Thursday, December 12, 2013

Finance Foodie’s Holiday Gift Guide: Food, Fashion and Fun Holiday Picks!

By: Anne M. Raso and Finance Foodie

The team at Finance Foodie Media has found many a wonderful things in our recent travels through various holiday press days —they are all holiday gift worthy and at all different price points. We have a tendency to like quirky items, but we feel that these are crowd pleasers too. There is truly something for everyone here!

I recently viewed Amy Conway's Henri Bendel's Jewelry Collection at Bendel’s and met with lovely Amy herself—now she’s got a pop up store at 87 Mercer Street through the end of the month for last minute holiday shopping or for just whenever you want to stop in and buy a bauble for yourself! She is most famous for the sterling silver “Love Conquers All” Hinged Cuff ($1.650)—which has a wonderful black and silver carved checkerboard pattern—but you need to go to feel and touch all of Amy’s wonderful semi-precious pieces before purchasing one. The incredible hand workmanship cannot really be experienced through a photo. For more info on Amy’s pieces, check out Pieces are between $125 and $2,000 but as we go to press, there is 20 per cent off and free shipping on her site.

I feel in love with Chinese Laundry’s Easy Does It flat the minute I saw it. This style in red is the ultimate Christmas comfort shoe (it’s always hard to find style and comfort at the same time). This flat also makes a great gift (would buy the black as a gift). Only $59.95 at I noticed that right now the wonderful yellow, gray and black three-tone version is on sale at for $53.10—and for those who like this style but prefer an ankle strap, check out the Chinese Laundry Encino Ankle Strap Flats (available in red, black and nude and presently on sale for $62.10).
I recently attended the New York press launch of Midnight Promise, a new fragrance created by renowned perfumer Sarah Horowitz, with Sniffapalooza founder Karen Dubin. Midnight Promise is an aromatic blend of red mandarin, cinnamon, red Moroccan rose, amber, vanilla, fresh vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood and musk. It’s the kind of fragrance people speak up about on when they stand by you—it’s unusual and sexy! I’ve always loved musky fragrances, so when I heard about its existence I had to be one of the first in line to try it out! Price is $105 for a 2.5 ounce bottle at
Created by Charles & Colvard®, Forever Brilliant® is the world’s most stunning and durable moissanite stone (yes, it is even harder than diamonds). The Forever Brilliant Jewelry Collection has pieces ranging from $500 to $10,000 and our favorite (and most useful piece) are the 2 ct. total weight Bravo classic round solitaire earring set in 14K white gold. They are currently available at for $799 and come with a lifetime warranty.
Menaji Skincare’s two gift sets are in reused cigar boxes! That is just too darn cool for words. The quality of their men’s skincare is unsurpassed and products are made in small batches—they are all very simple to use (as most men prefer short skincare regimens). The Basics Kit includes their Face and Body Scrub, Power Hydrator Aftershave, and organic SPF15LipAgent ($49) and The Jetsetters Kit includes the award-winning 911 Eye Gel, Anti-Aging ERASER and again, our crowd pleasing SPF15 Lip Agent ($95). Available on or by calling 1-800-551-5067. (Let me add that they also have wonderful and natural looking men’s cosmetics, including the Undetectable Concealer in three shades; a .35-ounce tube is $26.)
Origins is always original when it comes to their holiday items and their natural scents always leave me wanting more! They have a sets of six pre-made “crackers” called The Origins Surprise Twist—each “cracker” is full of samples of Origins skin products (including scrubs and cleaners), a mini-facial headband and a joke card for $47. (Yes, $47 gets you six of them—and there is a load of product inside each “cracker”!) Then there’s the Origins Feel Good Hug which is a body wrap scented with clove, cinnamon and various essential oils ($45)—this is the perfect thing to be wearing when lighting the Origins Feel Good Votive Trio ($45) which is a setoff three wonderful votive candles called Stress Diffusing, Keep Calm and Warm Up. Origins are for sale at most major department stores cosmetics counters as well as on
Every year in my holiday gift guide I speak of the virtues of Divine Delights and their world-class artisanal petit fours. As I have said before, the Petaluma-bases company lives up to their catch phrase, "A Little Taste Of Heaven"! They use fresh sweet butter and freshly made almond paste and if you are a marzipan-ophile, you will fall in love with the rich almond base of most of their flavors. The varieties of Divine Delight petite fours are too numerous to list here, so head over to and check out their holiday products for starters. I recommend the Christmas Sampler (20 petit fours for $52.95) as the perfect holiday host/hostess gift, and they look stunning on your holiday table.
Beginning with only a handful of confections, today Fannie May makes over 100 different confections and continues to develop new and innovative flavor profiles for our customers. From the traditional chocolate truffles to the chocolate covered berries and nut towers to the oh so popular create your own box of chocolates with only the flavors you enjoy, Fannie May has got all your holiday sweet treats covered! My favorite? Their super sinfully decadent Dark Vanilla Buttercreams. Visit for their entire selection
Even though I’m too old to play with dolls, I fell in love with the funky fashionista Pinkie Cooper—manufactured by The BridgeDirect--at the recent Time To Play press event at the Metropolitan Pavilion. Pinkie has her Jet Set Pets, too. The individual Pinkie Cooper dolls are $15.99 at and great accessories like the Travel Trunk are priced at about $17. The pets alone (my favorite is a mutt with big purple glitter ears named Sprinkles) are about $8.50. I bought the Pinkie Cooper Deluxe Travel Collection Doll With Pet for $19.99 at and don’t think I can actually part with it (it’s a holiday gift for my six-year-old niece)! Boys seem to love the pets as much as girls do, so I vote them the top stocking stuffer for Christmas 2013!
Couples Chemistry gives couples the unique formula for stronger relationships, deeper intimacy and enjoyment through custom Love Kits ($130). Couples Chemistry learned that no partner should assume that their current intimate relationship can't expand and grow. Their 100 questions quiz, developed with the Kinsey Institute, identifies the top desires that a couple has in common, but often goes unexpressed. After the quiz is completed, a totally customized intimacy kit filled with "adult toys" is sent to the couple for them to discover their more passionate side. Because when it gets cold outside, I know what I'll be doing indoors! Go to for more info.

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