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FASHION updates from an industry pro. What's in this season?

 Artists to know now   Click LOOK

The chicest details to decorate your home or party.. Click NOOK

Timeless design trends from the masters.  Click BOOK

Sounds you can't #RESIST! ... Click SHOOK



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Holiday Gift Guide -2015 and beyond - Ultimate Stocking Stuffers!

It's that time of year again - finding the perfect gift for those near and dear.  With all that is happening in this crazy world right now - this year I'm focusing on gifts that are special - but especially useful, decadent, practical, and made by family owned businesses.   Many of the gifts suggestions here are Made In America.  What a pleasure to see so many entrepreneurs in the U.S. making small batch, great quality products - again.  I'm adding a gift or two each day here, leading up to Christmas Eve, and straight through New Years.  After all, the holiday season is a great time to give and receive - but it's also a great time to get inspired for gift ideas you'll buy through the coming year.   Many of these items are easy to add to most budgets.. not just designer clients... with a few splurges thrown in.  Most of use are extremely fortunate and have so much, so let's be grateful and thankful as we shop responsibly.  All of the items are proudly made in America and Europe.   Be sure to check back every few days for additional gems.

Write Note Pads -Baltimore, MD-Write Note Pads - 3 pack - $9.99 - click image to shop In an era of smart watches and smarter shoppers, putting a pen to paper in one of these charming note pads seems like an ultimate luxury.  These small books that measure 3-3/4" by 5 1/2" are just the right size to take notes, capture inspiration, and make your best laid plans.   These books comfortably fit in jacket pockets, handbags, or any travel bag.   This charming 3 pack ships books in muted red, white, and blue - celebrating their Made IN America pride.   They make a perfect gift for just about anyone you know.  If there has ever been a better Stocking Stuffer - I don't know it.   Priced at $9.99 means you should buy a set for everyone you know.   Add to all the nostalgic charm, the company also donates a notebook to an inner city school in Baltimore for every book they sell - need I say more.   Click Write Notepads to shop now.

Claxton Fruitcake - Claxton, Ga -No other baked goodClaxton Dark Recope Fruit Cakes has become a punch line for a generic holiday gift as the fruit cake.  However, the stereotype was that the cake was some sort of dried out brick that was old and stale and passed from person to person, year after year.  The truth is a good fruit cake is delicious!   If anyone on your list has a sweet tooth - I promise they will appreciate a fruitcake. One brand that was a staple in my own childhood was Claxton Fruit Cakes.  The reason being, my family has volunteered for the Lions Club International as long as I can remember.  The Claxton Fruitcake company always participated in the holiday fundraising effort. (The company helps over 1000 charitable foundations for fundraising purposes) My parents and their friends would sell hundreds of Claxton Fruitcakes during the holiday season to benefit children's charities.    A great fruit cake is moist to the touch and chock full of dried fruits and nuts.   You'll find them in all shapes - from round to square.  I like the Claxton cakes because they are rectangular and easy to slice (when chilled).  The cakes are also really affordable.   The Claxton website has quantity discounts as well.. so you can add one for everyone on your list.  I just ordered a 3-pack myself! *cakes pictured are DARK RECIPE. The company offers FREE SHIPPING on all orders in the USA.

Aheirloom cocktail muddler - I'm thirsty just looking at it!Aheirloom Muddlers  I can't think of a way to make cocktail mixing more fun than a muddler.  Just having to use the world in a sentance is a thrill!  New York based Aheirloom has taken an old school item and given it the sleek upgrade this company is known for.   Aheirloom are the company that invented the state shaped cutting board!  Inspired by an old school nightstick, this muddler is sturdy, timeless and made for those hard to shop for people on your list.   The muddler is hand turned and ready to be engraved!  Each muddler is 8x1 inches.  Click over to choose maple or walnut... and personalized engraving.  Made in USA. 

SIX WORDS OR LESS -Sometimes, less is more.Larry Smith's - Six Words or Less - words to live by!  In a world where we analyze and re-analyze every decision to no end.  Creating a salad at lunch can lead to an existential breakdown for some millenials I must endure on a regular basis in Brooklyn.. but I digress. With this in mind editor Larry Smith's new collection of quotes from famouse authors, celebrities, and notables is a treat.  The assignment was simple - give Smith 6 words to live by.  Addressing any aspect of life.  It could be your life motto, your mantra, or just a thought to pass the time.  This book can be as deep as you want it to be - or not.  It is an excellent stocking stuffer for a college student, your significant other, your father-in-law, really just about anyone.  Pick one up for yourself.  It's a great thing to pick up on a weekend, or before bed.  Who knew 6 words could say so much!.  Six Words or Less by St. Martin's Griffin $12.99.   

 L'ORIGINE candle by FIGUEL'ORIGINE Candle by FIGUE -  How could we have a gift guide and not include one candle?  It would be an understatement to say there are a few candle options out there for shoppers.  I mean.. they are everyone.  However, anything Figue offers is going to be unique  - and not your average .....  This brand of luxury bohemian lifestyle clothing and accessories has been a go-to favorite of chic globe-trotters for several years now.  Founder and Creative Director Stephanie Von Watzdorf has more style in her little finger than many of us have.... well anywhere!  Her family legacy alone is novel worthy.. and add to that her creative talent that has been shaping the fashion industry for years.  Most recently before launching Figue, Stephanie was one of the key figures in the creative direction and creation of Tory Burch's eponymous fashion house.    Figue's Tuk Tuk bags are an "It" bag for cook kids.. and like every product she sells... somewhere an indigenous group are benefiting from that purchase.  Von Watzdorf is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet.  If you ever have the pleasure to meet her  and husband Mike Lucas, it will be just that.    Click over to purchase a an L'origine candle now.  They smell like an exotic Mediterranean vacation.  Who doesn't want to burn that?!

 KIKI & HERB - Will Die For You!

New Yorker's with a finger on the pulse of New York night life and the performing arts usually react with an immediate smile or enthusiastic gesture when they hear the words - "Kiki & Herb" - the performance created by Justin Vivian Bond and Kenny Mellman was a staple on the downtown scene during the mid to late nineties.   The culmination of a decade worth of work, which created one of the most powerful cabaret acts ever to take the stage in NY or anywhere, was in many ways the performance this dynamic duo gave at Carnegie Hall back in 2000.  This lounge act on steroids is so brilliantly written, and Mellman and Bond were so comfortable in the Characters skin, it often felt like there was no "writing" and we really were watching two over the hill singers who's best days were behind them.  Luckily for us.. those days are just as good!  Another lucky strike is that the Carnegie Hall performance was recorded and released on iTunes.   I PROMISE you don't need to have ever seen the show live to enjoy the arrangements, the humor, and really the pure entertainment.  The show has celebrity gossip, polistical satire, and jokes covering everything from parenting to Popeye's Chicken! Since the duo retired Kiki & Herb Justin Vivian Bond has become one of the most popular solo acts in lounges and clubs around the world.   Bond has also been influential and vocal in bringing transgender issues and points of view to the general public.   Having helped to bring the gender neutral "Mx" to our modern vernacular, replacing Ms. or Mr. for those like Bond that fall somewhere in the middle of the gender spectrum.  Mx Bond has a voice and uses it wisely on and off stage.   Mr. Mellman is a strong performer in his own right and more info about his latest work is available on his website - click Kenny Mellman for more info.  Download Kiki & Herb -Will Die For You from itunes now! **EXTRA SPECIAL**  - Justin Bond has just released a Christmas EP - Three songs to hep you ring in the holiday! - Christmas Spells - What a great digital gift!! 


a wonderfully coordinated gift of Bellocq Tea and a LAFCO candle - Lucky me!Owners Heidi, Michael, and Scott has created an oasis of the worlds finest teas in their Brooklyn, NY teahouse and emporium.  The trio are quite worldly and before joining forces to enhance the world of tea enthusiasts, each was traveling the world on various design and publishing projects.   The result of their collaboration is a best case scenario for those of us that don't know much about teas, but love drinking them.   I've tried many of the blends and one is more delicious and enchanting than the last.  I received an excellent gift this year - their #54-Gypsy Caravan Tea.  A wonderful smoky black tea.   I highly recommend it.   A 3.5oz bag retails for $17.00 and this charming yellow connoisseur caddy retails for $90.00 and contains 10oz.   ** Anyone who appreciates fine photography should visit the Bellocq website.  The images are strong enough to stand on their own as pieces of art, truly.

LAFCO NEW YORK - Luxury Articles & Fragrance Co. - This New York based brand of candles, soaps, lotions, fragrances, and home scents has a loyal following of clients from coast to coast.  The company was instrumental in making the renowned, centuries old,  Italian luxury house of Santa Maria Novella known to well heeld American shoppers in the namesake boutiques LAFCO opened and promoted in ultra chic / upscale locations like Bal Harbour, SoHo, Dallas, etc.  Last year, LAFCO turned it's focus solely on thier own collections.  With hundreds of items in this wonderful collection, it's no surprise they did.    Visit  the LAFCO website now to click and ship something wonderful for yourself now. 


Feeling Grateful and Blessed on a Sunday Afternoon

When the world seems like a big, bad, crazy place - a lazy weekend in Connecticut is just what the doctor ordered.




The Evening Star of NYFW Returns - Victor Alfaro Spring 2016

VICTOR ALFARO SPRING 2016Twenty years ago when the Olsen Twins were starring on Full House, and Victoria Beckham was sulking her way around the world as a Spice Girl, the hottest name in the New York Fashion scene was Victor Alfaro.  Victor's use of color, his effortless evening dresses, and his infectious sense of humor and quick wit made him one of the most sought after American designers of his generation.  VICTOR ALFARO SPRING 2016In a short time, fashion editors, socialites, and celebrities were regular visitors to his West Village atelier.    Mariah Carey, The Miller Sisters,  Anna Wintour, and too many super models to name were coming and going - and wearing Victors's latest designs. VICTOR ALFARO SPRING 2016 Magazine covers, dinners with Madonna, and a loyal following - Alfaro made an impact that reached far beyond New York Fashion Week and 7th Avenue.   

Over the next 20 years, this creative powerhouse would produce his collection in Italy via a large Italian house of knitwear, Hold the creative director title at TSE Cashmere, Become Creative Director of a huge contemporary brand with a tween target audience (Wet Seal), nationwide distribution with a signature collection at department store BonTon, as well as a home collection at BonTon - CASA by Victor Alfaro, and then creating an internet project promoting major works of modern art (Think Zaha Hadid).   It's exhausting for most people to read his accomplishments- let alone think of pulling them off.  For Victor Alfaro, it's all in a days work.  An energy level rarely seen in people past the age of 18 is just one of the keys to Victor's success.   Alfaro is a do-er.  A no nonsense, no bullshit kind of guy - in an industry too often filled with nonsense and bullshit behavior.VICTOR ALFARO SPRING 2016

Fashion editors, fashion merchants, and the ladies who luxe were all excited to hear that Victor Alfaro was returning to the runway.   Having spent several years away, Victor is back - and with his chic vision of the designer client of 2015.   Fall 2015 is in stores now.. (Barneys NY just hosted a luncheon in Chicago last week).  For Fall, Alfaro really got his groove back - for Spring 2016 - he's never been stronger.   The fluid shapes, his unique use of color, and of course - his sense of draping.  His designs flatter women (with or without curves), and really envelope them in luxury.   Only the finest fabrics, and tailored in Italy and the USA.    Limited in production, and timeless - two calling cards of true luxury items.

Click over to Victor Alfaro now to see more.   Also Visit Barneys NY to shop what is available right this minute.