The Ritz-Carlton has just launched a new online retail store, The Shops at Ritz-Carlton, so that you can order all your favorite luxury items for your home. You can order Ritz-Carlton robes, spa products, and linens to make your bedroom feel more like a luxury resort. The shops also carry all the products previously only available in stores at the hotels.
Everything in the store is top-of-the-line luxury merchandise, just like you'd expect to find in a suite at the Ritz-Carlton. An extensive selection of Ritz-Carlton exclusives includes everything you'd find in your hotel suite, as well as Ritz-Carlton branded apparel. Items like the premier double surround pillows and the elegant down comforter would make fantastic luxury wedding gifts. Perhaps the Ritz-Carlton should consider adding a gift registry to their new online store...
In this season of extreme home decorating, everyone can appreciate a lovely flower arrangement. Flora2000 is a high-end flower delivery service offering same-day deliveries to 150 countries, and I'm in love with their bouquets. Even if you've put off your holiday shopping until the last minute, you can still get gorgeous gifts sent out ahead of Santa's sleigh. Whether you're ordering flowers for local delivery or overseas shipment, you'll be amazed by Flora2000's speedy service, and the arrangements are top-of-the-line.
In addition to over 3,000 floral arrangements, Flora2000 offers a wide selection of gourmet gift boxes and chocolates.
First she records a sound on her computer using sound editing software. Next, she takes the picture in the software created by the sound and uses a laser to cut the waveform into her jewelry designs. The pictured wedding bands feature the design of the sound of a couple whispering "I do" into the audio recorder.
Shimizu takes custom orders for these rings, so you and your betrothed can wear your very own words of love to each other. Her Waveform series isn't just for wedding rings -- her portfolio also includes necklaces, brooches, earrings, and bracelets. This is exactly the kind of thing that makes a bride-to-be drool -- it is an incredibly romantic idea. If you've already got the perfect wedding bands, perhaps a Waveform bracelet would make a good anniversary gift. Contact designer Sakurako Shimizu at her website for more information.
A spokesman for top Italian designer Giovanni Bosco has confirmed that President-Elect Barack Obama is looking to purchase a $30,000 Harmony ring made of rhodium and encrusted with diamonds as a thank you gift to his wife Michelle. We expect the future First Lady to receive the ring in time for her husband's January inauguration ceremony. The gift is a thank you for her support throughout the last two years of campaigning.
One of the world's rarest and most precious metals, only about 25 tons of rhodium are mined each year, setting the price at over $7,660 per ounce -- or about ten times the cost of gold. The ring may be uncharacteristically extravagant for Mrs. Obama, but we're sure she'll find a way to wear it with all her usual grace and confidence.
UPDATE: Apparently, the veracity of the story is in limbo. Obama's team is flatly denying the existence of the gift, and the purported jeweler has clammed up, refusing to comment at all. Is this just an attempt to paint the soon-to-be First Couple as out-of-touch with the "common American"? Or is it just a silly rumor?
I may have parted with more than I could afford at the time, but it was money well spent. Years later, everything I bought from Ms. Polin's studio, SoLace, is still holding up marvelously. The silk that she uses is extremely lightweight, but also very strong and sturdy, so these clothes are really an investment.
Most of her designs are made from a marbled fabric, which she dyes herself in her studio, making every piece one of a kind. She also marbles leather for accessories like wallets, photo albums, and various types of cases. Clothing styles are available for both men and women, and Ms. Polin has been known to take custom orders. You can browse and buy on the SoLace website, or catch her at a craft fair or in her studio in Elkton, Virginia, where you'll find an even better selection than what you see on her website.
I was wearing the Dangerous Diva shoes pictured here. They're part of a new line of footwear from Crocs called YOU by crocs. They're just as sexy and fashionable as any other date night shoe, but they really live up to the Crocs name in comfort and utility.
The footbed is leather-lined, but underneath the logo is a pad of croslite™ material -- the same stuff all the original Crocs are made of -- and the soles have a non-slip pad on the ball of the foot that kept me steady on my feet, even on wet ground with 3.5-inch heels. After a whole day on my feet in my Dangerous Diva kicks, my feet were still comfortable when I finally slipped out of the shoes at the end of the night. That's not because I'm used to heels like this, either. In fact, my standard footwear is one of three other pairs of classic Crocs (I have these in purple, these in pink and brown, and these in blue and brown) -- all flats -- so I can honestly recommend the new YOU by crocs line to anyone and everyone, even ladies who normally prefer flats.
All YOU by crocs shoes come in classic colors like black, brown, and gray, but they wouldn't be Crocs if you couldn't find a few pairs in orange, pink, and purple. Check out the gallery below for some of my favorite styles.
Gallery: YOU by crocs
The resort itself is made up of a few dozen oceanfront cottages along the most sparkling blue water you'll ever see. The Pompano has all the standard resort amenities, including a private beach, pools, game and fitness center, spa, and water excursions, but by far the greatest amenity is its dining room. Your breakfast and dinner each day are included in the price of your stay, and the food easily competes with most of the finest restaurants in America. The dress code is "smart-casual," meaning collared shirts for men and no jeans, t-shirts, or sandals. You will have your choice of three or four different items per course each evening on the resort's rotating five-course dinner menu. There are plenty of restaurants nearby if you choose to dine out, but why would you?
The staff is the friendliest I've ever encountered on any of my travels. Merv, the bartender, makes the best rum swizzle on the island -- it's a Bermudian staple.
Even though Bermuda is due east of the Carolinas, its climate is much nicer, tempered by the gulf stream. It can get uncomfortably hot and humid in the summer months, but spring and fall are lovely. Even in winter, temperatures rarely dip below the mid-50's, and the water is usually warm enough for a swim.
It's a tiny island -- only a few miles long -- but there's so much to do. Don't let Bermuda just be a short stop on your next cruise, like so many tourists do. This island is ideal for a nice long vacation, and the Pompano is the perfect place to spend that time.
The estimated average annual cost of living in an assisted living facility starts above $30,000, not including the entry fee that could be over $100,000. Retirement communities that don't offer health care programs may have lower rent, but the waiting list can be long and the entry fees much steeper.
Some savvy seniors have put their savings into a much more lively retirement, like 89-year-old Beatrice Muller, who has spent the last nine years living on the luxury cruise ship RMS Queen Elizabeth 2. There are always physicians on the ship in case of a medical emergency, Muller gets all the food she can eat -- it's much better than nursing home cafeteria slop -- and she's seeing the world and meeting new people all the time. According to Muller, she pays about $7,000 a month, which makes this retirement cost about the same as, or even cheaper than, many high-end retirement communities.
The market is catching on, and now there are whole cruise ships dedicated to full-time residents. To purchase a condo for year-round residency on the Magellan will cost anywhere from $4 - $18 million, but fractional ownership (like time-shares) is available as well, starting under $200,000 for two-week ownership. This ship has 300 ports of call in 150 countries, and features luxury amenities like four fine dining restaurants, an observatory, tennis courts, swimming pools, and golf. Construction is due to be completed on this ship in mid-2010, but you can buy your condo now.
Sawyer's art is called mokume. Taken from the ancient Japanese art of folding metal for swords, Sawyer uses metal folding to create beautiful, unique pieces of jewelry. He uses several different types of metals in each piece to create a romantic, swirling design that is as unique as a fingerprint.
Sawyer works primarily in golds, using 14K yellow, white, and rose gold, but also works with silver, copper, palladium, and other metals to produce the wide array of colors in his palette. Many of his designs call up the image of tree bark, and with a hint of gray green color, these rings have a very earthy look.
Sawyer showcases his work at craft and jewelry shows all over the country, and many retailers sell his pieces. To find a dealer near you, click here.
Gallery: George Sawyer Rings