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.) 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.) 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.) 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.) 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.) 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!

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