Dress Him Up and Take Him Out

Spa + Beer: Perfect Together

Boutiques Meet Bistros on the Square

Case in Point: Leather Luxury

Get Warm and Fuzzy

Pampering Little Toes

Blow Them Away, Italian Style

Massage, Even for Men

Dinner Out, No Check

Flying the Friendly Skies

Corrections or additions?

These articles were prepared for the December 8, 2004

issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

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Top Of Page
Dress Him Up and Take Him Out

If you’re dressing the man in your life (and let’s face it, they all

need dressing), Nick Hilton Studio offers a wide range of gift ideas

for every budget. "We have everything from leather to khaki," says

owner Nick Hilton. And speaking of leather, let’s go straight to the

buttery-soft stuff. Hilton’s leather jackets come from Lone Pine, a

company in California that tans its own hides, makes the skins, and

sews the jackets. "The skins are incredible, luxurious, and

beautiful," says Hilton, adding that the trim on the pockets, stitch

work, design, and fit are all exquisite. From pine-colored suede to

burled walnut brown, the colors are just as divine as the leather.

Prices range from $995 to $1,835.

Hilton also recommends the extremely luxurious lightweight knitwear.

Made in Italy, these sweaters come in polos, mock turtlenecks,

v-necks, and crewnecks. "It’s a unique blend of merino, cashmere, and

silk – very lightweight and soft," says Hilton. "Merino can get hot

and is harsh to the touch; the cashmere and silk add a loftiness and

softness, so it’s more comfortable. These sweaters are a great

alternative to a collared shirt. You can wear the polo over a shirt or

t-shirt, or you can wear it as a shirt." Prices range from $165 to


You can also find many items under $100. Shirts, $85 to $97, are

surprisingly inexpensive for the high quality they offer. "Made with

high count cotton," says Hilton, "these shirts are spun better and

woven better than cotton shirts you’ll find in a department store."

Another great deal is the khakis by Bill’s Khakis ($45 to $97.50).

"You can wear these for 10 years or you can wear Dockers for two

years," says Hilton. "These khakis are a high count cotton, thick but

not stiff. They are made very well, with a good drape, a solid

waistband, and deep pockets. They last longer and look better when

you’re wearing them."

But the real package deal at Nick Hilton is this: three custom-made

shirts and three suits for $1,400. "You do the math," says Hilton.

"That’s an incredible deal."

Nick Hilton Studio, 221 Witherspoon Street. 609-921-8160.

Top Of Page
Spa + Beer: Perfect Together

Attention, men. Yes, you, men. I know you’re out there. And I know you

have, well, shall we say mixed feelings about shopping? OK, you hate

shopping. Someone just came to your rescue.

On Thursday, December 16, Spa Therapia and Triumph Brewing Company

present their second annual "Men’s Night Out," from 6 to 9 p.m. At

this "stress free shopping" night, men are invited to stop in and

enjoy some of the spa treatments Spa Therapia offers and sample

different brews from Triumph while knocking off a good portion of your

holiday list.

Spa Therapia, a medically-supervised day spa, offers several lines of

skin care products and cosmetics as well as spa treatments like

facials, waxing, massage, salt scrubs, body wraps, microdermabrasion,

pedicures, manicures, and more – you know, stuff girls crave. She’ll

love you for it.

A few years ago I got a $200 gift certificate to Spa Therapia (for,

let’s just say, a round-number big girl birthday), and I was so

thrilled that I made it last the whole year, with three different

treatments over three visits.

This gift-giving season Spa Therapia is recommending gift certificates

for its Signature Massage: 50 minutes, $70; 70 minutes, $90; 90

minutes, $120. This is a personalized massage experience incorporating

Swedish techniques and other modalities to focus on specific trouble

areas. A Signature Massage is created by you and your therapist for

the ultimate experience and includes a warming back mask for extra

stress relief.

Another option is the Ultimate Customized Facial, 65 minutes for $95.

It begins with an expert skin analysis, followed by intense cleansing,

toning, exfoliating with papaya and pineapple enzymes, extractions,

massage, masking, and treatment creme chosen specifically for your

skin type. The Ultimate also includes a scalp, hands, and foot


As a special holiday promotion, every gift certificate comes with an

eight-ounce Avocado Lotion from the spa’s new line of private label

skin care products called Results by Spa Therapia.

Combining the finest formulas, highest standards, and the latest

techniques for anti-aging, these products are designed to facilitate

total wellness and beauty. The line includes O2 Rejuvenating Creme,

Willow Herb Soothing Serum, Derma Pore Cleanser, Spot Fix, and Vitamin

C Serum.

Both the spa and the Results product line are under the supervision of

Thomas A. Leach, M.D, medical director of Princeton Center for Plastic


Spa Therapia, 932 State Road (Route 206 South),

609-921-8854, www.spatherapia.com.

Top Of Page
Boutiques Meet Bistros on the Square

If there’s someone on your list who loves to shop or someone who loves

to stroll through downtown Princeton on a weekend afternoon, just

drinking in the ambiance, you can package that experience up in a box

this year – with a Palmer Square gift certificate. With over 40 stores

– a mix of top national chains like J. Crew, Ann Taylor, Chico’s,

Coach, and Ralph Lauren, to independent stores with an entrepreneurial

spirit like Zoe and Zoe Shoes, which just expanded into bigger digs,

and Honey West, which showcases small boutique designers from New York

and Los Angeles – Palmer Square offers downtown charm but with the

sophistication of the city. From women’s and men’s apparel to home

furnishings and accessories, from health and beauty to specialty foods

and specialty gifts, Palmer Square offers gift solutions in every


Here are just some of the things you can find on Palmer Square,

whether you are shopping for others or thinking about what someone

might be able to get with a gift certificate. A pound of handmade

chocolates from Thomas Sweet or a box of truffles from Lindt

Chocolates. Acqua di Parma cologne and NARS cosmetics from Blue

Mercury or ginger souffle whipped body cream from Origins. Swedish

Christmas ornaments from Bowhe and Peare. Paintings of the Princeton

campus and Princeton at Cranbury Station Gallery. "Winter" holiday

candles at Banana Republic. Provencal table linens at April Cornell.

Estate jewelry at The Silver Shop, the oldest shop in the Square

(established in 1937). Shoes from Nine West and Aerosoles. Clothes for

children at Talbots Kids and the three ICI’s – ICI Bebe, ICI Fashion,

and ICI Monde. Toys and children’s books at Jazams.

Palmer Square is all dressed up for the holidays. Every weekend in

December there are strolling musicians, a strolling Santa, and horse

and carriage rides.

For holiday dining and desserts, there’s Bucks County Coffee, Halo

Pub, Medittera, Teresa Caffe, the Bent Spoon, Winberies, and the

Yankee Doodle Tap Room.

Palmer Square gift certificates in any denomination are available at

The Papery, 43 Hulfish Street. For each $25 gift certificate purchased

through December 31, you get a $10 free parking value pass card.

Top Of Page
Case in Point: Leather Luxury

It’s arguably the most distinctive business accessory – for a man or a

woman. A top-of-the-line briefcase makes a defining statement that

sets the tone the moment you walk into a meeting, client appointment,

or business dinner. The possibilities are endless, but above all, a

briefcase should reflect the very best attributes of the person who

carries it – intellect, creativity, innovation, and executive savvy.

Luttman’s in Princeton carries a selection of briefcases for virtually

any taste – urbane and contemporary, staid and conservative, edgy and

sophisticated, in a price range from $250 to $1,000. There’s the

Rawlings line, crafted from one of the most durable natural materials

available – Rawlings baseball glove leather. Jack Georges cases are

strong yet lightweight, made from leathers like top grain soft tumble

milled leather, soft milled full grain steer hide, Italian and German

leather, and vegetable-dyed, hand-stained suede – accented with

details like satin nickel finished solid brass hardware, ballistic

lining, blue steel metal reinforcements, and quilted leather.

The British line Tusting, which dates back five generations, features

specially-prepared water- and stain-resistant leather prepared by

highly-skilled artisans not to cover the natural scars of the hides

but simply to enhance the texture and feel. Some styles have a soft

"bookbag" structure, others a popular semi-rigid structure, featuring

quick release "tucktight" closure.

Daines & Hathaway offers exquisitely elegant, classic styles like the

Harvard, Oxford, and Banker’s cases, crafted from English bridle hide,

using designs and traditional manufacturing techniques dating back to

the 19th century. The Ghurka line features cases made fromsignature

vintage leather that is pure vegetable tanned, entirely free of

chemicals, utilizing tanning extracts from mimosa and quebracho tree


Luttmann’s Luggage is a venerable Princeton shop that opened 101 years

ago as a saddlery shop. Over the years it began to carry leather goods

and continued to be run by the Luttmann family until its current

owner, Frank Riccato, took over ownership of the store. In addition to

traditional and contemporary briefcases Luttmann’s offers women’s

handbags, wallets, portfolios, gift items including leather picture

frames, accessories, and day planners including Filofax and Scully.

Luttmann’s Luggage, 20 Witherspoon Street. 609-924-0004.

Top Of Page
Get Warm and Fuzzy

We look for classic traditional high quality items and beat the price

down and up the selection," says Robert Landau, owner of Landau’s.

"This is our 49th Christmas in Princeton. There’s no benefit to

longevity other than we think we really know our customers. When we

find something that’s good, we really overdo it."

Landau recommends three items for holiday gift giving. The first is

the pashmina shawl, which became extremely fashionable just in the

last three years. Through a contract Landau’s has made with a

cooperative in India, the store offers a pashmina shawl that used to

sell for $265 but is now priced at just $59. And it comes in over 50

colors. "If you have 40 women on your list, you can get each one a

different color," says Landau, adding that the shawl’s 70% pashmina

cashmere/30% silk blend "drapes spectacularly. You can wear it on

Christmas Day and to a restaurant in the middle of July. People fly

with it and use it instead of an airplane blanket; others use it as a

bed jacket. These shawls work all year round. And one size fits all so

you don’t have to worry."

Another example of the Landau’s strategy to evolve woolen items into

more affordable apparel is the very popular acrylic zip-front cardigan

sweater for women. Landau says the sweater was copied from a

traditional Austrian boiled wool jacket that sells for $475. Done very

nicely in acrylic, the cardigan sells for $29. "It looks very

expensive," says Landau. "And it’s washable." And in true Landau’s

tradition of great selection, it is available in eight colors.

For the men on your list, Landau recommends the Viyella shirt from

England. Viyella was origianlly a 60% wool/40% cotton blend that over

time has evolved into an 80% cotton/20% wool blend. Landau says this

makes the shirt, which is styled like an outdoor shirt or a lumberjack

shirt, a little bit warmer than a standard cotton shirt. And talk

about patterns – the Viyella shirt comes in about 60 different

patterns. Elsewhere these shirts sell for $115 but Landau’s gets them

direct from a mill in Pennsylvania (the fabric is made in England) to

be able to offer a retail price of $65. "We’ll end up selling 600 this

season," says Landau.

Landau’s, 102 Nassau Street, Princeton. 609-924-3494.

Top Of Page
Pampering Little Toes

I went through a phase a number of years ago where I bought everyone

shoes for presents. Now that, pardon the pun, was thinking outside the

box. I was the smash hit of Christmas morning.

Buy really comfortable shoes, and you’ve hit pay dirt. Ask anyone who

wears Birkenstock shoes and they are likely to tell you they are the

most comfortable shoes they own. The 200-year-old company has reshaped

its image with the addition of enclosed shoes and boots. "A lot of

people are curious about Birkenstock," says Steppin’ Birkenstock owner

Jimmy Jimenez. "People have a perception of Birkenstock as a clunky

clog or the Arizona sandal but they’re that and a whole lot more.

We’ve had lots of three-generation families as customers, even four


For kids, Jiminez recommends putting them in the most comfortable and

supportive footwear from day one with Birkenstock’s kids fun clogs.

Growing feet, legs, and spines need correct footwear introduced early

on. This helps bodies develop correctly into adulthood.

By starting your child on the Birkenstock road of life from the

beginning, you insure fewer bumps in the road later on in life. Unlike

many other major comfort-ware manufacturers Birkenstock isn’t just

satisfied with making a knockoff of the adult clog. You know the

shoes, all show and no go! These clogs are fully functioning

Birkenstock footwear. They feature the same great orthopedic support,

comfort, and durability as the adult versions do, including four

natural arch supports and heel cup, along with the toe bar found in

the adult version.

Plus these clogs are downright adorable and dare I say, FUN! There are

three separate clogs in this group, each with a distinctive character

motif and color. There is a pig in a blue base color, a sheep in a red

base color, and a cow in a green base color. The design is unique with

the head and neck on the right clog and the rest of the animal on the

left clog. Your kids will love these clogs, and so will you. So much

fun that you’ll wish they made them in adult sizes too.

Jiminez also recommends other Birkenstock styles as a gift – or give

a gift certificate. In addition to shoes, sandals, and boots, the

store also carries insoles, arch supports, and cashmere socks.

Steppin’ Birkenstock, 12 Chambers Street, Princeton,

609-921-8411; 530 Union Square Drive, New Hope, Pennsylvania,


Top Of Page
Blow Them Away, Italian Style

Thanks to Carson (if you don’t watch "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"

you won’t get this) the word "product" has gone mainstream Still don’t

get it? Product means great stuff for styling your hair. Product will

make anyone over the age of 14 on your list happy. It’s even good for

people who think they don’t want it. Trust me. They want it.

Look for European packaging with at least four languages. Women go

weak for anything European. We recommend Phyto products, also known as

Phytologie, which are produced in France. Phyto products, made with

all natural botanical ingredients, have received the Hollywood Good

Housekeeping Seal of Approval – InStyle magazine named Phyto the

number one haircare product line.

Elaine Staats, owner of E.Y. Staats, recommends several Phyto products

for gifts. Phytodefrisant ($22), a botanical hair relaxing balm, is

made with ferula and sage and received Allure magazine’s Reader’s

Choice Award in 2004. Phytobrush ($20) uses acacia honey and thermal

protective agents for heat styling and enhances the action of the

Phytodefrisant. Phytolisse is an ultra shine smoothing serum ($24).

Phytovolume Actif ($22) is a volumizer spray root lift.

Staats also recommends a five-inch round boar bristle styling brush

($30) and the Elchim blow dryer ($95). Made in Italy, the Elchim has

the best air velocity of any dryer, says Staats, allowing for a quick

dry, even with thick hair – it’s the only dryer the stylists at the

salon use.

E.Y. Staats in Princeton is a charming salon that offers modern

styling in an 18th century home – there’s even a fireplace in the

reception area. "Everyone who works here has been with me since the

beginning," says Staats, adding that the stylists have extensive

experience in cutting, coloring (including dimensional coloring),

styling, and bridal services. The staff stays on the cutting edge by

attending seminars such as a recent one on styling and presentation

given by the uber-chic Minardi + Minardi team from New York at the

Canyon Ranch Spa in Lenox, Massachusetts.

E.Y. Staats, 10 Moore Street, Princeton. 609-924-6696.

Top Of Page
Massage, Even for Men

If someone offered you a 60-minute full body massage or a sweater for

a gift and told you they both cost the same, which would you choose?

Easy. Wouldn’t you go for the massage? Who wouldn’t? "Our purpose for

being is to provide quality caring and massage and bodywork for

everyone," says Darby Line, owner of Full Circle Family Massage and

Healing Center. "But our work goes much deeper than the muscles."

Sometimes the gift of relaxation and rejuvenation is far more

significant – and enjoyable – than the stuff that comes in a box. A

gift certificate for a massage or a facial – 30 to 60 minutes away

from the stress and pressure of everyday life – would thrill anyone.

Even men. "A lot of men need massage, a break from their stressed-out

lives," says Line. "Forty percent of our clients are men. We even give

facials to a lot of men. Men don’t want to walk through a salon past

women getting their hair done in order to get a massage. We’re not

slick. We’re housed in a small Cape Cod and each private treatment

room is a little bit different experience. Men don’t feel embarrassed.

People often comment that it’s very much like ‘coming home.’"

Full Circle treats clients as young as four and as old as in their

90s, everyone from professional athletes to people with terminal

illnesses. "The body work we do is tailored to everyone who walks in

our door," says Line. "We have 15 highly-experienced therapists who do

everything from total relaxation to injury rehabilitation massage. We

always spend time with a client before their appointment. If they have

a one-hour appointment we’ll talk for five to ten minutes before to

determine the right approach."

Line says a very popular gift certificate is for a one-hour

integrative massage ($70), which is based on Swedish massage but also

includes shiatsu, reflexology, reiki, or other techniques, depending

on the individual’s needs. For those who don’t want to spend that

much, Line suggests the half-hour massage ($45). A facial is $55 and a

radiance facial, which includes a special eye treatment to minimize

the little lines around the eyes and an exfoliating mask, is $90.

Line also recommends, especially at this time of year, the 50-minute

full body Swedish massage for $60. "It helps get the circulation

going, and warms and detoxes the muscles. It’s a great break for

anyone." She adds that a gift certificate for a massage is a great

gift for an older parent, "someone who has everything or someone who

has never had a massage."

Full Circle Family Massage and Healing Center, 329

Princeton-Hightstown Road, 609-371-0888, www.fullcirclemasage.com.

Gift certificates, which can be mailed to the recipient or the buyer,

are available over the phone. $1 service charge per gift certificate

for mailing.

Top Of Page
Dinner Out, No Check

A couple of weeks ago, I took my nine-year-old son to have dinner at

Teresa Caffe on Palmer Square before going to see Savion Glover and

Bobby McFerrin at McCarter Theater. There was a wait for a table so we

grabbed two stools at the polished wood bar in front of the pizza

oven. Before we knew it, my son was drinking Sprite out of a champagne

glass and chatting with the lady next to us about his tap class, and

we decided to stay put and eat at the bar. My son could watch his

pizza margherita being made, and the attentive bartender refilled his

glass before he even had to ask. It was cozy and bustling and and we

could watch everyone coming and going. I had a salad and a glass of

merlot – we were happy campers.

Maybe there’s someone on your list who really needs a "date night"

with his or her spouse. Maybe there’s someone who loves to

people-watch at a cafe or sip an exotic drink at the bar and listen to

live music. Or someone who could use the treat of dining out at an

Italian bistro on a weeknight. A Terra Momo gift certificate takes

care of all of them.

Terra Momo restaurant group is named after owners Carlo and Raoul

Momo’s parents, Teresa Azario Momo and Raul Momo Marmonti. Terra Momo

includes Mediterra, offering a Mediterranean menu and intimate musical

groups on Wednesday and Thursday nights, 29 Hulfish Street, Princeton,

609-252-9680; Nova Terra, with a Nuevo Latino menu, featuring rodizio

every Wednesday night (a kind of Brazilian barbeque) and live Latin

music Thursday through Saturday nights, 78 Albany Street, New

Brunswick, 732-296-1600; Teresa Caffe, serving authentic Italian

cuisine, 23 Palmer Square East, Princeton, 609-921-1974; Eccoqui, also

serving authentic Italian cuisine, 107 Route 202, Bernardsville,

908-221-0040; and Witherspoon Bread Company, featuring artisan and

organic breads, 74 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, 609-688-0188.

While the flavors and themes of each location differ they all share

the Terra Momo vision with special "ingredients" – from locally-grown

produce and wines from small producers around the world to

distinctive interior design like the circular bar at Nova Terra.

Terra Momo gift certificates. Available from any Terra Momo restaurant

or online at www.terramomo.com. Gift certificates are the size of a

credit card and come in a wonderful gift package and envelope.

Top Of Page
Flying the Friendly Skies

We get everyone – truck drivers, surgeons, reporters, artists. I had a

woman who was about 60 years old come in today and buy one for her

good friend, then say, ‘I’m going to get one for my son and

daughter-in-law,’" says Naomi Nierenberg at Raritan Flying School at

Princeton Airport. "It" is an introductory flying lesson.

"It’s a mini first lesson with hands-on experience," says Nierenberg.

You are accompanied by an FAA certified flight instructor, who starts

the lesson with a pre-flight check on either a Cessna 152 or 172

single engine high wing airplane. You check the oil and gas and make

sure the plane is in airworthy condition, then you sit in the left

seat and the instructor sits on the right. Both you and the instructor

have hands and feet on the controls and you taxi down the runway. Then

comes the big moment. The instructor talks you through take-off.

"The view is just magnificent," says Nierenberg. "And so is the sense

of freedom. As congested as New Jersey is, there is a lot of open

space. You don’t have to follow roads. Sometimes people fly over their

home or go over the Delaware or near Spruce Run and Round Valley

reservoirs." The instructor talks you through basic maneuvers like

medium bank turns, bank climbing, and descending, so you experience

the three "directions" of flight: up/ down; left/right; and forward.

A lesson that’s a little under 20 minutes costs just $49. A full hour

is $109, which Nierenberg says counts towards loggable time for a

license (which requires 40 to 80 hours) if you continue with lessons.

There is no minimum age but there is a minimum height – five feet. "We

get a lot of people who buy flying lessons as gifts because they say

they are ‘tired of giving sweaters,’" says Nierenberg. "It’s something

they will always remember."

The pilot shop, called Plane Toys for Children Big and Small, is on

site at the airport as well as online and offers thousands of

aviation-oriented gifts. "I think it’s the most unique gift shop east

of the Mississippi," says Nierenberg. Items include infant suits,

robes, and bibs with airplanes on them; bomber jackets for children

and adults; wind chimes with a biplane; a weathervane with airplanes;

scarves with airplanes; white pilot scarves; mugs; tie tacs; a

sweatshirt with the Princeton Airport shown on a current aeronautical

chart; "Spirit of St. Louis" CD players and radiophones designed in

vintage Lindbergh style, and more.

Raritan Valley Flying School, Princeton Airport, Route

206 . 609-921-3100, www.princetonairport.com.

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