Thursday, December 09, 2004

Holiday Shopping: A Time for Elfishness

[pic via Wiener Philharmonic]

The holidays are right around the corner, lurking like a shadowed thief in a face mask, just outta prison and itching to pounce again. He's made his list, he's checked it twice, and your rich, diamond-studded ass will be the first one to lose all their money, dignity, and quote/unquote "holiday spirit."

So, before that inevitable time comes, why don't I give you some ways to spend some money on yourself for a change. Here are a couple of my trademarked "Product Endorsements" to help pamper yourself this winter. (See No. 4, esp.)

1. Lush brand "Angels on Bare Skin" Skin Cleanser

For those of you not familiar with Lush, get familiar fast. This European brand is to Bath and Body Works what filet mignon is to a dead horse, i.e. lug-zyoo-ree-yus. All of their products are hand made, using only natural ingredients, and now I'll stop because I'm boring myself. When my friend Lang and I were in the UK, we went into about, oh, say, 246 of these stores, shopping or sometimes just sampling the delights. And now... they opened one right near my house!

So I bought more of this "Angels on Bare Skin" stuff -- it is better than I remembered. Mix a pea sized amount with some water in your palm, scrub away, and voila! Your skin will feel like the softest underbelly of the sweetest Mongolian goat. I also bought this shampoo made out of stout and cognac, and while my hair feels nice, it smells like A1 sauce. Half empty, half full people.

(It should be noted that my enthusiasm for the store is so great, that me and the employees yesterday became best friends... to the point that I filled out a job application and might work there on weekends over the holiday! The great thing about that is that the money I earn will go towards buying me more and more Lush products! The fun never ends!)

2. Cole Haan Bags

Not as cheesy as Coach bags, and I think the leather is actually better. Check out Filene's Basement and Ebay for some especially great deals.

3. Alain Mikli and his Magical Sample Sale

Alain Mikli is one of the finest eyeglass makers in the world. All his frames are hand made in France, and the kicker is they retail for anywhere between $300 and $500, rendering them soundly "out of my budget." His pieces are optical works of art, and you can feel the quality oozing out of the hinges.

But twice a year, Santa's little French elves open up shop for the Alain Mikli sample sale here in New York, where his exquisite frames are only $50 to $70, tops! If I was richer, I'd buy em all up and open up shop, but alas, I can only afford a couple of pairs for myself.

The sale gets a pretty eclectic group of people (one lunatic -- bald in the front, shoulder length hair in the back -- accosted me Tuesday morning, grabbed my arm, and screamed "Did I step in shit! God, it smells like shit in here! (sweating profusely) Is it my shoe, or this store?!?" Note that the store is like the most sterile, clean place on earth, and this man was wearing an overcoat obviously used by Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York.) People get very friendly, looking around bespeckled and blinking, smiling, eyes begging for a stranger's opinion. They're also honest: "No, those make your nose look even bigger!" or "You have what we industry people call 'A Big Face', or 'Un Grande Fatche'. Those frames are way too small."

If you're in New York today or tomorrow, and are vision impaired, this sale is an absolute must. 260 Fifth Avenue, 2nd Floor, today until 5:45 p.m., 12/10, 9 - 5 pm.

4. Pampers

Note to Readers: Do not ever, EVER, do a Google Image Search of "Diapers" at work... shudder... Ever. :'(

5. Newport News

Sure. Go ahead. Check out the website, and make fun of the clothes they sell. Do it. I did. It's a blast, I swear. But within 3 hours of "pure hilarity", I was out $210, and up 7 pairs of leather-tooled jeans and 3 peasant shirts. They will brain wash you. I mean, for God's sake, there is a category called "Must Have Ponchos" -- there are 11 of them! And I MUST have them! But at prices like these, it's worth it!

TODAY'S FOOTNOTE: I must have been in a latke-induced coma last night, because for whatever reason I was watching Last Call with Carson Daly. My room was cold, I was nice and toasty under my blanky, and the remote was like, I don't know, 4 inches away, so I was stuck. Anyway, Tony Danza was the guest. When he made his entrance, the band broke into an Elton John song. And just when I thought I was on the brink of taking an intimate bath with a plugged in toaster, Tony laughed and said "Get it? Hold me closer, TONY DANZA." (Click on link, and also note misheard lyrics "Hold my clothes and tie me down, sir", which is probably how it was originally written.)

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