Tango Diva : Travel Stories for Women, by Women

by Stephanie Block

Oprah has her favorite things, and I have my So-Must Holiday Haves, for you or your lesser halves! These hand-picked products run the gamut from family items to adults only, and they just might make those special people on your list smile.

1. For Your Wanna-Be Rocker: Fretlight Teaching Guitar

It’s not too late to be a rock star! Learn to play a mean guitar on a pink Fretlight, the world’s first computer-powered electric teaching guitar that won’t yell at you to practice your chords. The interactive learning system includes lessons and software for all levels of
players. And fine, there are other colors besides pink. The price is $499 at www.fretlight.com

2. For Your Jet Setter: Byblos Humidor and Swarovsky Tee-Shirts

Headed to Byblos Courchevel this winter season? Why not pick up a few goodies at this most posh of French Alpine ski resorts? The signature Humidor is humongously popular with Big Cheesettes and will remind you of evenings spent at the hotel’s Cigar Bar. And Byblos blingy logo tee-shirts emblazoned with real Swarovsky crystals are sure to catch the right attention. Call the trip overseas just part of the present! Because these items are only found in the hotel’s gift shop. Seriously, because sometimes a gift is just a gift, and other times it’s an adventure. Visit www.byblos.com for more information.

3. For Your Play-Hard Lounger: Sweatsedos!

Who wouldn’t want super cool velour loungewear that’s totally customizeable? Just promise me you can do better than, “World’s Best Dad!” on the back of a zip hoodie? Sweatsedo creates custom velour comfortwear personalized with unique embroidery for women, men and
kids. Whether it’s on the slopes, on the couch or at the club,
Sweatsedo is the ultimate outfitter in comfort. Place your holiday order at Sweatsedo.com.

4. For Girls Who Play Tea Party: SALONTEA

Tracy Stern is tea-mistress to the stars! With tea blends, tea accessories, tea-based body products and charitable tea blends that send part of the proceeds to worthy causes, Tracy has really taken tea to the next level. The only thing better than celebritea and charitea (her words—don’t you just love?) is attending one of her events in NYC. I discovered this lass of the glass at Sundance last year where she hostessed her own Tea Lounge. Shop Tracy’s Teas at www.salonteas.com.

5. For the Posh Paper Enthusiast: ShopHeidi

Her slogan, Creating Thoughtful Beauty, perfectly captures the idea behind Heidi, a highly stylized note sets, stationery, journals and wrapping collections. A gifted Diva with a proven eye for patterns, I can tell you right now that not only will you not find this quality of paper at your local drugstore, but any gift adorned with Heidi wrapping paper, or any gift-giver thanked with Heidi cards totally finishes the perfect holiday experience. It’s the bow on the package and the icing on the cake, so to speak. Say thank you, happy holidays, and I’m-super-stylie all at the same time! Click, point and shop at www.shopheidi.com.

6. For the Musical, Blue-Skinned Child: The Blue Man Group Keyboard Experience!

Finally, you can make like Blue Man Group right in the comfort of your own home! They put the “in” back into the concept of interactive toys, demanding full and creative cooperation from the lucky recipient of this unique gift. The Keyboard Experience features sensor technology that allows a kid to create sound just by waving a hand, not just pressing a button. Pre-programmed songs include original Blue Man Group favorites, or your lil’ producer can march to the beat of their own tunes. You must be 8 or older to play, and the Experience costs $75. Check out www.blueman.com for more blue-hued information.

7. For the Doting Grandparents: Apples and Beans Soft Photo Frames

Awww…wook at the wittle fwames! These small pillows that double as picture frames are just as darling as they can be. While everyone has mantles and baby grands filled with hard-edged frames of the family, how many people on your list have these oh-so-soft places of honor that are happy on the bed or couch? Physics is at work here too: the base is filled with sand so it knows to behave and sit upright like a big person so you’ll always have the perfect view of baby. Available in blue or pink, the frame holds a 3.5″ x 3″ photo and cost $18.00 each. Visit www.applesandbeans.com to take another gander at these cutie pies.

8. For the Ultimate Traveler: Cabin Cuddler

The only way to heat up a cold cabin the next time you fly is to take along your Cabin Cuddler™! These handy micro-fleece travel blankets come in a variety of colors as well as their very own matching carry tote. You don’t want to use those recycled old airline blankets that they give you on board, do you? I mean don’t let that feeble plastic wrap fool you—goddess knows what lurks under there. Rather, cuddle yourself up in a Cabin Cuddler™ that’s specially designed for maximum body wrappage in those tiny airline seats. And the big first class ones. So do like I do when shopping for others—pick one up for yourself too for only $34.95 each for adults. Travel to www.cabincuddler.com for more information.

9. For the Woman On-the-Go: Jack Georges Bags and Passport Holders

Let your fingers do the walking to the Tango Diva Boutique! Jack Georges Handmade Originals will make even the longest hauls luxurious with hip passport covers in a rainbow of colors, and dreamy totes for women who have more going on in their lives than just cigarettes and a lipstick. Yes, these bags are for real women who do real things in the cities of the world, women who need their laptops, phones, files, faxes and plans to rule the world. And why not color-code your travels? Vow to use the pink passport cover for European jaunts, blue for Asian getaways, and green for African safaris! Shop right here right now at www.tangodiva.com/boutiquenew

10. For the Sophisticated Woman: Tasaram Map Scarves

With eight cities to choose from, their streets immortalized in silk, buying just one scarf is going to be tough. Featuring some of the world’s most magical cities like Venice and NYC, these luscious scarves are the perfect gift for Mom, Auntie, or your BFF. Feel like a jetsetter and never leave the ground in one of Tasaram’s sophisticated offerings. Not sure how to accessorize? Just click on the website’s scarf tying guide. Have they thought of everything or what? And if cities aren’t your thing, why not indulge in a sumptuous scarf inspired by the colors and textures of Asia? The Himalaya or Taj Scarves might be more to your liking. Prices run from $49-$65. Get hooked at www.mapscarves.com or www.tasaram.com

11. For the Girl Who Has Everything: Customizable Louis Vuitton Designs!

So there I was in Beverly Hills minding my own business at the Vuitton store when I came across an extraordinary piece of information: It is possible to have Louis Vuitton purses and luggage CUSTOM-PAINTED by artist Nick Taylor. He will paint anything on anything—from your initials on a purse to full safari scenes on your steamer trunks. The paint is quite durable and has a varnish finish for maximum posterity.

There is a book of designs at the Beverly Hills store with standard offerings including vibrant and modern stripes, royal crowns, and even your family’s crest should you wish it. Just figure out what design you want and either drop it off at the store or else ship the item to Nick, who will ship it back to you when finished, wherever you are in the world. Just email Nick for more information: papan96@msn.com, or give him a ring at 310.749.8175.

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