Sunday, November 30, 2008

Holiday Shopping Guide: Girlfriend

Recommendations for a Gorgeous Girlfriend (who deserves a little romance):

1.)
Pulp Eau de Parfum by Byredo Parfums: The scent immediately conjures up images of biting into a succulent peach or plum in the middle of summer. However, the youthful Persephonic innocence of the fresh fruit is tempered by a deeper sensuality, (calling to mind Snow White biting into the poisoned apple). Juicy, tart, slightly nostalgic, and green, with notes of apple, tiare, praline, blackcurrant, peach flower, cedarwood, and fig, this exuberant and sensual fruit punch is sure to entice her.

2.)
The Anatomy of Dessert With a Few Notes on Wine by Edward Bunyard: Originally published in 1929, nurseryman Edward Bunyard's rhapsodic ode to sun-ripened fruits of various varieties and optimal wine pairings is a hedonist's delight. A perfect companion gift presented with Pulp Eau de Parfum or a wonderful present on it's own, Bunyard's poetic descriptions will delight the ear and tickle the palette of any romantic foodie.

3.) Lipstick Queen's Medieval Lipstick: This is a romantic and thoughtful addition to any girlfriend's Christmas stocking. In Medieval times lemons were applied to the lips to give them a blood red hue, and now your girlfriend can create this sensual look with this sheer Vitamin E based lipstick. The packaging, reminiscent of an antique tarot card, is also incredibly beautiful.

4.) Druzy Necklace: Diamonds might be a girl's best friend, but this stunning Druzy stone pendant is bound to be a close second. The pendant is exquisite, sunset-like, and unique, the ultimate romantic gift, and it's priced at an extraordinarily reasonable $108.

photo credit perfume: http://www.barneys.com
photo credit book: http://www.amazon.com

photo credit lipstick: http://www.barneys.com

photo credit necklace: http://www.whotelsthestore.com

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Holiday Shopping Guide: Father-in-Law

Recommendations for a Funky Father-in-Law:

1.)
Laguiole Corkscrew with Olive Wood Handle: This is the ideal gift for a father-in-law who likes to enjoy a fine wine with dinner. Its sleek French design makes it appropriate for table-side uncorking.

2.) The Jazz Ear: Conversations Over Music by Ben Ratliff: Indulge your father-in-law's love of jazz with this unique compilation of interviews, where legends such as Branford Marsalis deconstruct the tonal nuances in their favorite tunes. Ratliff brings a novel approach to understanding the craft and also a keen and studied ear (he is the jazz critic at the New York Times).

3.) Loro Piana's Piccola Unita Cashmere Scarf in black: Made of the finest cashmere imaginable, this luxury indulgence is sure to please. Because even the manliest father-in-law's get cold in the winter, this scarf will keep him warm and looking dapper when he's out chopping firewood or indulging in similar masculine activities.

4.) Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos (DVD): If your father-in-law is a soccer fan, then he will definitely enjoy this 70's era documentary chronicling the rise and fall of the New York Cosmos. With interviews and appearances by Beckenbauer, Pele, and Messing, this incredibly watchable film will make him nostalgic for New York in the 70's.


photo credit knife: http://www.laguiole-knife-corkscrew.com/fordelagcoro.html photo credit book: http://www.amazon.com photo credit scarf: http://www.neimanmarcus.com photo credit DVD: http://www.amazon.com

Monday, November 24, 2008

Holiday Shopping Guide: Mother-in-Law

Each day over the next two weeks I will spotlight a different giftee and give my recommendations for the best presents to get for them. Throughout the guide you will see gifts marked "Beauty's Pick" to denote items that are my personal faves! For those of you that are able, be sure to order your gifts way in advance, so that you aren't scrambling around at the last minute and feeling frazzled! However, for those last minute shoppers out there, no worries, as I'll have a special section as the holidays draw near just for you!

Recommendations for a Marvelous (babysit your kids, bake you pies, always remember your birthday) Mother-in-Law:

1.) Townsend Warbler Purse From the New York Historical Society: Decorated with exquisitely detailed reproductions of watercolors from the NYHS's Audubon Collection, these unique purses are the epitome of elegance.

2.) Pistachio Soap from Earthworks: Packaged in beautifully delicate recycled papers, this soap looks so beautiful that your mother-in-law might not even want to unwrap it. However, once she does she will be intoxicated by the deliciously creamy pistachio aroma and the soothing coconut oil and shea butter. Get a single soap for her Christmas stocking or to supplement a larger gift. Otherwise, in addition to the pistachio soap, spring for a variety of scents like the Sweet Lime, Almond, and Grapefruit.
Insider Tip: Tuck the 4 soaps into a
decorative hatbox from Kate's Paperie for a beautiful and functional gift.

3.) [Beauty's Pick!] Face Powder Letter Tray from John Derian: This stunning and chic decoupage tray is ideal for displaying a collection of perfume bottles or beauty brushes on a vanity. Its old world glamour makes it the perfect holiday indulgence.

4.) Chesnut Mille Crepes Cake from Lady M: Possibly the most delicious dessert ever, the decadent heaven-on-earth Mille Crepes Cake in this seasonal holiday flavor is an ideal present. Smooth chesnut cream is embedded in delicate layers of lacy Crepes. You may need to purchase one for yourself too; that's how incredibly delicious it is, but be sure to get into the holiday spirit and save a slice for someone you love.

photo credits clockwise from top left: purse (http://www.nyhistorystore.com), cake (http://www.ladymconfections.com), tray (http://www.johnderian.com, hat boxes (http://www.katespaperie.com, soap (http://www.earthworksproducts.com)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Holiday Shopping Guide Introduction: Best Websites

The Beauty in Chelsea Holiday Shopping Guide is finally here with all the best gifts to give to the various characters on your shopping list, plus insider tips at the end of each post!! For my introduction to holiday shopping, I've compiled a list of my favorite under-the-radar websites for those who are tired of the Sephora, Amazon, and Barney's routine. I find that bargain-friendly internet shopping is my antidote to holiday stress; so peruse the links at your leisure and check back tomorrow for more great holiday gift ideas!

1.) http://www.beadstore.com: For gorgeous and incredibly well-priced 15 inch strands of rare beads such as Labradorite and Blood Stone, or more recognizable cobalt blue Lapis Lazuli (pictured) and blush pink Cherry Quartz, check out this fabulous website recommended by Lucky Magazine. You can also purchase striking necklaces from Indonesia, Africa, India, and the Middle East that would cost a fortune at Barney's and many of which are priced under $200.

2.) http://www.fredflare.com: This is the perfect website if you want to find an interesting little something for a child, adult, or teenager. From quirky and artistic gifts like an Olivetti Manual Typewriter or Toast Band-Aids, to hard-to-find items like TokyoMilk Lip Balm in Petits Fours (pictured) and Fashion Origami, you'll be sure to find something for everyone on your list. Notably, most of the items are well below $50. Make your life easier by shopping their holiday gift guide (which narrows down your selection based on price range) for a quick one-stop shop.

3.) http://www.beautyhabit.com: For those high-end beauty addicts out there that require a hard to find perfume, skincare product, or makeup fix, this site is the prescription. While they carry a slew of well known luxe brands like L'Artisan Perfumes, Molton Brown bath products, and Diptyque candles, it's the lesser known items (many of which are European imports) like Serge Lutens hypnotic scents, Maison Belles' Organic and wonderful-smelling cleaning products, and Diane Brill's Mermaid's Pearl Blush (part of her Face Lingerie line), that are the real treasures on this site. Click on the "What's New" section for all the latest beauty finds, and check out the fabulous gift guide that lets you customize your search by price point. Best of all, orders come with a little packet of luxury samples, so that you can have a little gift for yourself too.

4.) http://www.taschen.com: With titles ranging from The Big Book of Breasts to Balthus, Taschen has all the crazy, edgy, cool pop culture and art publications that will satisfy the in-the-know type on your list. Check out the hefty Circus tome (pictured) that popped up on the Vogue holiday gift list for $200, or for a more affordable option, choose one of the slim soft cover art books focusing on a variety of art movements or specific artists (such as Arcimboldo, De Lempicka, and Mucha) all under $10.

5.) http://www.johnderian.com: Elegant platters, dishes, and paper weights are de rigeur at this Victorian-inspired decoupage wonderland that features something tasteful for everyone. Fanciful indulgences such as beauty trays decorated with vintage images of colorful talcum powders, dessert platters ornamented with delicate French pastries, and heart-shaped dishes featuring blooming pink hydrangea (pictured) are perfect choices for those hard-to-shop-fors on your list. There are also masculine items like heavy rectangular nautical-themed paper weights and letter trays featuring images of vintage stamps. There are many items to choose from that are priced under $100.

Insider Tip: Museum shops' websites are a great place to find unusual gift ideas, and often members get great discounts during the holiday season!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Remedies to Combat the Winter Chill

It is so cold outside, that I don't even feeling like eating the peppermint-stick ice cream in my fridge tonight. Whenever I was forced to venture outside today I bundled up with ear muffs, a down coat, leather gloves, and wool socks. Unfortunately, it doesn't look as though the weekend will be any warmer. But you can fight against the effects of winter with the tried and true remedies listed below, and of course be sure to bundle up!!

1.) Maribelle hot chocolate is the perfect wickedly rich winter drink to cuddle up with. Tip: Spike it with Amaretto and you'll be feeling the warm glow of the holidays in no time.

2.) Originally created for outdoor enthusiasts like ice fisherman, tiny hand warmers are ideal for keeping your hands and feet toasty while you go about your winter shopping or wait for a bus.

3.) Don't be fooled by it's drugstore-ish packaging, Yu-Be Cream, which is used by Japanese mountain climbers, is serious stuff. Hands down, it is the best remedy for combating winter dryness. Apply it to dry lips, cuticles, knuckles, and elbows for maximum comfort.

4.) Now these may not be the prettiest nightwear ever, and yes wearing these might make you feel like a child in a Norman Rockwell painting, but trust me, flannel footed pajamas are the way to go! Seriously, they even come with a trap-door flap! How authentic is that!!

photo credit hot chocolate mix: http://www.maribelle.com
photo credit Yu-Be Cream: http://www.beautyhabit.com
photo credit footed pajamas: http://www.vermontcountrystore.com

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Found It: Stylish Down Coats

You might be asking yourself, "Does such a thing actually exist?" I was also skeptical that down coats could actually be tailored-looking and pretty. I found a black down coat with a mink collar, the closest that I had ever come to finding a stylish down coat, 5 years ago on sale at Searle and have been wearing it every winter ever since. It's black, so it doesn't show much wear, and more importantly it keeps me incredibly warm without looking like I'm walking around in a sleeping bag. Thankfully, this season designers seem to have taken an interest in making over the traditional down coat into a truly wearable and tailored winter must-have.
Now, I know that Moncler's ski coats are all the rage at Barney's and modelesque fashionistas are traipsing around the meatpacking district in belted black versions feeling all self satisfied with how warm and glamorous they look, but I'm interested in the more affordable down coats that won't cost you an entire month's rent. This
Pample Mousse Jacket in Jet Black is the opposite of its frumpy predecessors. It's as chic as any Moncler (minus the tacky brand logo) and will keep you just as warm. The banded hem and cuffs give it a pulled-together look, and it's actually surprisingly slimming. (Shocking for a down coat!) I also love the figure-flattering belt and the fact that it features 7 pockets, perfect for carrying around your holiday shopping lists! Plus, it's majorly on sale (we're talking $595 to $149!) If you're in the market for a coat that's not black and has a runway couture vibe, then this muted pewter cocoon-style down coat from Joie is an ideal choice (full disclosure: I own it). The color is stunning and unique, and it is incredibly warm but surprisingly lightweight and not at all bulky. The hood is ideal for snow storms, and the smocking effect at the bodice is really feminine and pretty. This coat is currently on sale at Barney's Co-op, reduced from $448 to $289. photo credit Pample Mousse Jacket in Black: http://www.calypso-celle.com photo credit Joie Puffer Coat in Silver: http://www.barneys.com

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Whatever Happened to Little Jenny? (Gossip Girl Spoiler Alert)

Last night's episode of Gossip Girl was great, and I don't know if I can wait a whole two weeks for a new one. Anyway, besides the utter amazingness of hot gallery guy's newfound love of monogamy, Vanessa's sneakiness, Serena's ever-dwindling skirt length, and Blair's perpetual bitchiness, this past episode made me really miss the lady-like Jenny Humphrey of season's past. Specifically, the Eloise-ish, genteel, pastel-wearing, Blair's nemesis Jenny, who hangs out on the steps of the Met. Recently she's been donning the kohl-rimmed eyeliner look, sporting plaid duds with fingerless gloves, carrying emancipation papers as her accessory, and her blonde hair looks like Sally Hershberger chopped it off in the dark. Will the former Jenny ever return to us? She did wipe her eyeliner off when she returned home to the Brooklyn loft and looked a bit more like the Jenny we all know and love, so possibly there is still hope that she'll come back from the dark side (stylistically speaking). In the meantime however, indulge your Jenny Humphrey nostalgia with this pink designer beret from Barney's that was a Jenny fave in the past and is perfect for late fall strolls in Central Park. Also, this elegant blush pink puffer coat from Uniqlo which retails for under $100 is perfect for the fashionista on a budget. Think of them as mementos (if you will) of the former school girl turned edgy fashion designer.

photo credit Jenny Humphrey: http://www.cwtv.com/photos/gossip-girl/00530220860
photo credit beret: http://www.barneys.com

Monday, November 17, 2008

Planet-Friendly Makeup Palette

In an attempt to streamline my daily routine, I recently purchased this Wildflower Makeup Palette by Josie Maran. I read in Vogue or Elle that Maran's line of planet-friendly beauty products are perfect for creating a fresh-faced no-makeup look, and this palette definitely did not disappoint. All the eye shadows and blushes leave a subtle wash of color and are easily build-able for night-time-glam looks. It also takes much less time to apply makeup with this palette, because you don't have to waste time fishing around in your cosmetic's bag for each separate product. When my mother asked me to do her makeup for a Greek wedding that she was attending, I whipped out my Josie Maran palette and did a complete day-to-evening look in under 10 minutes. She was thrilled with the beautiful results! She noshed on grape leaves and danced the night away with abandon (My-Big-Fat-Greek-Wedding-style), while her makeup remained firmly in place with nary a smudge or any creasing in sight! The palette is completely versatile, is perfect for all skin types (even sensitive or blemish-prone), works well for different complexions (my mother is olive while I am very fair), and is wonderful for all ages.

photo credit movie poster: http://images.teamsugar.com

photo credit palette: http://www.josiemarancosmetics.com

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Roller Girl Glam

Though the nights of lacing up your hot pink roller skates at the Roxy may be behind you, channel the days of roller disco divas with these colorful accessories from day-lab. These vintage headbands (in a rainbow of aqua, red, yellow, and lilac styles) are hippy-ishly fun and will inject your outfit with a dose of insta-chic. Pair one with this shrinky-dink-ish Roller-Skate City pendant that looks like a pen and ink illustration straight out of Where The Sidewalk Ends. The miniature wheels even move! These accessories are so charmingly nostalgic that you'll be dying to take a spin around the roller rink.


photo credit for both images: http://www.day-lab.com

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Audrey Hepburn's Skin Care Essential

I watched the charming film Charade two nights ago featuring a dashing Cary Grant and a stunning Audrey Hepburn. I especially enjoyed the scene where Grant takes a shower with all his clothes on as an amused Hepburn looks on! Not only does Audrey wear the chicest costumes (including a black fur ski ensemble and a tailored cherry-red coat paired with a turban-ish leopard hat), but her skin also glows with porcelain perfection. There is not a line, a blemish, or a dark shadow in sight. I immediately set out to do some investigative work on what products she used to keep her skin so beautiful and youthful. I quickly found out from a few different websites that she favored Erno Laszlo products, which were also Marilyn Monroe's faves.* Specifically, Audrey used the Sea Mud Soap to cleanse her face. The exfoliating bar is a midnight black color, and it's composed of dead sea minerals to clear pores of oil and debris. Though it looks like it might be a little messy, with Audrey's highest endorsement I will definitely try it out.


*info gleaned from Bellasugar.com and Lucky Magazine's beauty blog
photo credit Audrey Hepburn: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/94/Audrey_Hepburn_in_Charade_6.jpg
photo credit soap: http://www.neimanmarcus.com

Monday, November 10, 2008

Unfortunately I Spent All Day Watching This...

http://cdn1.ustream.tv/swf/4/viewer.45.swf?cid=317016.
I know what I want for Christmas!
Check back tomorrow for a beauty post inspired by the classic Grant/Hepburn film Charade.
xo Beauty

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Art Auction Accessory

I made my first art auction purchase recently at David Rago. The piece that I bought is a lithograph by Josef Albers that looks similar to the work on the right (part of his Homage to the Square series). Albers is a German-born abstract artist. He became a professor at the Bauhaus before moving to America where he joined the faculty of the Black Mountain School. It was there that he taught some of the most famous American artists of the twentieth century including Rauschenberg and Twombly. The geometric precision of Albers' work recalls his mathematical background, and it had a decisive influence on the Op art movement that favored "hard edged" abstraction. Since bidding on this piece, I've begun to seek out other sites and venues for art purchases. Artsinbushwick.org is a great site to find out about upcoming art events, and they recently promoted Beta Spaces '08 (where Bushwickers transform their neighborhood into a living gallery space). I also like to attend the final student exhibition at the gallery at FIT to check out the work of the graduating class. Another indispensable reference for the serious young art collector is Smythson's Panama Art Diary. This elegant raspberry crocodile planner features the latest international info on art dealers, art fairs, auction houses, and exhibitions. What resources do you like to use to find out about art related events and happenings or to purchase works of art? Let me know in the comments section.

photo credit painting: Josef Albers, Homage to the Square, 1965, acrylic on canvas.
photo credit diary: http://www.smythson.com

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Spa Experience For Less

The Guerlain Spa recently opened in the Waldorf Astoria, and it features the most luxurious treatments administered in an ornate and elegant setting. From indulgent two-hour facials with Orchidee Imperiale cream to paraffin-wax manicures complete with gentle massage, the spa offerings are enticing yet incredibly pricey. I've compiled a list of items below for an at-home spa experience that will rival a visit to Guerlain's marble palace of beauty.

1.) Lounge in this delicate traditional Japanese yukata robe pre and post bath, and it will get you into a relaxed and Zen frame of mind.

2.) Use Shu Uemura's Pleasure of Japanese Bath in Shobu (Japanese Iris) to create the most opulent bubble bath. Fill a warm bath with a small amount of this luscious oil that will lull you into a state of complete relaxation. The room will be filled with the scent of freshly-cut wildflowers in spring water. Chamomile softens the skin, and you will emerge from the tub perfumed with a sweet hint of Iris.

3.) After bathing re-hydrate with a bottle of Ito En White Iced Tea flavored with green grapes. Refreshing and delicious, its high anti-oxidant content will invigorate your body and your spirit.

photo credit robe: http://www.takashimaya-ny.com
photo credit bath oil: http://www.shuuemura-usa.com
photo credit tea: http://www.itoen.com

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Market Finds

Pixie Market's website has so many great fashion items, that it's often hard to choose which one to purchase. With affordable prices (many pieces are under $200) and an exceptionally cool mix of under-the-radar designers, this site keeps me coming back for more. My latest picks are this pair of Tin-Man-ish Gun Metal fringed booties, that will look insanely hip with black denim, and this miniature royal blue purse by Australian label Mogil. I love the shape of this bag, the blue suede is extremely luxe, and the zipper detailing definitely gives it an edgier feel. The boots are $122, and the bag is $90. Pixie Market's website is updated with new offerings pretty regularly, which makes it even more addictive.

photo credits: http://www.pixiemarket.com

Monday, November 3, 2008

Rock the Vote With Style

Show your patriotism by voting tomorrow and indulging in some red, white, and blue goodies. First, try sporting one of these all-American accessories by Tarina Tarantino at your election-night shindig. Choose from the Lincoln Drop Earrings and the Liberty Anywhere Clip. Next, indulge your sweet tooth with some Obama and McCain cupcakes from Eleni's in Chelsea Market. Finally, cap off the evening with a rousing rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and individual bottles of Pop!

photo credit earrings and bow: http://www.tarinatarantino.com
photo credit cupcakes: http://www.elenis.com
photo credit Pop: http://www.americaswinestore.com