3 Things You Need for Your Winter Escape Vacation

According to our favorite (or least favorite) animal meteorologist, Punxsutawney Phil, we’re going to be facing six more weeks of snow and slush this winter.  But dry your eyes and take heart – a great deal of the rest of the world isn’t dealing with blizzards and sub-zero temperatures.

So instead of lamenting the groundhog’s shadow, you should be planning your great escape.  After all, a week in warmer climes can make the wait till spring just a little more bearable.

Whether you want to show your significant other some love with a lavish getaway for Valentine’s Day, or your whole family has an insatiable craving for some sunshine and sand, there are a few items you’re going to need for a winter escape south:

  1. Swimwear:

For Her:

Obviously, a trip to the beach or even just a quick visit to your hotel’s indoor pool is going to require a statement making swimsuit! Because it is still winter, you needn’t worry about the task of hiding unsightly swimsuit tan lines when you return home. (Chicago winters do call for cashmere, rather than crop tops, unfortunately.)

This gives you the perfect opportunity to choose a stylish and sexy one-piece silhouette from Agent Provocateur’s selection! The Lyssandra Swimsuit comes in three separate colors and has sweetly sheer panels that will allow you to customize how much skin you show! Meanwhile, the Mazzy Swimsuit will provide a gorgeous graphic element to your snapshots in the sunshine with bold lines and color options like the classic Agent Provocateur ‘pink/black’ combo or the newer, brighter ‘popstar’ style in sharp neon blue, pink, and orange.

For Him:

Most fellows may not feel that the ‘statement’ their swimwear makes is incredibly important, but their female companions may think otherwise. Fortunately, Scoop NYC has got men’s swimwear options to leave any female companion (or bystander!) impressed. If you’re into chic simplicity, the Orlebar Brown Bulldog Classic Swim Shorts come in solid white, black, and navy. Meanwhile, if your style is a bit more eclectic Scoop NYC offers a variety of patterns that are guaranteed to turn heads, like the Vilebriquin Octopus Swim Trunks or the Etro Paisley Swim Trunks.

  1. Luxe Luggage

When you are taking your favorite fashion staples several hundred miles away from home, you want them to be perfectly protected. What better way to accomplish this task and add an incredibly sophisticated accessory to your ensemble than to pick up some Rimowa luggage from Barney’s?

Their Topas Stealth line was designed especially for tropical travel, so it Winter Escape 3excels at protecting against heat and humidity while still being very lightweight.  And for a roomy carry-on, we suggest Barney’s own Weekender Bag, that’s large enough for your tablet, some snacks, magazines, and the valuables you don’t want checked.

  1.  Sunglasses

There’s no better feeling than stepping off the plane somewhere warm and sunny and digging your long-abandoned shades out of your bag after months of not needing them.  For your vacation, you may want a new pair to debut.  Head to Glasses Ltd. and check out their huge collection of designer frames from the likes of Chanel, Ray Ban, Tom Ford and many more.  We like these unique, stylish wooden frames from Gold and Wood and these modern aviators from Mykita.

A few sweet staples are all you really need for an easy escape to more welcoming temps this winter. And because your trip may still be weeks away (you’re counting the days), a little pre-trip shopping may be just what you need to endure the wait, and Oak Street has got you cover

Beat the Winter Blues on Oak Street

It is easy to fend off a case of the winter blues during the holidays, when you’re enjoying festive meals and shopping for the perfect surprise present for your spouse.

But it can be a little harder to stay cheerful come early January, when your resolutions are already feeling impossible and there isn’t another holiday to look forward to for at least a month!

Fortunately, Oak Street has just the solution- or, actually, a few solutions- to your winter blues weariness! From delicious dining destinations to soothing spa treatments, there are plenty of ways to keep your spirits up during the long Chicago winter.

Look Forward a Little Bit

Just because it’s dull and dreary outside, that doesn’t mean that you can’t dream of better days! Have you got a vacation planned for the spring? Perhaps you already know that your significant other will be taking you on a romantic getaway somewhere tropical this Valentine’s Day?

It’s never too early to start shopping for great 2015 resort-wear! In fact, winter is actually the perfect time to do so thanks to off-season sales at all of your favorite stores like Kate and Jack Spade, Barney’s New York, Calypso St. Barth, and Jil Sander!

 Why wait? Go On a Mini Vacation

There are a number of hotels on Oak Street that can offer you all of the rest and relaxation that a longer vacation can for less time, money, and mileage if you can only get away from work for a weekend. Stay in and enjoy the view from The Four Seasons. Ease your soul and your eyes with the ‘no-color’ color palette that the rooms at Public Chicago feature.

Settle in next to the fireplace with a good book, a mug of cocoa, and a comfy blanket at the Waldorf Astoria. Whatever mini-vacation destination you choose, rest assured that a local escape weekend of decadent room service, unlimited hot water, spa treatments, and scenic views will be just what you need to get you out of the winter doldrums.

Boost Your Winter Beauty Routine

Whether you’re interested in a full-on makeover or just a massage, the beauty salons and spas at Oak Street won’t let you down! You can get a new do fit for a Vogue model at Marianne Strokirk, or you can just get lost in the 14,000 square foot Elysian Spa and Health Club at Waldorf Astoria.

If you fear your day-to-day schedule is too hectic for a dreamy spa day, don’t. You’ve got no excuse not to pamper yourself with the extended hours at Charles Ifergan Salon, which is recommended by celebs and locals alike.

Beat Those Winter Blues!

There’s no need to be weary so soon in the year, and there’s no need to be wary of taking a little bit of “me” time to make sure you start off 2015 on the right foot.  After a packed holiday season taking care of everyone else in your life, it’s time to take care of yourself now, with the many spas, retail therapies, and mini-vacation destinations that Oak Street Chicago has to offer you.

4 Perfect Presents for Your Valentine

Valentine’s Day seems to be one of the few days of the year it’s acceptable, and even expected, to show our love in a fairly materialistic manner. That might sound shallow at first, but in the words of the great Charles M. Schulz, “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

There’s pressure on men and women alike to pick the perfect Valentine’s Day present for their significant others.  But given that the holiday comes so soon after Christmas, it can be tough to come up with another great idea.

And you want to keep in mind that a Valentine’s Day gift should be a little more romantic in nature – no one wants to unwrap something practical on February 14th!

But the shops on Oak Street have you covered when it comes to choosing a classy, romantic, meaningful present for the special person who has your heart.

Lingerie

Agent Provocateur has got you covered! She’ll be stunning in the Birthday Suit bra, suspenders, and knickers with its silky red material and well-appointed construction. Ladies never fear, though, a well-chosen gift for yourself could also double as a gift for him, if you catch our drift.  And when you stop in, be sure to ask about their “naughty gift” collection if you’re looking to make the night a little spicier.

Something Cozy

Kate Spade and Jack Spade both offer stylish and versatile lines of sweaters and knits to keep your love warm even on the coldest Windy City winter day! For him, consider the Palmer V Neck Sweater in Burgundy to fit the theme of the holiday or the Crawford Crew Neck Fisherman’s Sweater in Navy to suit his classic style. Help her make a statement in the whimsical Balloon Sweater, or supply a little sparkle to with the shimmer turtleneck sweater in light pink.

Something that Sparkles

When in doubt, go for jewelry.  No matter the occasion, you can never go wrong with a beautiful accessory.  For him, stop in to Buccelleti for a pair of unique cufflinks or a beautiful watch with vintage charm.  For her, check out the gorgeous, heart-shaped pendant (very appropriate) from Lester Lampert or the colorful Bahia earrings with blue topaz and pink sapphires at Pomellato.  If you’re unsure of your loved one’s jewelry taste, stick with something classic and simple and you can’t go wrong.

A Delicious Dinner

Treat your special someone to a tantalizing taste-bud experience before the rest of the night’s delights.  Oak Street has a wide variety of high end and highly rated restaurants that strike the perfect note of romantic ambiance and urban glamour.

Cafe Spiaggia, Carmine’s, Lux Bar, Jellyfish and Le Colonial would all make the perfect setting for your V-Day lunch or dinner.  Bonus? If you couldn’t settle on a gift, you could always take your love on a shopping spree after supper.

The bottom line? The memory of an experience lasts much longer than a fancy box of chocolates or a fleeting bouquet of roses. These things make nice additions to a sweet date night, but do your best to give your significant other a present that will last and leaving a lasting impression for many years to come.

8 Distinctive Jewelry Pieces You Can Wear Every Day

Every lady needs a little shimmer in her style; it’s a classic way to take a boring blouse to being brilliantly fashionable in no time at all!

Spending money on really trendy pieces you’ll only wear once, however, stops you from enjoying the full potential of your jewelry. We all need special occasion pieces, but you should also make sure your collection is full of versatile items you can wear every day.

The key is finding ones that you’ll love so much you’ll want to wear them whenever you can.

1. Lester Lampert Pirouette Diamond Necklace

When choosing jewelry for everyday wear, you want to seek out simplicity that makes a statement. That’s precisely what the Pirouette diamond necklace has to offer with its multi-colored chains and delicate design.

It features a unique blend of complexity and simplicity, so this necklace will instantly add aesthetic appeal to anything you’d want to wear during the day- especially a jersey knit top or cashmere cardigan. It’s not too bulky or colorful though, so you can also wear it at night to perk up a pretty party dress with a little sparkle and shine.

2. Alexis Bittar Skinny Tapered Bangle

This will suit you perfectly if you prefer to add a pop of color to your everyday look. Its subtle hue means you can wear it with most of your wardrobe, and its asymmetrical design makes it more visually interesting than your standard bangle bracelet. A glimpse of gold on the inside adds just the right amount of shine, so that you could theoretically wear it for a more formal occasion if you were so inclined.

3. Buccellati Venus Watch

This gorgeous timepiece brings timekeeping and simple stylishness together in one beautiful piece of jewelry. A python strap adds just enough color and texture to keep this watch from being plain Jane, and a combination of white gold and diamonds ensures that your elegant flair will be unforgettably showcased on your wrist day after day.

4. David Yurman Chatelaine Earrings with Black OnyxOnyx Earrings

These earrings allow you to add a little bit of edge to your every day look while still remaining professional and posh. They can be worn alone as statement earrings with a simple suit or together with other interesting pieces and a plain T for a trendier look.

5. Graff’s Diamond Alice Band

This unique piece can take any bun, braid, or blowout to an entirely new level with its sheer sparkle, but its design is still simple enough for everyday wear. It is completely classy on its own, but paired with an inverted French braid bun or even just a second band of a contrasting design it could be instrumental in helping you create an unbelievably unique coif.

6. Harry Winston Traffic Ring

Whether you favor the large or small style, it’s hard to deny that this ring is on trend and on track to becoming your favorite simple Harry Winston Ringstatement ring for every day wear. It’s big enough to suit a bold mood, but neutral enough in design and shade that it can be worn with absolutely anything to absolutely any occasion. That kind of versatility is hard to find.

7. Pomellato Cufflinks

Pomellato offers 6 classic yet distinctive cufflink styles that are a spectacular way to incorporate your own personal pizazz into any suit jacket for work and any button down for casual wear! They are utterly unique in composition and yet they’re not overly trendy; class seems to ooze forth from their every curve.

And remember: the most important thing to consider when choosing your everyday essentials is your individual style. You might not want to opt for super simple pieces if you are really into statement pieces; you might want to pick out some chunky neutral products instead (so that they stand out, but still match all of your outfits).
Whatever you decide to go with, keep it high quality and always pick the jewelry that’s going to be timeless rather than temporarily trendy.

10 Gifts to Have on Hand Just in Case

Your holiday shopping list is already pretty long, but it’s party season-and that means finding the perfect host or hostess gift…again and again…and (if you’re super social) again!

Not to mention, we all have a relative or two that shows up to the familial festivities with an unexpected date. Allowing a new acquaintance to exit your home empty-handed on a gift-giving holiday simply makes a bad impression and that’s the last thing you want!

Not to worry, though, we’ve curated a list of the top ten must-have gifts to have on hand (just in case) to make prepping for surprise celebration attendees and parties easy as can be.

  1. Something Scent-sational

Marilyn Miglin is a brand to die for, and their Goddess of Love gift set is so tasteful. Nobody would ever guess you’d been keeping it on hand as a stand-by, just in case your cousin Matt decided to bring his beautiful, but brand-new, girlfriend to the party after all. It’ll seem like you knew she’d show up all along. Is it more likely you’ll have a gentleman caller this season? Then just pick up the M Sandalwood Everlasting gift set instead!

  1. The Trusty Gift Card

It’s not the most personal stand-by gift, but it’s definitely easy and you know that you don’t need any extra stressors this season. You can get one from Jack Spade and another from Kate Spade to stuff a simple stocking for a surprise guest of either gender. Plus, the minimum spending limit of of $50 and the maximum of $500 on these two gifts cards make staying on budget easy.

For a more unisex gift card option (which is great if you only want to have to buy one) try grabbing one on your way out of a local restaurant. It’s effortless. If you purchase a $100 gift card right now at any of Phil Stefani’s signature restaurants, you’ll receive a $25 BONUS gift card for yourself OR for a secondary stand-by.

  1. A Practical Present

 Namely, anything from We’ll Keep You in Stitches. Choose almost anything in a neutral color and it can double for a men’s or women’s present. Hosts and hostesses will thank you for an extra layer of warmth as they walk out guests later on in the evening, and it’s a safe bet because anything knitted is in fashion this season. Mention you saw We’ll Keep You in Stitches on the web when you go to shop, and you might just get a discount, too.

  1. Party Planning Style

Help your hostess plan her next party in style: Barney’s 2015 Celestial Calendar and Easel is practical but blends in seamlessly with almost any décor. Its refill cards are hand-stamped with a golden sun, moon, and stars, which rest on a polished brass easel. It’s perfect for patriots as well as stylish socialites, because it’s made in the U.S.A.

  1. Light Up Their Night
    Candles

Pick up a Mineral Tealight Holder Set from Calypso St. Barth. The neutral colors and vintage appeal of this set mean that you won’t have wasted any money if you don’t wind up giving it away, after all: it will blend right in with your home’s décor.

  1. Take His Tech to the Next Level

Emporio Armani can show you how. Check out their Tablet Holder in Saffiano Calfskin. It’s on sale right now for a steal at $255!

  1. Light & Scent

When you stop by Barney’s be sure to pick up a few of Diptyque candles.  They come in a wide variety of rich and unique scents.  And don’t worry, with options like Feu de Bois (reminiscent of log cabins and camp fires) and Baies (Black Currant & Rose), you’ll be covered for both ladies & gents.

  1. Pour it On

Check the Tory Burch website for a whole collection of great hostess gifts.  We especially like the beautiful blue and white handpainted, ceramic Spongewear Pitcher.  Your party host will definitely be grateful to have an extra place to put flowers or a decorative way to serve drinsks.

  1. Unisex Accessory

A David Yurman bracelet or two. If you get the men’s Chevron Triple Wrap Bracelet or the Spiritual Bead Bracelet you won’t have to worry about buying a men’s and a women’s just-in-case gift, because they’d look great on ANYONE!

10.  Keep it Classic

A pair of earrings from the Lester Lampert Voilla collection, because they’re simple enough to suit any personality you may come across this holiday season, but striking enough that they’re still unique!

Save yourself some struggle this holiday season, and pick up a handful of these versatile gifts to be your go-to stand-by gifts for anyone you may have left off your list!