Prime your debit cards for the scary frenetic shopping season is upon us. Personally, I'd rather set my hair on fire with an acetylene torch than hit department stores in the wee hours of the morning. I'm fearful of stampedes and perfectly pleasant, mild-mannered folk, who channel the demonic when encountering a 50% off sign. Believe me when I say that I plan on avoiding vertigo and panic attacks by doing all my holiday shopping online. This year, I'm serving up four gift guides -- covet-worthy fashion, style, beauty, and festive foodstuffs at all price points.
First off? Stylish items for your nearest and dearest. From the luxaholic to the classic, I've got you covered.
The Deluxe Scarf: Nothing epitomizes casual luxe than a plush wrapper. Whether you're seeking out a bit of warmth in the midst of bone-chilling cold, or want to drape yourself in soft-super fabric, scarves are the ultimate, yet practical gift. Right now I'm loving colorblocks, not only for the pop of color, but how they provide an intriguing contrast to a minimalist or upscale look. For the budget-conscious, Gap (pictured right) stands up to the big chill, in style with its Cozy Plaid Scarf ($29.50). Uber-soft, you'll feel as if you're swathed in cashmere without the hefty price tag. I've received countless compliments since my choice purchase, and I can't recommend a more affordable scarf. However, if you're willing to make a worthy splurge, an accessory investment, I implore you to consider the magic that is Coach's Colorblock Scarf ($168). Unbelievably warm and second-skin soft, this is the kind of scarf that makes you want to crawl deep under the covers its so cozy. The striking colors, the hefty fabric and thick knit make this a scarf worth coveting.
Glinting Gems: Possibly I'm on the verge of becoming a caricature due to my predilection for glinting, glittery things. From iridescent rings to chandelier statement necklaces, jewelry is a perfect way to remix your wardrobe and add a touch of sparkle in the snow. From mark's magical Linked to My Heart Bracelet ($30), of which 100% of net proceeds benefit organizations that seek to end violence against women to Kate Spade's Sugar Coat Bracelet ($225, pictured left), where the spray of emerald-hued crystals makes for the perfect day-to-evening adornment, to the actinic, enigmatic blue of Alexis Bittar's Sapphire Dust Bracelet ($265, pictured right), encased in pave crystal insets, these decidedly feminine accents will elevate a wardrobe.
The Luxe Factor: Presently, I've 4-5 candles infusing my home with their subtle, delicious aromatics. One of my new discoveries is Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine ($45/6.7oz). The skillful perfumers behind Cologne Absolue, the signature formula in Atelier Cologne, have created a line of candles with a concentration of fragrance oils (15-20%), which is markedly higher than the industry standard. The Orange Sanguine candle offers an energizing burst of crushed ripe fruit, sweet blood orange juice, orange peel and sensual geranium notes. Providing an even burn and subtle scent, I use this candle as a base fragrance whenever I'm baking or puttering about my apartment, and the depth of fragrance reminds me of a spritzed on the body perfume.
Perhaps I'm selfish in leaving the finest find for last, however, nothing says regal, timeless elegance like Bvlgari. The house famed for timeless pieces, refined handbags and Italian sophistication has created an efficacious and luxurious line of skin care products. Although I'm smitten with the Source Defense line, which seeks to snuff out environmental stresses attacking the skin each day, my statement-making skin care product is undoubtedly Bvlgari's Masque Precieux ($130). From the frothy, sublimely light oxidizing texture to how it leaves your skin renewed and luminous after a few short applications, you'll come to rely on the masque as the temperatures tumble and the frigid air takes a toll on your skin.