Knock Their Socks Off

The Italian Job: A Hair Dryer

The One Size Fits All Gift

Cashmere, Leather, and Khakis, Oh My

Pliages: Handbags from Paris

A Men’s Shopping Night, with Beer

Here’s a Dream Boat for Music Lovers

How Do You Wrap a Great Night Out?

Discover the Real Health Benefits of a Spa

Corrections or additions?

This article was prepared for the December 15, 2004

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

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Top Of Page
Knock Their Socks Off

Why would anyone buy Birkenstock socks? There are dozens of well

known hosiery manufacturers in the world, so why Birkenstock? Well,

because no one knows feet like Birkenstock. Their socks fit the

natural contours of your foot, providing cushioning and fit just where

you need it. They accomplish this by using a variety of materials in

specific amounts and locations on the foot to craft the perfect sock.

Since everyone’s needs are different, from cushioning to wicking, from

allergies to circulation, so too are the socks. Birkenstock uses

natural fibers and blends, as well as synthetics to give you happy

feet. By combining either cotton, merino wool (doesn’t itch!),

cashmere, Lycra, nylon, and even recycled plastic bottles (extremely

well cushioned!) together in designs and weaves unique to each model

of sock, your debate will not be how many pairs, but which ones!

So whether you wear Birkenstock footwear or not, these socks create a

supportive, comfortable environment to slide your footwear over. They

are also great to just scoot along your cold, kitchen floor. Available

in a variety of weaves, patterns, and colors to satisfy even the

toughest sock connoisseur, there’s nothing like stockings for a

stocking stuffer!

Steppin’ Birkenstock, 12 Chambers Street, Princeton,

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


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The Italian Job: A Hair Dryer

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. They want it.

Elaine Staats, owner of E.Y. Staats, recommends 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. 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.

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

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The One Size Fits All Gift

‘Here’s a gift that you can close your eyes, give to virtually

anybody, and have them jump up and down when they get it," says Robert

Landau of Landau’s. "You can give it to a man or woman, fat or skinny,

young or old. They’re perfect for everyone."

Now that you’ve ripped your jeans and spilled the contents of your

purse from pulling out your credit card with the velocity of a

speeding bullet, eager to buy 20 of whatever it is, we’ll tell you:

decorative throws from Ireland. "When you’re watching TV or taking a

nap, and you get a little bit cold, you pull it over you," says


The smallest throw is 54" by 45", about lap-robe size, and comes in

Shetland wool, available in 15 different tweedy Irish plaids. Normally

$98, Landau’s sells it for $49, through a special arrangement "with a

mill out in the middle of nowhere in Ireland," says Landau.

The most popular seller is the luxurious 54" by 72" mohair throw,

available in 30 different solids, plaids, and stripes. This throw

typically sells for $198; the Landau’s price is $99.

The 54" by 68" lambswool throw "has a more cashmere-y, finer,

tweedier, horsier feel than the mohair, and is a bit more rugged

looking," says Landau. Just $99, it comes in traditional tartans like

Black Watch, very colorful Scandinavian-type plaids, and a

black/orange/gray (very Princeton).

The 54" by 72" "ultimate throw," a very soft merino wool/cashmere

blend, is marked down for the holidays to $129 from the normal $250

price tag, available in solid red or blue.

Landau tells this story to illustrate how universal a gift these

throws are for anyone and everyone. One Christmas, over 20 years ago,

legendary on-air personality Arthur Godfrey saw a Landau’s ad in the

New Yorker and decided to buy throws for everybody he knew, about

3,000 in all. He categorized his star-studded list of recipients by

deciding on a specific color for those who owned their own plane,

their own yacht, horses, or those who had their own chauffeur, and so

on. "This was a gold mine for us," remembers Landau. "The Lennon

Sisters each got six different color throws – that’s how many

categories they fell into." Significantly, not one throw was returned.

The next year, Godfrey decided on a new item at Landau’s, the cashmere

bathrobe, which he sent to 500 of his best woman friends, including

Mary Tyler Moore. "We shipped them, and about two weeks later they

started coming back," says Landau. "In fact 47 of the 50 came back

with notes like ‘I’ll never use this.’ The point of the story? You can

never have enough throws."

Landau’s of Princeton, 114 Nassau Street, 609-924-3494.

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Cashmere, Leather, and Khakis, Oh My

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.

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Pliages: Handbags from Paris

Thank goodness for men’s pipes. For without them, we would never have

had the ultra-elegant Pliages handbags from Longchamp. What’s the

connection? In 1948 Jean Cassegrain, the founder of Longchamp, set up

his first store in Paris selling tobacco pipes. In a prescient move

Cassegrain had the brilliant idea of making pipes more fashionable by

wrapping leather around them. By 1950 Longchamp began producing small

leather goods.

In 1988 Longchamp opened its first boutique in Paris on the rue

Saint-Honore in the heart of the luxury goods district. The big moment

in handbag history came in 1993 with the launch of the Pliages line, a

masterful marriage of nylon canvas and Russian leather. Philippe

Cassegrain, the president of Longchamp and the founder’s son, toured

the world to promote the bags. Today Longchamp sells more than 400,000

Pliages bags annually around the world in boutiques on Madison Avenue,

in Tokyo, Shanghai, and in Las Vegas at the newly expanded Caesar’s

Palace, among others.

Lightweight, foldable, durable, and fun, Pliage bags come in lots of

great colors – like grape, fuschia, truffle, bamboo, anthracite, ice

blue, and ochre – and all different sizes from clutch bags to totes.

These bags endure season after season by sidestepping fashion trends

and remaining practical and functional but always stylish. The canvas

is water-resistant thanks to its interior PVC coating. Prices range

from $80 to $268.

"Les Pliages" bags are available at Luttmann’s Luggage, 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. Luttmann’s offers women’s handbags,

traditional and contemporary briefcases, 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
A Men’s Shopping Night, with Beer

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),


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Here’s a Dream Boat for Music Lovers

‘The motivation behind Global Village Travels is the desire to provide

a unique travel experience, not just a vacation," says Cherylin

Christian. "When a guest has returned, we like to know that they have

come away with a deeper knowledge and sense of fulfillment."

When Global Village Travels owner Gloria Hobbins, a world traveler and

former event and meeting planner, decided she wanted to develop

musical tours, she turned to Christian, also an event and meeting

planner. But Christian brings a little something extra to the table. A

soprano, Christian has performed with the Westminster Choir College

Jubilee Singers at Carnegie Hall and she has been a member of

Princeton Pro Musica. "I research various artists and build tours and

cruises around them. Today’s guests are discriminating traveler sand

very knowledgeable – they are not only looking for entertainment but

also the opportunity to enjoy active participation."

That vision translates into a truly extraordinary luxury gift for the

music lover – Classical Crossings, a unique travel opportunity

developed and offered exclusively by Global Village Travels. The

inaugural cruise of Classical Crossings will take place aboard

Cunard’s Queen Mary II. The centerpiece of the six-night transatlantic

crossing is a chance to enjoy a private recital and master classes

with internationally-acclaimed soprano Rochelle Ellis.

Ellis, an adjunct assistant professor of voice at Westminster Choir

College of Rider University, has performed as a soloist with

orchestras from Prague to Beijing. She made her New York City Opera

debut in 2002 and made her Carnegie Hall debut performing Bach’s

Cantata 140 and Schubert’s Mass in G with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s

and the Westminster Choir. This past summer, she graced the stage in

Japan with recitals in Osaka and Tokyo.

"Classical Crossings opens a door for the discriminating traveler and

music enthusiast with an experience that is so much more than is

customarily enjoyed at the theater," says Christian. "It offers a rare

opportunity to interact with a world-renowned artist, to get a glimpse

of how an artist prepares and trains for a performance, and to

experience a hands-on element with master classes. No singing

experience is required – just a love of the arts and a sense of


In addition to enjoying the up close and personal interaction with Ms.

Ellis, guests will be able to take advantage of all the creme de la

creme features of the extraordinary Queen Mary II. Prices start at

$1,913.50, and include one-way airfare to England, transfers from

airport to Southampton Pier, and the six-night transatlantic crossing.

The Queen Mary II offers these exclusives – the Canyon Ranch Spa Club;

Cunard Connections, an academic and enrichment program that presents a

fusion of cultural perspectives from New York and London;

Illuminations, the first planetarium at sea; an art collection valued

at over $5 million; the Todd English restuarant; Oxford Discovery, an

enrichment and lecture program presented under the auspices of the

University of Oxford; theatrical performances by the Royal Academy of

Dramatic Arts; and the Queen’s Room, the largest ballroom at sea.

Guests will leave Sunday, June 26, and return Saturday, July 2,

sailing into New York harbor past the Statue of Liberty – right at the

beginning of the Fourth of July weekend.

Classical Crossings is just one example of the personal attention to

detail and distinctive service offered by Global Village Travels.

"With technology today, someone can plan a trip on their own, but we

offer that special hands-on attention that that person may not have

access to," says Christian. For example, Hobbins recently planned a

worldwide tour for a mother and daughter. It turned out that the

daughter had health concerns – so Hobbins found physicians who spoke

English in each country, just in case. Christian herself remembers

traveling to Paris with Hobbins: "I came away from that trip with

Paris a part of my soul."

Global Village Travels, 1-888-445-6742,

Top Of Page
How Do You Wrap a Great Night Out?

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 Gift certificates are the size of a

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

Top Of Page
Discover the Real Health Benefits of a Spa

"Our philosophy is to combine the holistic approach to the skin and

body and our clients’ well-being with cutting edge medical

aesthetics," says Beata Giernasinska, a co-owner of Amber Spa in

Pennington. "It’s a very interesting combination."

Amber Spa is a traditional European spa, with several European staff,

all of whom are licensed in Europe and the U.S. Giernasinska herself

came to the United States from Poland two and a half years ago. She

says that it is important for people to become more aware of the

beneficial health effects of spa treatments.

"Spa treatments can help with anti-aging, lowering blood pressure,

decreasing insulin levels, and skin cancer prevention. A weekly

massage has been proven to lower insulin levels on a permanent basis.

Every facial is anti-aging, and the vitamin C facial is good for skin

cancer prevention. Oxygen facials are very beneficial for anti-aging –

this facial helps bind free radicals, which prevents them from

floating around and causing damage. Our treatments are good for people

on diets, people who have just stopped smoking, or people who have had

medical procedures that created a lot of toxins in the skin."

A gift certificate, available in any denomination, can be used for any

treatment. There are facials including facial peels, oxygen facial,

and oceanic facial. A specialty at Amber Spa is microdermabrasion, a

safe and painless treatment that uses organic micro crystals to break

apart dead cell layers to eliminate signs of sun damage and smooth out

fine lines and wrinkles.

Other treatments include skin waxing; eyelash tinting; massage and

body treatments like the hot stone massage, seventh heaven

aromatherapy massage, and the executive neck and back treatment;

sunless tanning (done with spray as well as manual self-tanning); and

nail care including pedicures, manicures, and gel nails.

The Spa Store carries several different cosmetics lines – including

Yonka and Nuxe (both from France), Skinceuticals, Z’ Digatte, Sigal,

DDF, and MD Skincare.

Giernasinska says that gift certificates are a hit this time of year.

"We always get swamped at the holidays." Gift certificates are

available in any dollar amount or you can purchase a certificate for a

spa package such as a spa facial, half-hour Swedish massage, and spa

pedicure for $120.

For the men on your list there are packages specifically designed for

men such as the Swedish massage and reflexology treatment for $105.

Giernasinska says that Amber Spa has lots of male clients – from small

business owners to men who work from home to Merrill Lynch executives.

"The awareness of spa treatments is growing. It’s not a ladies’ thing

anymore – it’s more of a necessity of investing in yourself," says

Giernasinska. We say, go for it, boss – very metrosexual.

Amber Spa, 16 South Main Street, Pennington,

609-737-8400, Gift certificates may be purchased at

the spa or over the phone.

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