CHAMPAGNE DREAMS TO RING IN THE NEW YEAR

by Marisa Marcantonio

It's not too soon to start thinking about how you are going to ring in 2016. Perhaps you run a midnight marathon, or go to a yoga retreat. If your New Year's plans involve a party, there are some new and unexpected ways to celebrate with the bubbles. Here are three great finds to keep the soiree on point and interesting. Start your party prep now, so you have all the festive details coordinated come time the big ball drops.

If a sip isn't enough, Gift Republic's oversized Champagne Flute fits an entire bottle of champers. 

Photo courtesy of Barneys

Photo courtesy of Barneys

When I lived abroad in Florence, my Italian brother was a Champagne bottle cutting master. Using a Saber, like this ornate version from Barneys properly requires a honed technique, so be careful if you gift this to a novice, and hide it from the kids that like to play sword games.

Photo courtesy of Chandon

Photo courtesy of Chandon

Could these bottles be any more chic? Limited edition sparkling wineis a fun way to ring in the New Year. As the bottle states in gold handwriting, "The Party Starts Here" with Chandon's sleek set of three winter white bottles filled with bubbly. Available through January 31st, snap up some bottles to bring to the next fete. 

2014 GIFT GUIDE: TOP 10 WARM WEATHER GIFTS FOR THOSE THAT PREFER PALM TREES

by Marisa Marcantonio

Headed to warmer weather this holiday season? There is no shortage of great gifts for soaking up the sun in style. A more casual vibe can mean carefree living, and an opportunity to press pause. Here are some thoughtful ways to say you care, whether you are heading to the Pacific Ocean or remote Island that is barely a dot on the map. 

Photo courtesy of Mark and Graham

Photo courtesy of Mark and Graham

Monogrammed acrylic glasses are a great way to make poolside iced teas even better. Giving the gift of personalization is always appreciated, so that is why Mark and Graham is my go-to for useful things like barware.

Photo courtesy of Bloomingdales

Photo courtesy of Bloomingdales

Know your friend in Florida needs a chic way to open Ginger Beer to prepare Dark n' Stormies? Oscar de la Renta Home's charming new Tortoise Bottle Opener adds a flash of silver on the bar. Because life moves slower in the heat.

Photo courtesy of Iomoi

Photo courtesy of Iomoi

Iomoi's Valet Trays are my favorite to give, they make the best gifts. Available in an array of cute motifs to satisfy every past time, you can personalize them with initials, family or house name.  So maybe looking at Palm Trees is not really an activity, but you can enjoy the view.

Photo courtesy of Matouk

Photo courtesy of Matouk

A new set of plush beach towels is a thoughtful gesture and a good way to possibly get invited back to that sandy, sunny locale. Matouk is known for their pretty towels and these new striped fringe-edge Amado towels are oh-so sophisticated.

Photo courtesy of Persifor

Photo courtesy of Persifor

This small printed tote from Persifor will take you from lunch to the beach, no problem.  In a zesty coral and cream canvas with a zipped interior pocket, the tote can go from the plane to the pool easily. 

Photo courtesy of Soludos

Photo courtesy of Soludos

Pineapples are so welcoming and friendly, these Soludos Smoking Shoe Espadrilles would feel right at home on Parrot Cay or any other sandy destination.

If round frames suit, it seems these Illesteva  sunnies are the one's to have.  

Photo courtesy of Pomegranate

Photo courtesy of Pomegranate

Easy breezy Kurtas like this aqua and coral block printed version from Pomegranate are the thing to wear in warmer climes. The uniform, an ethnic printed top paired with white jeans isn't going anywhere soon, so its always nice to have a few on hand.

Photo courtesy of Strong Boalt

Photo courtesy of Strong Boalt

Channel the 1950's and Dorothy Draper with Strong Boalt's uber preppy Classic Board Shorts in a Banana Leaf print. I am slightly obsessed with these-- guys have it good!

Photo courtesy of Tory Burch

Photo courtesy of Tory Burch

Covered in tiny red flowers, Tory Burch's Issy Bathing Suit is cheerful and bright

2014 GIFT GUIDE: 10 TOP FINDS FOR THE HOSTESS

by Marisa Marcantonio

One of the busiest party seasons is upon us. Whether you are searching for the perfect hostess gift for that annual Christmas party or a last-minute get-together, I've got you covered with 10 entertaining finds, including the perfectly packaged candle to beautiful (and useful) bar essentials sure to delight. 

Photo courtesy of Neiman Marcus

Photo courtesy of Neiman Marcus

Add a golden touch to the bar with Oscar de la Renta's new Acorn Ice Bucket. A tortoise glass hand-blown vessel supports a detailed gold faceted lid, adding elegance and autumnal spirit.

Photo courtesy of West Elm

Photo courtesy of West Elm

Brass and marble on the bar? Yes please! West Elm nailed it with these handy bar tool set made of the mixed material combination of the moment.

Photo courtesy of Crate and Barrel

Photo courtesy of Crate and Barrel

This sleek Orb shaker from Crate and Barrel blew me away with its beautiful rounded design and approachable price point. In matte copper it can work with the various mixed metals found in a master mixologists assortment.

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I always suggest trays for gifts, because you can never have enough of them. This small copper tray, available with a snappy monogram from Mark and Graham, adds an elegant 1920's throwback presence to a bar or coffee table.

Photo courtesy of Anthropologie

Photo courtesy of Anthropologie

Marble is the best surface for keeping cheeses at the right temperature, and this striped serving tray at Anthropologie is an on-trend option. Make the party giver feel at ease by dropping off your gift in advance, this way, they can prepare the cheese platter and enjoy your gift by using it.

Photo courtesy of C. Wonder

Photo courtesy of C. Wonder

Animal prints look best in either large or small doses, which is why I find C. Wonder's ceramic leopard print coasters to be a good gift for those that prefer the understated look

Photo courtesy of Bauble Bar

Photo courtesy of Bauble Bar

Evocative of the classic Verdurian stars found on their iconic jewels, Bauble Bar's Celestial Drops of cascading stars are a sure fire way to add opulence to a festive holiday outfit

Photo courtesy of Barneys

Photo courtesy of Barneys

A beautifully packaged candle is a hostess gift go-to that is always appreciated. Looking for a unique scent that your host might might not yet know? Go for Cochine's Juniper and Ginger scent this season, through Barneys

Photo courtesy of Neiman Marcus

Photo courtesy of Neiman Marcus

Either alone or given along with a candle, AERIN's gold linen-wrapped match striker adds a glimmer of radiance elevating what can be a ho-hum everyday object

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Alder

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Alder

Moody black glasses accented with a malachite pattern in gold bring a swanky touch to cocktail hour. Jonathan Adler interprets everyone's favorite semi precious stone for the Mad Men set.