is pegged to be a white-hot seller this holiday season. The Reasons: It’s user-friendly (not just for pros and perfectionists), high-performance, high-res and adaptable. Also, it’s sharable, with rapid wireless transfer. All this in a lithe, hand-held body with multi-functional display. The tech info is well laid out on the website and I urge you to check out Face Mode, Night View, and Lens-by-Lens Exposure. Info: theta360.com.
The nostalgic thrill that comes from stepping away from the keyboard and picking up a classic writing instrument is both palpable and powerful—totally the case when I penned my way across a crisp sheet of paper with a fountain pen from Faber-Castell’s Hexo Collection (named for his hexagonal aluminum shaft and cap). Also in ballpoint and rollerball, these pens are, well, inspired! Info: fabercastell.com.
Once you’re ready to gift a posh pen, might I suggest partnering it with an equally posh journal? Hadron Epoch Light Steel Grid Journal is my personal choice with its linen stock, contemporary grid format, back pocket and timeless cover. Its enticing bullet format—for quick notations, ideas, and planning—also shines when composing the first paragraph of the novel you’ve been noodling with for ages. Info: hadronepoch.com.
Unique becomes a rather flimsy adjective when attached to Taft’s Rome Boots, each pair boasting a seminal design, the leather enhanced by four staggeringly different coats of paint and stain. Made in Spain or Portugal, the boots are given life by “generational shoemakers” who clearly pride themselves on perfection. As for style, think casual, formal, you name it.
Man cave ready or family friendly, welcome to Amazon’s All New Fire TV Stick. With Alexa Voice Remote, this new device amps up your apps and TV volume as it serves up half-a-million films and TV episodes. This latest edition (upping the ante 50% from its previous incarnation), is billed as “Struggle-free, tinker-free and stress-free”—I concur, and that’s saying something coming from stress central! Info: amazon.com/amazon-devices.
When it comes to shaving, it appears the 1800s were well ahead of the 2000s. To wit, instead of clunky, eco-dubious aerosol cans, savvy retro dudes simply lathered up a shave bar (by hand or brush) and zingo! It’s razor time. Unwrapped Life Shave Bars have brought back this compact cost-saving item (1 bar equals 3 canisters) and the end result is an amazing combo of close, clean shave, and hydrated skin. Two thumbs up! Info: uwrappedlife.com
Patio Chef Update: Cuisinart’s Deluxe 20-Piece Grill Set gives pros and wannabes the wherewithal to razzle-dazzle guests with steaks, hot dogs, vegan burgers, corn-on-the-cob, or any other sizzling idea/recipe on the menu. Smartly organized with state-of-the-barbecue panache, the sleek storage case boasts stainless steel tongs, spatula, skewers and more, including a show-stopping digital fork with LED light for dining when the sun goes down. Info: cuisinart.com.
DRY AND MIGHTY
Since rain, wind, and snow seem to retain their forecast status every winter, an umbrella that’s wind-resistant and keeps both downpours and snowflakes at bay is imperative. Should it come backpack-size, all the better. The Weatherman Travel Umbrella checks off every box and even provides the techno-fab Weatherman Droplet, an optional Bluetooth tracker with in-app maps to track strays. Lost umbrellas? Fugetaboutit.
ALL IN GOOD TIME
Wristwatch fanatics are a restless bunch, scouring shops and the Internet for vintage and cutting edge. My latest find, the Thomas Felice Modern Art Collection, marks a singular melding of the artistic and practical. A gallery of interchangeable bands adds colorful panache to a quartet of watch faces named “Art,” “Craft,” “Abstract,” and “Picasso”. Said to be inspired by New York City, these timepieces absolutely capture the city’s vibe! Info: thomasfelice.com
OF A GOOD THING
If your laptop isn’t multitasking, you totally need SideTrak. Seriously, how did we manage to survive without this staggeringly awesome portable monitor technology that turns a measly one-screen matrix into a two-screen power force that doubles workspace and kicks excessive document overlap to the curb. Sleek and lightweight, SideTrak now comes in a Swivel version that allows it to rotate horizontally or vertically. Wish list complete. Info: sidetrak.com
During allergy season (for some of us a year-round event), boutique squares pop up in every room. Luckily, I discovered Graf Lantz’s Spanish Suede Tissue Box Covers conceal their cardboard crassness with handsome, waterproof panache. Info: graf-lantz.com
Subscription boxes may be the rage, but when it comes to originality Succulent Studios is king. Inside each box are two different baby succulent plants plus instructions on how to nurture them on their way to adulthood. FYI, my little guys are thriving Info: succulent.studio
Indoor living has made me reevaluate my comfort levels, including a critical need for a new mattress. Happily, I discovered Sleepenvie, a company dedicated to customization, A+ comfort and free delivery. Bottom line: I have reclaimed sleep nirvana! Info: sleepenvie.com
MIX & MATCHLESS
A tabletop that gives leftovers epicurean cachet is what Haand dinnerware is about, and with ideal heft and enamel good looks, the handcrafted five-piece Hestia Nesting Set goes from a 2.5 oz. ramekin to an 80 oz. fruit bowl. The ultimate hostess gift, n’est-ce pas? Info: haand.us
LUXE & LUSCIOUS
A caviar soiree, virtually or in-home, is an indulgence we totally owe ourselves. San Fran’s The Caviar Company holds the key to such bliss with a dazzling array of gift boxes and coolers to ship to both yourself and the naughty and nice in your life. Info: thecaviarco.com
DOWN TO A FINE ART
Every so often a piece of art reaches out and seduces…no doubt a regular occurrence at Upton Design Studio where the toffee canvas screen-print “Caudor” won my heart. In fact, Upton’s minimalist works are bound to strike many an artistic chord! Info: Whatsupton.com.
The Menagerie of all menageries stands out even with Melissa and Doug’s spectacular world of interactive playtime and toys. Huge, stuffed and staggeringly realistic, these hugalicious companions can be domestic, wild, or fantastical, Good luck picking just one.
Colorful, foldable, and cushiony, LilGadgets Headphones are what kids really, really want, and, since they reduce outside noise and raising the volume, parents are good with them, too. The included SharePort smartly allows kids to share a device but not headphones! Info: lilgadgets.com
PAWS FOR STORYTIME
adventure, teamwork, and love. Starring family of Finnish Lapphunds, recruited to save Christmas when several reindeer go missing, the book is full of heart and sure to become an annual family tradition. Info: happylappies.com
What toddler wouldn’t want to build a toy airplane, race car, or even a city? Skipping the dicey sharp edges and tools, Stick-O-City makes it possible with a variety of shapes fitted with rotating magnets that magically take hands-on creativity to new levels! Info: magformers.com
Winter at Hogwarts is, of course, magical. Which no doubt inspired the wizards and witches at Funko to create Mystery Minis: Harry Potter Snow Globes, an adorable bunch of tiny favorite characters, encased in glass and utterly collectible. Best. Stocking stuffer ever! Info: funko.com
HOW TO BUILD A BETTER TOY TRAP
Tidy kids who enjoy putting toys away—maybe three on the planet, and certainly none that I know. But in the, “OMG, I can actually give the gift of neatness,” corner is Rice by Rice Raffia Toy Baskets, colorful, themed and kids actually love—and use—them! Info: ricebyrice.us