Stories for: Gift Guides

Food, Gift Guides, Los AngelesGet in the Spirit with Twice the Vice

Twice the Vice Chocolates

Is it too early to talk about holiday gifts? My mind is already racing with ideas! It started at a truffle-making class I took recently at Caffe Luxxe, one of the best coffee shops in Los Angeles (well, Santa Monica, to be specific). There, Craig Boreth, founder of Twice the Vice chocolates and author of The Hemingway Cookbook, plied us with his amazing artisan spirited truffles.

Made with Callebaut Belgian chocolate, Twice the Vice chocolates are filled with top-shelf liquors such as The Glenlivet 15-year Scotch, crowd-pleasers such as Bombay Sapphire gin and cocktails such as the Woodford Reserve Mint Julep or The Big Lebowski lovers’ favorite, the White Russian. Each piece is packed with 1/8th to 1/10th of a shot, giving you a much richer, more sophisticated flavor than you’d get with those funny little bottle-shaped chocolates. Still, while select boxes are still illegal to ship in many states, the chocolates aren’t overwhelmingly potent — which is a good thing. Of course, if you choose to eat a whole box yourself, I can’t guarantee you won’t get a buzz!

Twice the Vice spirited chocolates are available online and totally worth the price. I highly recommend ordering them this year for the drinking men and women in your life — naughty and nice!

Celebrities, Food, Gift Guides, Los AngelesPicture Perfect Gift: The Macallan Masters of Photography with Elliot Erwitt

The Macallan Elliot Erwitt
Remember the famous photo of Jackie Kennedy at JFK’s funeral? Or the ones of Marilyn Monroe on the set of The Seven Year Itch and The Misfits? Those were taken by Elliot Erwitt, the man responsible for some of the most iconic photographs of our time. Erwitt is the fourth photographer to team up with The Macallan, my favorite Scotch, for their award-winning Masters of Photography series. (Previous collaborations were with Annie Leibovitz last year, Albert Watson in 2010 and Rankin in 2008.) The result? About 2,030 limited-edition sets featuring unique single malt Scotch whiskies paired with Erwitt’s gorgeous autographed photos. READ MORE

Gift Guides, Mom & KidsHottest Ride in Town: Automoblox

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I think my one-and-half year old has found her calling in life: ambulance driver. Watch out, because the need for speed is apparently an innate trait perpetuated by Automoblox, the coolest toy on the market right now. For any toddler and beyond, Automoblox has a whole line of originals, minis, and exclusive cars, trucks, and the latest: the Emergency Response Line! The new line includes a police car, a fire truck which looks more like a futuristic SUV, and my personal favorite, the rescue truck. As I watch our mini-driver take apart and put together the truck at dizzying speeds, I realize she’s moving faster than I could even think about what goes where. Despite myself, I can’t stop from “borrowing” the cars for a bit to admire the workmanship that goes into Automoblox. From the hot chrome wheels to the removable passengers, I’m impressed with the fit and quality of each specimen. There’s more to the trucks than meet the eye: because Automoblox cars run so smoothly, they fly across hard surfaces like a well-oiled vehicle should. In the midst of her playful delight, our toddler has channeled her creative side, building a sort of obstacle course for the trucks. First step is rolling them down her slide (and squealing as they pick up speed), then slowing them down by crashing them into an oversized pillow, only to have trucks climb the next precipice. I can’t help but feel the motion sickness of the little silver passengers sitting inside! READ MORE

Fragrance, Gift GuidesLast Minute Shopping: A Perfume for Every Mom

Last minute gift shopping for Mother’s Day usually results in a not-so-thoughtful gift, with the exception, of course, of buying her a new bottle of perfume, which is one of the most personal gifts out there. We know it’s Friday…and that you have to see mom on Sunday, but no sweat — the mall is open on Saturday, and our personal perfume picks below will definitely hide any trace of this being a last-minute job. So whether your mom is super luxe or super down-to-earth, we’ve got you covered with some of the best new fragrances this season (plus something extra to go with each one).

JCFor the fun mom: Jimmy Choo Flash. If you have a fun mom — you know the kind that knows how to have a good time (and maybe even rolled to a few parties with you back in the day) — consider me very jealous of you growing up. Celebrate her fun-loving ways with the new perfume by Jimmy Choo, Flash, a bright burst of white florals tempered by pink pepper and powdery woods that creates an uplifting yet sensual fragrance. Even the bottle and the packaging is a lot of fun: the crystal-faceted, shimmery bottle is reminiscent of a paparazzi flash bulb and the glitter packaging barely needs any wrapping. If you’re really good to your mom, you might even get her a new pair of party shoes to go with it. READ MORE

Accessories, Fashion, Gift Guides, Jewelry, Los AngelesThe Perfect Mother’s Day Gift: Alphabet Necklaces

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If you’re browsing Mother’s Day gift articles this week, you’re probably seeing a lot of gift baskets, flower-shaped garden tools and cooking supplies. Cute and useful, but not particularly glamorous right? At times like these, I look to jewelry designers Ariel Gordon and Maya Brenner, the go-to gals for basic, stylish and very wearable pieces … like alphabet necklaces!

Oh wait, Mom has plenty of jewelry? She doesn’t need more? I beg to differ. Sometimes, even the pickiest moms appreciate a piece of well-crafted jewelry — especially if it’s something she can wear every day and layer with her existing collection. Plus, every time she looks in the mirror or receives a compliment, she’ll think of you! READ MORE

Accessories, Gift Guides, Lust List, ShoppingSeltzer Goods Gift Guide

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It seems that once we enter adulthood, gift-giving becomes exponentially harder. No one registers for anything past their wedding or first baby, and expectations unfairly go up. So when I stumble on a website with unique or quirky gifts that will be used and loved, I’ll bookmark it for later when I’m crunched for ideas. Seltzer Goods, a Brooklyn-based design company, is my newest bookmark — their selection of small well-thought out gifts are cute, witty and functional, the source of many smiles to come. The goods won’t break the bank, but they’ll actually be used (as opposed to that golf putting thingy). Here are my favorites:

1) Seven-Year Pen. I’m a pen person — I love colors but above all, I need a smooth operator, something that makes writing a joy. I have my Bee Happy Pen beside me at all times now, because the cheerful yellow design reminds me of the sun and being outside, and it writes so well! The best part is that it’s designed to write 1.7 meters a day for seven years — this is no throwaway pen.

2) Bee Happy Notebook. I love this lightweight notebook, it reminds me of an old-school tablet but is made of 100% recycled paper. At the moment, I’ve been jotting down notes to remind myself (anyone else make lists like crazy?) of fun things… plan a vacay, go shopping…

3) Nerd Glasses Tote. Didn’t you know that nerds are the new cool? This retro-looking tote is light and durable, and it’s unisex enough that my hubby will carry it. It’s gusseted so it’s bigger than it looks, and it comes with a round wooden tag which can be personalized on the back.

4) Little Brat- Card. This will convey your sweet message with a touch of whit and a big chuckle. Aren’t we all little brats at heart? Look for greeting cards for any occasion and any person in your life. Cards are underrated, in my opinion. Let’s bring ‘em back!

Accessories, Fashion, Gift GuidesHave a Dandy Valentine’s Day

Dandy DetailsWhat do the Grammys, Downton Abbey and Valentine’s Day have in common? That’s right: Dandy details! This Valentine’s Day, take a cue from Justin and Jay-Z in “Suit & Tie” and let your man get dandy. Try pairing one of these gentlemanly accessories with a dinner out (or request a private fashion show, if you know what I mean):

Gallant & Beau London Customized Dandy Box Set — As TDO’s Kathleen recently said, every dude needs a pair of socks. I couldn’t agree more. Inspired by “the original ‘dandy’ Beau Brummell,” these socks are the perfect excuse to experiment with color. And, for $48.50, you can customize your own box (shown: Sloane Red, Westminster Black and St. James Red). READ MORE

Gift Guides2012 Holiday Gifts for the Guys

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ONE:  Redken For Men Clean Brew Extra Cleansing Shampoo – Most guys can be a little clueless about products, but really appreciate it when you upgrade them to something nicer than what they usually use, even if that something is meant for every day grooming. Plus, I don’t know any dude that doesn’t love a good beer. So if you combine the two — luxurious product and a good beer — you get Redkens Clean Brew Extra Cleansing Shampoo. Because you know, Grit Happens. But Redken’s anti grit technology, with a premium blend of malt, brewer’s yeast and orange zest, will fix that. This sleek shampoo easily removes styling product buildup from clays or waxes (and those not-so-luxurious products) that our guys have learned to love. – Liz

TWO: Prismera Design Bull Bottle Opener – How handsome is this little guy? This bottle opener features beautifully carved wood, paired with brass horns and a leather tail – perfect for opening his (and your) alcoholic drink of choice throughout the year. Connie

THREE: ZoraaB Kit – So Ryan Gosling isn’t the man in your life — and the last hot date you had was when you went to see Magic Mike with your girlfriends. I feel you. But even if the man in your life turns out to be a lovably cantankerous little brother or an adorably “You don’t have to get me a gift” dad, the problem with shopping for dudes is that they don’t need anything. Am I right? So, in cases like this, you have to be a little bit of a Shopping Miss Cleo and intrinsically figure out what it is the dude in your life needs. And I’m here to tell you that the answer is socks. Yes, socks. I’m not talking about regular, old tube socks though. I’m talking about exaggerated polka dots, fine swiss miss dots, and bright yellow socks emblazoned with mustaches. New retail start-up ZoraaB has captured this concept, setting up an e-commerce store dedicated exclusively to men’s socks. The offerings all range in the under $30 range, curated to pick only the funnest, coolest, and most stylish socks. And if you think your man deserves a constant supply of socks, their subscription service (the ZoraaB Kit) sends over 2,3, or 5 monthly pairs dependent upon his style profile. So sock it to him, he won’t know what’s coming. Kathleen  READ MORE

Food, Gift Guides2012 Holiday Gifts for Foodies

gifts for foodies

ONE:  Reiko Kaneko Lip Tease Cup and Saucer —  Lauren Santo Domingo, once told Into the Gloss, that she finds early morning lipstick on coffee cups “vulgar.” Even though I’m inclined to agree, I have other words to describe this lipstick-stained teacup and saucer. Words like cheeky, flirty, whimsical, adorable, and perfect.  Perfect for frequent tea drinkers or even those who just like to have fine-bone china on display. So hey, don’t worry about setting the stain, it’s already taken care of. Kathleen

TWO: Julia Baker 6 Piece Purse Box — Julia Baker’s chocolates aren’t just for chocolate lovers… they’re for turning ordinary people into chocolate lovers. Crafted from the heart, each one of Julia’s whimsical truffles and hand-cut chocolates taste like a little piece of (the most delicious) heaven. The six-piece purse box is outfitted with 3 chocolates and 3 truffles, oozing with the most divine French Caramel filling. Any lucky recipient of this purse will want to take it with her whenever she goes, guaranteed.  Carolyn

THREE: Bouchon Bakery Cookbook — New from chef Thomas Keller’s gang (The French Laundry, Ad Hoc) and executive pastry chef Sebastien Rouxel, this cookbook is an aspirational work for any foodie. From French/American classics like brioche and Oh Ohs to the acclaimed Bouchon Bakery TKOs and Nutter Butters, recipes run the gamut from pastries to pet treats. Of course, no Keller cookbook is complete without beautiful photographs and thorough cooking/baking tips, which makes the book — at the very least — great coffee table material. Charli READ MORE

Gift Guides2012 Holiday Gifts for the Active Gal

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ONE. Huit Lucky Bandeau Bikini Top and Bottom — Have a friend who works out and loves showing off her hard earned bod at the pool? Yeah you know you have (and secretly hate) one of those. Why not indulge her (I mean it is Resort season already) with Huit’s answer to the iconic Baywatch swimsuit ? This bikini is super cute yet sexy in a sporty way. The top comes in standard bra sizes for the perfect fit and is designed with moulded underwire cups  to keep everything in place (and looking good). Whose ready for some laps?! Carolyn

TWO. DvF X NeimanMarcus x Target Yoga Mat — Grab this mat while you can and be the envy of everyone at your yoga studio. Mix fashion and function, the cushioned textured face and back surfaces provide stable, non-slip grip for proper body alignment. Top it off with convenient “love is life” carrying case, this playful mat is designed in an animal-print complete with Diane von Furstenberg’s heart signature on one side and bright red on the reverse. Any active friend will be eager to start saluting the sun! Liz

THREE: On Your Way Duffel — The perfect gym bag is almost impossible to find – either they’re too small or too bulky or come in a hideous color (or more than one of the above!)  So when I spotted what seemed like the perfect one on a girl at the gym, I had to ask her where she bought it, crossing my fingers that it wasn’t something hard to find or already out of stores.  Luckily, the On Your Way Duffel is still available at Lucy stores and online, so I know what I’m buying my yoga loving sister this year.  Everything about it is just great – it’s the exact right size for gym clothes and sneakers, it comes in basic black, it has pockets for your water bottle, and it even has a strap so you can attach your yoga mat on top if that’s your activity of choice.  Even better, it comes with two straps so you can wear it over your shoulder or slung across your body.  See?  Perfect! Stacey  READ MORE

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