Stories for the year: 2010

Gift GuidesHoliday Gift Guide ’10: Splurges You’ll Love

ONE. Burberry Fine Cashmere Mega Check Scarf — We always think a gorgeous, warm scarf would make a lovely holiday gift. This one from Burberry is certainly a splurge, but one that your gift recipient will love. Not only is it so warm and soft, but it comes in a variety of rich hues featuring the classic check pattern.  Something for everyone!

TWO. Weekend Getaway at Windham Hill Inn — I love the idea of giving the gift of vacation, and after I got back from Windham Hill Inn (full review coming!) a couple weeks ago I’ve been telling everyone I know to go.  This is more of a gift for a significant other or a couple, as the Windham Hill Inn is one of the most romantic places I’ve ever been to!   Set among the peaceful Green Mountains of Vermont, the Relais & Chateaux property is located at the end of a country road and nestled on 160 acres of pristine land.  It’s one of the few places that I recommend visiting all year round as each season brings a different- but equally special- flavor to the Inn.  Watch the sun set among rolling hills outside in the summer or read besides your private fireplace in the winter.  Make sure to book in the Meadowbrook Suite- the creme de la creme of rooms, which features a double soaking tub by the hearth- and underneath low skylight- perfect for stargazing with your honey on a winter night.

THREE. Dylan Leather Chair — We have always been into mixing vintage items with modern, clean lines. Living in Hollywood and watching more old movies has also added a bit more of that old-school glamour to our style, and as such, we’ve decided that someone with $1,999 to burn must get us this studded wingback leather chair from Crate & Barrel. It’s the perfect combination of old meets new, and it would look fabulous in our office. In Java (or Stone). But we’re not talking about us; we’re talking about your very expensive gift to a very lucky person.

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ShoppingInStyle StyleFind

I’ve long been a fan of InStyle because I always felt that their editorial and shopping guides are very friendly and relevant to my needs as a smart and savvy consumer.  As much as I love artistic editorial shoots and runway looks- sometimes I just want to learn how to dress the real way- and InStyle has always been indispensable in helping me find the right pieces.  So that’s why when I found out that the editors of the fashion magazine are now curating their own shopping site: StyleFind, I was eager to check it out.

Need to know what trends to rock and how to rock them?  StyleFind not only tells you what’s hot- but also where to buy it and lets you click right through to shop.  Never buy retail price?  StyleFind even shows you how to get the look only with items marked “on sale.”  Need some runway inspiration to help you mix and match?  The Fashion Trends section of the site shows you now the designers themselves style the trends.  Final verdict?  Just another way InStyle helps me put forward my best outfit!

Gift GuidesHoliday Gift Guide ’10: Man Up

ONE. Philips Norelco SensoTouch 3D Electric Razor — We have found the Holy Grail of electric shavers with the Philips Norelco SensoTouch 3D, and any man should be so lucky to get it as a gift this holiday season! The shaving heads follow contours and curves perfectly, allowing for a smooth shave every time, wet or dry. Its handle features an ergonomic grip for better control and precision, and it’s cordless, complete with a travel pouch. To sum up, it shaves well, handles well, and travels well – perfect.

TWO. Kenneth Cole Dress Belt Box Set — Our contributing LA editor says that almost every year, her husband requests a new belt, which apparently many men need. Over time, she’s realized that belts wear out, and it’s really hard to find a simple yet stylish, decent-quality belt that looks just as good with a suit as it does with jeans. We love that this box set offers four ways to wear a reversible leather belt: black, brown, dressed up or dressed down — and all for a good price, $58. And because it’s so multi-purpose, it almost qualifies as a gadget. So boyfriend, husband, brother, Dad … they’ll all get something out of it.

THREE. HTC Windows Phone –Guys always love the latest and coolest gadgets, so this is the perfect gift for the man who could use a bit of mobile upgrading.  The HTC Windows Phone is currently carried on T-Mobile and AT&T (with Verizon coming in the near future) and combines the hardware prowess of HTC phones with the new Windows 7 mobile operating system.  The work/personal  phone is completely customizable and integrates all his social media accounts into one central place.  Now he can open his phone and check your latest tweets, foursquare check-ins, and Facebook updates on one screen. Annoyed by your boyfriend working on the weekend? The HTC phone makes it easy just to turn off work email alerts until Monday morning. Though I generally shy away from touchscreen phones, the 4.3in screen is very user friendly, with typing feedback and the auto-correct is much less invasive than on the iPhone.  Plus the 5mb camera is superior to any other phone camera I’ve tried (all the better to take pictures of you) and comes with XBox Live (for the guy guy in him.)

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SponsoredTDO Sponsored Post: Rightcliq by Visa

Still working on your holiday shopping list?  Or, if you’re anything like us, you’re probably always compiling a permanent “to buy” list- maybe waiting for items to go on sale, or for your next big bonus, or just waiting a few days to see if you’re still obsessed.  And when you’re ready to purchase or reevaluate, you have to go through either a million bookmarks on your browser, or re-research the store to find the crucial item.  If you’re really hardcore like me, you might even put your mom on monitoring duty.  Once, when I was coveting an Armani leather jacket and waiting for the price to go down, I enlisted my mom to log on every morning and report back the second she saw it in my size, on sale.

Now, you can store all your favorite wish list items in a central location with Rightcliq by Visa- the new shopping tool created by, (who else?) Visa.  When you’re browsing online and something catches your eye, you can now directly save it into a central location via the searchbar add on tool.  Then, when you’re ready to revisit- all your wish list items from all different online retailers are saved in one place- so you can just quickly get to making the purchasing decision without wasting all your time trying to find everything again.  Need some help making the purchasing decision?  Well, Rughtcliq also lets you crowd source opinions via your Facebook account or email.  And when you are ready to purchase, Rightcliq will even show you all the available deals (so you can stop Googling coupon codes) so you are ensured to get the best price for your purchase.  Addicted to online shopping?  Now there’s an app for that!

For more information, visit Rightcliq.Visa.Com and check out the video below. READ MORE

Accessories, Tech, TravelObsession of the Moment: MICHAEL Michael Kors Jet Set Case for iPad

Gift Guides, HomeHoliday Gift Guide ’10: Home Beautiful

ONE. Pinhole Press 12-Photo Monthly Framed Calendar — There’s nothing like receiving something truly customized and personal for the home, and Pinhole Press is a new company that allows you to turn your pictures into sophisticated gifts that anyone from your boyfriend to your grandmother would love.  Our favorite product is the 12-frame, 12 month calendar where you set each month to a favorite picture.  Each month comes beautifully  mounted in a wood frame. It’ll be perfect on the living room table or the front foyer-trust me, this is a calendar you’ll be proud to show your visitors! And coming in at under $35, you can afford to make a calendar set for everyone important in your life.

TWO. SushiSamba Cocktail Tree — It can be hard to find a nice gift for the home, but we’re loving SushiSamba’s Cocktail Tree. It’s such a creative way to display elegant stemware (who wants to hide nice glasses in a cabinet?) It would look amazing as the centerpiece for a holiday gathering, but you could definitely use it any other time of the year as well. Plus, it’s so unique (each one is hand made) that you won’t have to worry that you’re giving someone something they already have. In fact, we think it makes such a statement that we’re saving up for one for ourselves!

THREE. Tiffany Blue Box Plate — Any fan of Tiffany & Co. knows just the signature blue box alone is worth getting excited about, but to receive a big one that contains another “blue box” inside — in the form of a 9.5-inch bone china plate — is truly a wonderful feeling. For $75, the price is reasonable but the look on the recipient’s face should be priceless. Plus, everyone needs a good serving plate for appetizers or desserts. We think a mound of pfeffernusse cookies would look great on this one. In fact, we think we’ll go bake some to put on ours right now!

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Beauty, Gift GuidesHoliday Gift Guide ’10: For the Love of Beauty

ONE. Frédéric Malle Editions de Parfums — Know a woman who has a nose for unique fragrances? (She’s the one in your life who always smells amazing, makes you wonder what perfume she’s wearing and constantly talks about her favorite notes.) Then she’ll deeply appreciate the fragrances by Frédéric Malle, famed artistan perfumer. The perfumes are complex and long-lasting — and well, simply smell fabulous. The brand is probably best known for Carnal Flower, a beautiful tuberose blend; but other popular scents include Musc Ravegeur, Une Fluer De Cassie, Portrait of a Lady (their latest debut) and Lys Mediterranee (our editor-in-chief’s choice). Scoop up a bottle for that fragrance-lover at Barneys.com.

TWO. Sephora by OPI Eighteen Piece Mini Colour Set — As the saying goes, you can never be too rich, too thin… and we’d like to add, have too many nail polishes. Your beauty junkie friend will go crazy over Sephora by OPI’s Eighteen Piece Mini Nail Colour Set. For $48, your lucky recipient will get a crazy amount of shade choices – everything from pinks to reds to blues and greens – in a great, long lasting formula. The smaller bottles make them easy to throw in a bag for travel or touch ups, plus there’s less waste. (Let’s face it, when was the last time most people actually finished a bottle of nail polish?) She’ll think of you every time she looks at her flawless manicure!

THREE. Bvlgari Jasmine Noir Perfumed Soap — Perfumed soap is truly a luxury that not everyone buys for themselves- but a gift that anyone would love!  Bvlgari’s Jasmin Noir is a multifacted, floral and woody fragrance for the sophisticated lady in your life.  Giving fragrance is a bit personal- so a soap is the perfect way to introduce someone to Jasmine Noir- or to complete someone’s Bvlgari fragrance collection.  Plus, this is a gift that will also dress up her bathroom and that she can share with her visitors all year round. And at $32, it fits into anyone’s budget. READ MORE

Gift GuidesHoliday Gift Guide ’10: Steals Under $50

ONE. Tiffany & Co. Pocket Diary — You can’t go wrong with gifting a chic day planner- It’s fashionable and functional for the lady in your life who is always on the go.  Crafted in soft metallic leather with signature robins egg blue ribbon, this silver 2011 pocket diary from Tiffany & Co belies its $50 price tag. Who wouldn’t like to see a Tiffany’s box under the tree this holiday? And this is one accessory your lucky recipient is sure to carry around every day for the new year!

TWO. LUSH Bathtime Favorites Gift Set — We don’t know too many people who don’t enjoy a nice hot bath every once in awhile. In fact, a glass of wine, a stack of magazines, and a few uninterrupted hours in the tub might be one of our favorite weekend activities. That’s why we love LUSH’s Bathtime Favorites box. For $44.95, you’ll get an adorable Christmas tin packed with nine different bath bombs (including Avobath and Honey Bee, two of our favorites). It would make a perfect hostess gift, but it would also be great for any females (or males!) in your life who enjoy tub time. You could even split the set up into a few smaller bath bomb groups and surprise your co-workers with a little treat. (Don’t tell Santa, but we might even have to buy an extra one for ourselves!)

THREE. Burn Asian Pear Persimmon Candle — Candles are one of our favorite standby gifts because they work for all occasions (even beyond the holidays). This one by BURN looks luxurious with its gold cover and absolutely divine scent – but it’s just under $50! Gift it to your best friend, your co-worker or your favorite party hostess…each and every one of them would appreciate this fragrant gift. READ MORE

Hotels, International, Obsessions, TravelMaroma Resort & Spa

Even the road to Maroma is a sight to see- bright tropical blossoms and birds scattered among the lush mangroves that line a unpaved path to the resort. Make sure to pay attention on the drive in- as there are multiple forks in the road- but only one will lead you to the the seaside paradise.  Set upon a spectacular private beach, Maroma is nothing like many of the other resorts in the Riviera Maya.  Though owned and operated by luxury hotel group Orient-Express, in many ways Maroma still feels like the private property that architect Jose Luiz and his wife Sally called their home for years.  It’s a place where I left my room door open as I milled around and where I could be happy just spending hours on my private porch.  Every morning I walked the forty steps or so to the pristine beach, coffee in hand, to watch the sun rise accompanied only by my thoughts and the soothing crash of the Caribbean waves.  This was the magic of Maroma- a place that lets you unwind, relax, and feel as if the entire property was there just for you alone. As an Orient-Express hotel, Maroma offers best in class service- what they call “homemade hospitality.” Each guest is taken care of on an individual and tailored basis- where every need is met in a very behind-the-scenes way.  You’ll never see the effort that goes into making each moment perfect- just that when you wake up- a steaming hot pot of coffee is already waiting on your porch table, that the beach is free of debris any time you want to lay out, and when you come back from an evening excursion, hundreds of candles will guide you back to your room.

Before I visited Maroma, I had read so many reviews from travelers telling me how special the property is- but I realized that it’s a place where words and even pictures can’t do it justice (though I will try). It’s just one of those sanctuaries you’ll have to visit. READ MORE

Fashion, Gift GuidesHoliday Gift Guide ’10: For the Fashionable

ONE. Jennifer Elizabeth Zoras Bracelet — These bracelets are perfect for everyone – from those who prefer a bit of edge to those who love glamour. Clear marquis cut rhinestones adorn the hinge bracelet. Your recipient can wear it on its own, or stack together for a statement… She’ll definitely love having this in her jewelry box this upcoming year!

TWO. Coach Ribbon Button Glove — A chic pair of gloves is exactly what every woman needs to slip on and complete their favorite winter looks or simply spice up a classic jacket. This holiday season, we are coveting Coach’s Ribbon Button Glove in their deep jewel-tones. With a perfect touch of vintage-inspired glamour, these luxe silk lined gloves are at the top of our wish list. The highlight of these supple wrist length gloves is the ornate feminine ribbon detail – as a lover of bows, we absolutely cannot resist their charm! Available for $128 at Coach stores nationwide & Coach.com.

THREE. Hunter Dixon Tess Blouse — This classic top from Hunter Dixon would be a gorgeous gift for any stylish woman in your life. We love the Tess’s luxurious silk and its versatility for work or play. Wear it by wrapping up the neckline for a bow top, loosely belting it, leaving it flowy and undone, or tying it loosely. The Tess will definitely become a staple in your lovely gift recipient’s closet.

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