|Fifth Avenue in Manhattan at the holidays|
Whether you’re buying for yourself, a beau, your mom, dad, brother, sister, best friend, or that Secret Santa present you dread every year, thinking ahead before hitting the stores will save you time, energy, money and frustration. Trust me, I have experience in this department. And now, on to the good stuff!
|via Pour le Monde|
Smell great, feel good, and lend your support with Empower from Pour le Monde (For the World), a natural fragrance that skips the formaldehyde, parabens, and harsh chemicals, but is 100 percent derived from essential oils and natural isolates. Clean and citrusy, Empower is a delicious unisex scent for the vibrant and active male or female.
This fragrance is not only certified by the Natural Products Association, but 10 percent of every net sale on the website goes to Westchester-based Guiding Eyes for the Blind, an amazing organization that trains guide dogs to empower the blind, visually impaired, as well as children with autism. A 1.7 fl. oz./ 50 ml eau de parfum natural spray is $95.
|via Pour le Monde|
The Skinperfect Primer SPF 30 from the skincare pros at Dermalogica is a must in any beauty routine. Worn alone or under make-up, silicones and soy protein work in combination to smooth out complexion, eliminate fine lines, and prep for make-up while protecting skin from the sun. I received a sample of this product along with other goodies in my bag at checkout one day, and after just one try, I was immediately hooked. The feel, smell, and look after application make Skinperfect Primer a bargain at $48. Men who don’t wear make-up like this product too!
For the less techy gals in the Big Apple who prefer to keep appointments, contacts, and reminders in an old-fashioned notebook, the Make a Scene Pocket Journal from Henri Bendel is an ideal accessory. The book includes a 2014 week or month-at-a-glance planner, an NYC MTA map, and a directory and listing of New York events. The whimsical, multi-colored stylish cover screams “Bendel,” and the journal measures approximately 3 inches wide by 6 inches high and a half an inch thick, making it an easy fit in even the most compact handbag, clutch, or briefcase. This unique gift is just $48.
If you’re a white wine drinker, shop the light and buttery 2011 Estancia Monterey County Chardonnay to stuff your own stocking. Although I typically gravitate toward reds, after recently attending a local event hosted by California-based Estancia, I couldn’t get enough of this creamy Chard.
And while you’re sipping your glass (or two!), light the Estancia Chardonnay candle from fragrance specialist DanYa Decker. This multi-sensory candle–– with an eco-wood wick ––draws inspiration from the bottle with subtle notes of lemon zest, tropical pineapple, Anjou pear, and creamy vanilla. Pair the Estancia Chardonnay and candle for your holiday party or an intimate dinner this holiday season. The candle prices at $44 and the wine at $11.99.
If fruit isn’t your favorite food group but cheese is, the Set of four Fromage Cheese Plates –– also from UncommonGoods –– makes for a lovely hostess gift to take to that holiday party you’ll attend, or an appropriate goodie for any fellow cheese lover. Perfect for dining or serving, each brightly colored porcelain plate is eight inches in diameter and decorated in a different type of fromage. The set comes in a Camembert gift box, the classic cheese from Normandy, and sells for $25. A plate of cheese will never look and taste so good.
For the ultimate splurge item, look no further than a luxurious shagreen Venice Box from New York’s John Lyle Design. When I say “it’s all in the details,” this phrase undoubtedly applies to this tiny gem. At just four inches by six inches and two inches high, store your most exclusive jewelry items or two decks of playing cards. Covered in fig shagreen with bone trim and initials for that personal touch, the interior ebony and suede make Venice just as fabulous on the inside. This luxe accessory is available in 12 naturally dyed shagreen colors. Retail is $800.
|via John Lyle Design|
I can’t resist a sharp necktie, so I certainly couldn’t leave out the Snowflake Silk Tie by Salvatore Ferragamo, available at Bergdorf Goodman. Made in Italy of 100 percent silk, the woven star and snowflake pattern in navy is sure to brighten up even the most basic outfit this season. Splurge for your special someone, male or female; even ladies like me will finish off a crisp, striped button-up shirt with a dashing accessory like this one. Your Christmas outfit will be more spectacular than ever before with this piece of Ferragamo neckwear, which retails for $190.
|via Bergdorf Goodman|
If you’re looking for that special gift for that special someone but you’re on a budget, the Bent Feather Ring from NYC vintage jewelry queen Erica Weiner won’t break the bank. Available in brass or sterling silver, the feather charm has been hammered into a circle to create a lovely wearable ring with an extra-thin profile. Comfy, chic, and inexpensive, price on this is just $35, and any lady will love it.
|via Erica Weiner|
Fashionable yet practical, this Grey Missoni Scarf will add a little punch to any all black ensemble. Zig-zag intarsia combined with iridescent burnout makes this chic piece a stand-out item. Wear it winter, spring, and fall –– dress it up or dress it down. Made of 85 percent wool, 11 percent nylon, and 4 percent rayon. Be sure to visit the Missoni shops, either on Madison Avenue or West Broadway in NYC. Now on sale for $420.
Flannel has definitely made a comeback this season, and there’s no better choice than the Women’s Free Swinging Flannel Shirt from Duluth Trading. Comfy, warm, and stylish to boot, the moveable fabric and underarm gussets make this shirt my preferred choice when walking through Central Park on a chilly day. I’d wear this plaid with a pair of dark leggings, layered over a tee or turtleneck depending on the temp, then topped with an insulated vest, a scarf and knit gloves. The Carbon Blue Plaid is my favorite color choice, but honestly, I would take one in each color.
The bonus: Duluth Trading makes orders and returns a snap! I originally selected a medium but it was way too large, so I opted for the small, which is a perfect fit and a bargain at $44.
|via Duluth Trading Co.|
For footwear fiends, these bright and bold Glades from Schutz will dazzle your Christmas guests. The chunky-heeled ankle-height booties are not just another pair of red shoes. Embellished with studs, this festive pair will work well with skinny pants or a girlie mini-dress. Shop for them in style at Manhattan’s Madison Avenue store. Retail price is $190.
Drop a line the old-fashioned way on these collage-style notecards featuring some of the city’s most adored icons. British artist Susy Pilgrim Waters illustrates the Statue of Liberty, the Washington Square Arch, the Staten Island Ferry, among others, in her fresh, colorful style. Available at the Guggenheim Museum Store, price is $15.95 for 20 notecards with envelopes.
|via Guggenheim Store|
The many murals of the Big Apple are featured in the recently published book, Murals of NYC. Discover public works of art in this comprehensive guide with pieces in courthouses, hotel taverns, libraries, and other not-so-obvious places throughout New York’s five boroughs. Find addresses and historical details on each mural, artist, location, as well as the particulars on creating, restoring, and preserving each piece of art. From Bemelman’s to Keith Haring, this special book is an ideal present for the art enthusiast, frequent NYC tourist, or anyone who loves New York.
Written by Glenn Palmer-Smith, photographed by Joshua McHugh, with an introduction by Graydon Carter, purchase the book at Rizzoli’s midtown Manhattan shop on 57th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues for the true New York experience. Price is $45.
And, that’s a wrap! I hope you’ve found a present for yourself or a loved one on my personal list of must-haves for the 2013 season. No matter which holiday you celebrate, what’s under your tree or in your stocking this year, don’t stress, travel safe, eat well, and catch up with the special people in your life. Cheers!