Have you started your Christmas/Hannukah/End of Year gift shopping yet? I have. I always have to start early because I have so many business gifts I have to buy as well as buying for my family and friends, so I like to think everything out, pace myself, and make it enjoyable.

This post contains affiliate links. See Disclosure page.

I was super spoiled last month when my affiliate marketing company and Nieman Marcus Last Call sent me a gorgeous bonus box filled with really fantastic presents. I don’t think they realize that I am a single parent, and that I basically never buy myself anything. I work all the time to keep everything running, and I don’t really shop for myself. It felt like it was my birthday!

nieman marcus gift ideas

There were lots of lovely things in my gift  box, but today I want to tell you about one in particular, the Smoked Birchwood Candle from DL&Co. I had a Birch candle from this company last fall/winter, and it was my absolute favorite. I had received it as a (very well thought out) gift, and had wondered where to find one for this season. As you can imagine, I was pretty excited to find this one in my box!

seasonal candles nieman marcus

Here is what I can tell you about DL&Co candles. The fragrance is gorgeous, they last for ages, and they are super chic.

Related Post: De-Clutter, Tidy and Make Your Home Beautiful

I have candles burning all the time when I am home. Fragrance is so important in the home and in every aspect of our lives. Our sense of well being can be tied to fragrances, our memories are tied to our sense of smell, in fact perfume is the key to our memories. I adore the fragrances we attach to the Christmas season – the birches and pines. I always buy a real Christmas tree because to me the smell of the tree heralds Christmas more than anything else.

This candle has notes of smoked birch, vetivier and oak blend, cedar, earthy moss, and balsamic amber. Perfect for this time of year!

seasonal candles nieman marcus

When I opened this candle I was really taken with the packaging. The box is elegant and the fluted glass jar the candle comes in is beautiful. we took these photos a couple of weeks ago and I have been burning the candle since then, so it is a little lower in the jar now. It is burning on my desk as I am writing this post, and I keep looking at the light dancing around inside the jar, bouncing off the crenellations and fluting in the glass is so pretty.

I received it as a gift but I am also thinking that these candles make fabulous gifts for people on my own list, and no doubt yours too! Nieman Marcus Last Call has a wonderful variety of candles for your home and for the homes of people on your gift giving list. Check them out here.

Related Post: Gift Idea, Sunday Riley Luna Oil

All images in this post are courtesy of Kristina Beth Photography

 

If you are traveling to Europe this winter chances are you are thinking about what footwear to bring.

I have been really trying hard to pack less on my European trips. On my summer Glam Italia Tours I have been taking a pair of Supergas, a pair of good sandals to walk in all day, a pair of sandals to wear out at night if I want to change it up, and a pair of flip flops for beach days.

I have another winter trip coming up, and at this point I am planning on taking only 2 pairs of shoes, a sneaker and an ankle boot. Maybe a velvet mule to wear out an night, but am not sure yet on that one.

boots and shooes for Europe this winter

Things to consider when you are planning your winter footwear for Europe are weather and how much walking you will be doing. If you are going to a rainy place you need to factor in footwear getting wet and how long it will take to dry. If you only have 2 pairs of shoes and your first pair haven’t dried overnight, you need a backup pair. I know from my years of living in London that shoes sometimes don’t dry out for a few days because there isn’t always an abundance of heating. If you only have 2 pairs that can mean wearing damp shoes (not happening) or buying more shoes there (game on!). I recommend having a pair of waterproof boots

Obviously if you are going to the snow you need snow appropriate shoes.

I tend to be in Italy, France, Spain – places that have relatively temperate weather. They all have snow, but I don’t go to the snow so it doesn’t factor in to my packing equation.

The next thing to think about is how much walking you will be doing. My iPhone step tracker app tells me that when I’m on my Glam Tours we are walking an average of 25,000 steps per day. In Paris in September we were averaging a little more than that, somewhere around 11 miles per day. I’ve had tour groups in Rome who have wanted to stay out exploring on their first night, and we have ended up walking 32,000 steps their first day! What this means is that you have to have really comfortable shoes that support your feet and don’t leave you blistered and wounded. Don’t forget that Europe is full of cobblestone streets, so you need to think about ankle support and low heels. (Or no heels)

Sneakers

The absolute biggest thing in Paris just over a month ago was the Adidas sneaker. They were worn many different ways, with jeans, with pants, with dresses. They were madly chic. I bought a pair of Campus style in salmon that are beyond cool, and I wore them to death. On Zappos.com I found these Adidas Gazelle suede sneakers that would be great for non-rainy days

 

adidas gazelle grey and pink

adidas Originals – Gazelle (Pearl Grey/Trace Green/White) Women’s Tennis Shoes

adidas Originals - Superstar (White/Gold) Women's Tennis Shoes

These  adidas Originals – Superstar (White/Gold) Women’s Tennis Shoes were everywhere in Paris. You could wear them with jeans, but I wouldn’t advise wearing white sneakers in the rain. The leather uppers make them good for winter, and if white feels too summery they have lots of other colors to choose from too. I found a great pair of black leather Adidas with white stripes that would also be great.

Boots

Ankle boots are fantastic because they don’t take up much room, look good with everything, and don’t leave boot marks at your knees showing through your jeans!

Blundstone - BL550 (Walnut) Pull-on Boots

Blundstone – BL550 (Walnut) Pull-on Boots
 are waterproof, can be dressed up or down, are super comfortable, and this is actually one of Blundstone’s best rated boots. Available at Zappos.

Born - Casco (Black Full Grain) Women's Pull-on Boots

Born – Casco (Black Full Grain) Women’s Pull-on Boots
 Born boots are super comfortable and easy to walk in forever. I have a pair that finally need replacing after years of working hard for me. I’m a huge Born fan. I also like the look of their Chisel Boot below.
Bornshoes.com offers free shipping and exchanges on all orders, and hassle-free returns!

Born Chisel Boot

 

Geox are know for their well made, super comfortable footwear. I think every major city I go to in Europe has a big Geox presence. Their shoes and boots are not only stylish and comfortable, but chic too. I particularly like the Etienne boot below.

Geox Etienne
Shopgeox.com offers free shipping and exchanges on all orders, and hassle-free returns!

Sofft - Bergamo Waterproof (Black Wild Steer) Women's Slip on Shoes

Sofft – Bergamo Waterproof (Black Wild Steer) Women’s Slip on Shoes
 are another great ankle boot option. I lived in Sofft sandals and shoes all summer in Europe, and they were probably the best travel footwear I have ever had in terms of comfort (walking 25,000 steps per day), durablity – they are still going strong, and they looked chic.
Sofftshoe.com offers free shipping on all orders, easy returns, and free exchanges.

 

Sam Edelman - Aven (Malbec Silky Velvet) Women's Clog/Mule Shoes
Sam Edelman – Aven (Malbec Silky Velvet) Women’s Clog/Mule Shoes
 I love the look of these velvet mules from Sam Edelman. I wouldn’t walk all day in them, but after a long day of sightseeing it would feel great to slip into these and head out to dinner.

Related Post: Chic and Super Comfortable Shoes and Sandals To Wear In Europe, Summer

Other winter footwear items to pack:

Warm socks. Make sure they are soft and comfortable warm socks.

Bandaids for blisters.

Insoles for your boots. I use Dr Scholls, mostly because I like the gel pad in the heel.

More warm socks.

 

I’m excited to tell you about this week’s Product Spotlight! A few months back Bloomingdales.com and my affiliate marketing company sent me a Blogger Bonus Box. It had many fabulous things in it, including Viktor and Rolf BonBon (which became my Paris fragrance) and today’s product Sisley Paris Phyto Eye Twist.

This post contains affiliate links. See Disclosure page.

I’m majorly fan-girling on this product. At this time of year I work 7 days per week. I don’t have time to fluff around in the mornings, I have to get ready and get out the door quickly. I am a makeup artist, so I have to arrive to whichever gig I’m working on looking what I call “tastefully polished”. That means well groomed but no overblown Kardashian-style makeup, which isn’t my vibe anyway. They sent me the Phyto Eye Twist in Shade 1, Topaz (which  may just be the best fall/winter shade ever). Topaz is the perfect bronzy-gold shade for fall. It has warmth rather than being too yellow, and the perfectly calibrated shade looks gorgeous on any skin tone. I am a cool toned girl, so many golds look alien on my skin, but the depth under this shade makes it a gorgeous match for my skin.

Related post: Perfume Is The Most Intense Form of Memory

The Phyto Eye Twists come in 12 shades. They are very creamy and the color is buildable, so you can wear it as a sheer wash of color, or you can wear it as more of a statement. I apply as much as I’m in the mood for that day, smudge it a little with my finger, add a little eyeliner and mascara, and am ready in 5 minutes.

Related Post: 5 Fall Skincare Products You Need To Know About

Sisley Paris is a high tech, plant based luxury brand. Being a French brand there is a huge focus on quality paired with a love of great skin. This means you won’t find abrasive chemical ingredients. Some eye crayons can leave your eyelid feeling irritated after a few hours of wear, but the Sisley Eye Twist is gentle on the delicate skin around the eyes. It’s really lovely. And it allows you to channel your inner French girl…

Grab one for yourself and grab another as a stocking stuffer.

The Sisley Phyto Eye Twist is available at Bloomingdales.com