PRECIOUS CARGO: Beauty, Books & More

THE WESTIN HAMBURG, GERMANY Photo © Matteo Barro from Best Unique Hotels & Retreats - Eighty Four Rooms, published by teNeues


LA PRAIRIE Skin Caviar Eye Lift / Luxe Eye Cream There’s strength in numbers. Though you could use these champions individually, a combined approach provides an unbeatable arsenal against signs of aging around the eyes. As with all their products, the price tag is more than justified due to the efficacy of the product and because just a little goes a long way. Say goodbye to puffiness, and hello to a more firm, lifted appearance! Eye Lift $480 / Eye Cream $380


BEST UNIQUE HOTELS & RETREATS: Eighty Four Rooms by Sebastian Schoellgen, Martin Nicolas Kunz (teNeues) Drop the on-line searches and dive into this sumptuous catalogue of the world’s most luxurious hotels and retreats around the globe. Experts, Schoellgen and Kunz have mined years of experience to bring you stunning properties that cater to every taste and vista in this hefty 300-page plus tome. If nothing else, take a virtual journey and dream away. $95

CONTEMPORARY DESIGN REVIEW by Cindi Cook (teNeues) Nothing speaks more indelibly about you than your sense of environment. In more than 300 photos, Cook, whose work has appeared in various publications including The New York Times and Huffington Post offers curating ideas ranging from kitchen appliances to one-of-a-kind furniture pieces gathered from around the world. $95

A VANITY AFFAIR – L’Art du Necessaire by Kaddoura, Curiel et al. (Rizzoli) This luxurious slipcased-tome pays tribute to the world of dazzling vanity cases from the nineteenth to the twentieth century with invaluable insights from the authors — all authorities in the field of jewelry and art history. Each piece ranges in size and shape, and is a work of art incorporating such precious components as platinum and gold, inlays of lacquer, gemstones, mother-of-pearl, and jade. You may just abandon the Birkin and switch to one of these old-world treasures. $150

INTERNATIONAL BEST DRESSED LIST: The Official Story by Amy Fine Collins (Rizzoli) Seek your fashion inspiration from the world’s most stylish and glamorous men and women. More than just a sourcebook for your next sartorial adventure, this is also a valuable and at times spicy history on the coveted list launched by the “Godmother of Fashion”, Eleanor Lambert, which desperate aspirants have even attempted bribing their way onto. $75

THE ACCURSED TOWER – The Fall of Acre and the End of the Crusades by Roger Crowley (Basic Books) In 1291, the final battle for the Holy Land played out with the siege of Acre by the Mamluk army, ending almost 200 years of Christian presence in the Crusader states of Outremer. Crowley draws astutely from both Arabic and Latin sources to present a captivating account of this historical battle, positing the technical advances in military planning and warfare, and recognizing both its valiant and tragic heroes. $28

PARIS – A Curious Traveler’s Guide by Eleanor Aldridge (The Countryman Press) The regular tourist traps will always be popular, but wouldn’t you also like to discover the lesser know, budget-conscious attractions that only insiders can reveal? A one-of-a-kind travel guide aimed at the younger set, Aldridge’s Paris focuses on little known  museums and secret squares, the coolest speakeasies, best neo- bistros, and most unusual boutiques. $22.95

ROMAN MYTHOLOGY by David Stuttard (Thames & Hudson) Use your Rick Steves by all means, but don’t overlook this gem of a guide which delves into the mythical aspects of your favorite sites. Stuttard covers eighteen of them including Troy, The Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum, and uses excerpts from historians like Plutarch and Virgil, and maps and illustrations to reveal the mythical nuances of these archeological wonders. $24.95


The Xmas Songs (Music on Vinyl)

THE XMAS SONGS – Various Artists (Music on Vinyl) Limited Edition of 1,000 on 2, 180-gram audiophile colored vinyl records. Get into the Christmas spirit with this timeless collection of the greatest christmas songs by such classic and contemporary artists as Jose Feliciano, Elton John, Kylie Minogue, and Justin Bieber & Mariah Carey. Gorgeously rendered on silver and clear vinyl, these will be as much of a delight to look at as to listen. About $35

Etta James Collected (Music on Vinyl)

ETTA JAMES COLLECTED – Etta James (Music on Vinyl) Limited Edition of 1,500 individually numbered copies on 2, 180-gram purple vinyl records. Immerse yourself in the versatile artistry of the legendary Etta James who gave us a little of everything — blues, R&B, rock, soul, jazz, and gospel. A collection of 36 tracks including the classic At Last, I’d Rather Go Blind, and Only Women Bleed. About $35

Cinema Paradiso – Ennio Morricone (AMS)

NUOVO CINEMA PARADISO – Ennio Morricone (AMS) The lush, romantic score by legendary composer, Ennio Morricone has seen multiple vinyl releases, but the AMS version in a deluxe gatefold, 180-gram purple vinyl is especially exciting. Include also is a poster of the movie’s promotional flyers and lobby cards. A must-have for fans of orchestral, nostalgic music. The record has also been released in black vinyl so use caution when purchasing. Prices vary.


Hey Dewy Portable Facial Humidifier

HEY DEWY Portable Facial Humidifier Winter’s here, and while you’re probably armed with the best moisturizers, a portable facial humidifier is an indispensable ally. Take this little USB soldier along with you on trips or even position it by your bedside and bask in its 10-hour hydration. Built with a convenient night light and water gauge. 10% of the sales will be donated to The Water Project. $39