Sunday, November 29, 2015

Best Picks Magazine's 2015 Holiday Gift Guide - The Luxury List

This year give the gifts of leather, jewelry and luxury skincare.
Holidays are for giving things we would like for ourselves. If you are a last minute shopper, be sure to take advantage of FREE SHIPPING DAY on Friday, December 18th which promises Christmas Eve. delivery with NO minimum purchase.  Stores like Harry & David, Target, Lord & Taylor, Coach, H & M, Walmart and many more are participating so click HERE for the full list.
So my hand-picked list this year has a lovely array of fine leather goods, jewelry and gift boxed skin care serums that arrive already wrapped.  Surely I've not forgotten the men in your life so there's something special for them too.  I even have some fabulous gift ideas for your favorite host, (or YOU). So here is my Luxury List of gifts for Christmas:

Sima Drop Earrings and Zoe Gold Cuff by NYC designer Sophie Blake via StyleCable

Nothing says luxury like gold and jewels. Tastefully done gold cuff and faucet cut earrings will please any woman. Sima Drop Earrings sparkle with flowers, Swarovski Crystals and spikes. The Zoe Gold Cuff is bold and artistic. The cuff features an oblong glass cabochon in a hand cast setting. Fabulous! Believe me, she will wear this set to that upcoming New Year's Eve Party...and light up the night. Available via

Matte Gold "Manon" Earrings and matching layered necklace by designer, Karine Sultan
Manon Set - Rich, 24k Gold plated and hammered discs of different sizes are delicate and artistic. Necklace has a lobster clasp and is signed with the designer's tag. Lovely earrings & necklace makes a complete gift set for women with discriminating tastes, Karine Sultan designs are worn by many  "A" list celebrities. See all of the Karine Sultan Designer collections online.

HONNS Selina Ladies Lambskin Leather Gloves

HONNS Selina Lambskin Leather Gloves
Made of supper supple lambskin and lined with a furry feel, these quality leather gloves offer a comfy pre-curved construction and touchscreen ready index fingers. Shown here in Olive, the Selina Women's Gloves are luxurious yet warm. See all the styles for both Men and Women at

Mujjo Men's Touchscreen Leather Gloves

Mujjo Men's Touchscreen Leather Gloves
Supple Ethiopian lambskin is infused with nano-technology. These have an elegant matte finish while allowing you to take that call without the need to remove them. Works with most touch screens and secure with a magnetic snap closure. See all the available glove styles online at

Fine Italian leather goods by Sheena Sujan and  exotic Tasmanian leathers from Blundstone

Sheena Sujan Italian Leather Brown Barclay Tote
This luxury tote definitely has a "Celine" vibe going on. Made in Italy of fine tanned leather, it is a substantial work to play bag. Complete with metal feet and a rich, red suede interior, it is perfect in the country or shopping in NYC.  Just what you'd expect from a quality designer bag. Has an ample zippered interior pouch and comfortable rounded handles. See the Barclay Totes at Sheena Sujan Online.

Barclay Italian Leather Tote by designer Sheena Sujan

Blundstone Leather Boots from Tasmania, Austraila
This company has been in business since 1870 and are known for their high quality "wear-like-iron" leather boots. These are their lined Lace-Ups in Tan Tumble with some serious treads. Perfect for going to cut your own Christmas Tree (that's what we were doing here!) or checking out the holiday windows at Macy's. Comes in AUS/UK sizes, my women's size 7 = a men's size 4. Super comfortable right out of the box, these require little or no break in time. See all the styles online at

Blundstone Leather Lace-ups in Tan Tumble

Vivobarefoot Ladies Porto Hand Cut Leather Boots
These desert booties are hand-cut in Portugal in gorgeous smooth, tanned leather. They remind me of the cool Minnetonka boots often seen in the California badlands. Very sturdy as they embrace the minimalist, barefoot movement for a more natural walking experience. See all of the Vivobarefoot Boot styles online.

Ladies Porto Hand Cut Desert Boots by Vivobarefoot.

LEATHER TIPS: Along with giving leather gifts, do remember to pop a few packs of Boot Rescue in the box or as a stocking stuffer. These little towelettes clean, shine and eliminate damaging road salt stains. Works on keeping fine leather gloves clean too.

Sublime Beauty Gift Boxed Trio of Serums
I love these sets because they are great skincare products and they come already wrapped to set under the tree. What could be easier? You get Sublime Beauty's TOP 3 serums, (Retinol, Collagen Peptide and Hyaluronic Acid)  in a festive holiday box. See all the gift boxed selections to put under YOUR Christmas tree at Sublime Beauty's Shop.

Sublime Beauty's Boxed Gift Sets of 3 Skincare Serums

Luxuries for Him
The leather boots I featured here are actually men's so they will also work for the guy on your list. HONNS likewise makes their touchscreen friendly leather gloves in Men's Styles such as the Logan. Here are some more gift ideas that he will enjoy getting this year:

Hautlly Box Men's Jewelry Subscription.

Hautlly Box Men's Monthly Jewelry Subscription
The gift that just keeps on giving is a monthly subscription of curated jewelry pieces for men. Every month the fortunate man on your gift list will receive at least 2-3 fashionable pieces, ready to wear. Total value is about $70.00 for each installment. What's better still is that with each HautllyBox purchase, a percentage is donated to local food banks to help those in need. What could top that?  See all the subscription options online at

Luxuries from Crabtree & Eyelyn, Daniel Wellington Classic Watches

Crabtree & Evelyn

Men are really getting into the "metrosexual" lifestyle these days. So these lush colognes as well as shaving products from Crabtree & Evelyn also double as fragrant skincare treatments. Create your own dopp travel kit just for him. Exotic scents like tropical woods, leather and West Indian Lime hint at "cruise time" and can help get him in the mood! See all the men's gift sets at Crabtree & Evelyn online.

Daniel Wellington Timepieces

These timepieces are modeled after a classic Rolex design with a beautiful clean face and rustic leather strap. I'm wearing the Women's model in the photos as it is one of my favorite watches for town and country living.  Shown above is the Men's Dapper St. Mawes which is available in both rose gold as shown and in silver. See all of the current collections at

For Your Favorite Host...

Hyley's Tea - The English Collection of Exquisite Tea - Gift Box
This is a lovely gift to bring to your favorite holiday host or to have for yourself. A delicious selection of English Tea blends including  Earl Grey (of course), green teas and passion fruit. The choice of professional tea tasters, it's the aristocratic tea! Comes in a velvet lined wooden tea case. See all of the Hyley's Tea collections at

Fine Vintage Wines
If you've served a particularly popular wine that went over with the crowd, chances are a bottle would go over very well as a holiday gift. Certainly bring a bottle with you to any holiday parties you'll be attending. My favorite? A few South African vineyards have some surprisingly complex offerings such as Ratt's Red Jasper. There are also several wine of the month clubs. Buy a gift subscription and the recipient gets reminded of wonderful you all year long!

Handcrafted Chocolates by Stick With Me, NYC

Artisanal Chocolates

These are almost too gorgeous to eat but these artisanal chocolate bon bons are sure to make a lasting impression. With tres chic flavors like Kalamansi Meringue Pie and Bourbon Maple Pecan, you'll be the toast of the town. Made right in NYC on Mott St. this Bon Bon Collection comes in a little book-like case. Delicious, complex and a feast for all the senses. Visit Stick With Me Online for more confection selections.

Winsor & Newton Pigment Markers

NEW Winsor & Newton Artist Pigment Markers
This is a beautifully complete set of 24 Pigment Markers with a pad of smooth coated marker paper to get started. Each marker has both a fine and a broad chiseled tip so you can use either end for sketching or filling in color. Used by top fashion and graphic artists, these colors are long wearing and color fast. Markers are available for purchase singularly or in sets. No ordinary artist, no ordinary marker! Visit for all of the available sets. What goes with these amazing pigment markers? The ONE Titanium Mechanical Pencil as shown in the TWEET below. Has a very smooth, controlled fed lead mechanism and is perfect for artist sketches or taking notes. Perfect. 

Artisanal Wire Bowl by Old Delhi Craftsmen for World Vision

Gifts That Keep on Giving: Old Delhi Artist's Handcrafted Wire Bowl
NEW! Handmade from up-cycled materials, this unique metal wire bowl is both artistic and functional. Bright and airy, the coppery petals are hammered out and individually soldered for an organic feel. Perfect for holding fruits, vegetables or anything else. Your purchase helps provide needed fishing, farming and livestock supplies to needy families and their communities around the world. 

Indian Made Turquoise Jewelry and Soapstone Box from Kenyan artisans.

Turquoise Necklace, Earrings and Bracelet Set - Kenyan Soapstone Box
I really like the soapstone, hand-carved and hand-painted box from Kenya. It's very heavy and can double as a paperweight. The lovely set of turquoise jewelry and Wire Artisinal Bowl are beautifully made in India for World

Glass Peruvian Serving Tray by Ten Thousand Villages
Fanfare Peruvian Reverse Painted Glass Serving Tray and Matching Heirloom Box
This is yet another holiday gift idea that you can feel good about as your purchase helps support fair-trade co-ops all over the world. Made in Peru it has a detailed artist design with reverse painted glass to keep it pristine. Use it to serve everything from drinks to tasty noshes or even breakfast in bed. The matching lidded box is big enough to store larger items like large jewelry pieces and evening bags. The set would be useful and lovely anywhere in the home. New from Ten Thousand Villages.

Fanfare Glass Box is handcrafted in Peru.

Skinny Tie & NYC Reversible Tote
Skinny Tie Madness for a girl or guy! Beautiful linen tie in the skinny 60's style and perfect to complete that "Mad Men" look. Check out all the colors and patterns at

Subway Line detail of the reversible tote.

NYC Subway Line Reversible Tote is part of NY's own clothing line. Royalties from licensing help support the NY Transit Museums one in a former Brooklyn subway station and the other in Grand Central Terminal which I've personally visited. Reversible tote is in Red/White with a map of the NYC subway line. A substantial shopping tote or travel bag! Check it out at

Single Serve Coffee Maker
Single Serve Coffee Maker
This is perhaps one of my favorite hostess gifts of all time. Make delicious, bistro style coffee and tea one cup at a time right at home. My machine is by iCoffee and has the Dial-A-Brew feature that allows you to choose how much to make for your cup size. I use the refillable Solofill Cup (K3 Cup) and make my own rich blends. Saves space in the landfills too. There are many brands and styles choose from so check them out at Target or Macy's as they will revolutionize how you make coffee in 2016.

Ecuadorian Chenille Fringed Poncho from Ten Thousand Villages

The (Gift) Wrap
So these are just a few of my favorite gifts this year. Yes, they are luxuries but so worth it and will be appreciated for years to come. Except for the Sublime Beauty Serums which come already gift boxed for you, everything else may need gift wrapping. What I do is keep all of the large shopping bags from the mall shops like Victoria's Secret, Lord & Taylor, Sur La Table, etc. and repurpose them for gifts. I add a tuft of tissue paper and viola!  I make little hanging name tags for the handles and also tie on candy bars to the outside of the bag. So much fun and when everyone's done the bags go back into the closet for next year. Simple, right?

Relaxing at Lantier Christmas Tree Farm in NJ

Gifts and accessories c/o the designers so mentioned and included herewith.


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