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Holiday Gift Guide 2015: For the Guys

Covet Living Holiday Gift Guide 2015: For the Guys

1 – BUFFALO CHECK FLANNEL SHIRT, J.Crew, $79.50.  Show me a boy who doesn’t look good in a red buffalo check and – oh wait.  There’s no such thing.

Buffalo Check

2 – HIGHWAY MATCHES, Jayson Home & Garden, $8.95.  Not that the red Strike-on-box matchboxes aren’t cool, but this is mo betta to look at.  It’s the little things.

Highway Matches

3 – HAND-STAMPED TIE BAR, Lord & Lady Co, $40.  I’ve been told that every man needs a good tie bar… we love this one for its simple, classic design.  Personalize it with your favorite guy’s initials.

Hand stamped tie bar | Covet Living

4 – “CONCERT 1982,” One Kings Lane, $225 – $295.  I feel like I would see this ultra cool framed piece nonchalantly tilted against the wall on the top of the mantle in some handsome, mysterious bachelor’s loft.  But if the guy you’re shopping for doesn’t curate so well for himself, well, now’s your chance to help him out.

Concert 1982 | Covet Living

5 – BLUETOOTH TRACKING TAG, Uncommon Goods, $40.  We count on Uncommon Goods to deliver only the most genius gifts, and this one is no exception.  The rosewood tag comes with a companion app for your phone, so when you lose your keys for the 987th time (you can also attach to your iPad or anything else you always seem to misplace), the app will find ’em for you lickety split.    On the flip, if you lose your phone but have your tracking tag, touch the alert button and voilà.

Bluetooth Tracking Tag

6 – THE BIG BAD BOOK OF BILL MURRAY, Urban Outfitters, $22.95.  Because never has a funnier man ever lived.  Like, ever.

Big Bad Book of Bill Murray

7 – CLARISONIC ALPHA FIT SONIC CLEANSER, Sephora, $189.  We’ll let InStyle tell it to ya: “To get specific, men’s skin generally tends to be thicker than women’s, and has a lower pH, meaning they could be more prone to breakouts. Because of the repeated motions created by shaving, men’s complexions also have a weaker barrier function and are more likely to lose moisture. The Alpha Fit caters to these needs with two targeted settings for both clean-shaven skin as well as full-on Lumbersexual beards, which effectively remove any buildup hiding at the roots of his stubble.”

Clarisonic for Men

8 – BLUE CHAMBRAY SKINNY TIE, Lord & Lady Co via Domino, $64.99.  He’ll be channeling his inner Don Draper with this little ditty.  And we all know panties go flying when Don Draper enters a room.  See how that works out?? #everybodywins

chambray skinny tie

9 – STRIPED WOOL BLANKETS, Green Island, from $198.  Note the classic detailing with the slim stripes and the whipstitch and what-not.  This bad boy ups the cozy and the effortlessly cool factor, big time.  It’s so mountain man!  Rawr.  PS: discovered in Mountain Living Mag.  Thanks, Lumberjacks!

Striped Wool Blankets Go Green Island

10 –  CUSTOM TAILORED DRESS SHIRTS, Indochino, $55 and up.  Before I launched into Interior Design, I worked at med device giant Stryker – a testosterone-filled wonderland where the most handsome, down-to-earth, brilliant and athletic dudes on the planet all work.  And so after awhile, I came to know one universal struggle boys face: their dress shirts NEVER fit right.  Indochino is the anecdote: guys pick a style, send in their measurements and get a custom shirt in the mail.  BANG.

indochino 2

11 – TEAKWOOD & TOBACCO CANDLE, Pommes Frites Candle Co via Lulu & Georgia, $18.  I love the understated packaging of this almost as much as the fact that it’ll keep a dude’s place smelling more like a woodsy wonderland and less like the inside of a jock strap.

Teakwood and Tobacco

12 – MAN CRATES, $19.99 and up.  What’s your guy into – Hunting?  Fishing?  Retro video games?  Grilling?  Beer-making?  Whatever tickles his pickle, they’ve got a crate for that.  Thissun’s fer huntin‘.

Hunting Crate | Covet Living Gift Guide 2015

13 – TED BAKER GROOMING KIT, Dot & Bo, $33.  Hey.  Their cuticles & such need tending to, too.  And in this handsome little travel case?  I mean – who wouldn’t wanna trim their nose hair?

Ted Baker Grooming Kit

14 – MEN’S LOGO SWEATPANTS, Aviator Nation, $114.  I know.  $114 is steep for sweatpants.  I said that too until I tried a pair on, and I now realize they’re worth every. single. penny.  Honest to God the best &^$# sweatpants on the planet.  And actually – think of them as $57, because you know you’re gonna wear them half the time anyway.  Problem solved!  PS sweet LORD does Smith Jarrod’s younger teenage totally legal twin come with ’em?

Aviator Nation

15 – CIGAR CUTTER, El Casco via One Kings Lane, $149.  Function meets beauty.  I feel like this is the male counterpart to our acrylic staplers and giant brassy-handled scissors and such – serves a legit purpose but like a work of art in and of itself.

Cigar Cutter

16 – MALACHITE TUMBLERS, Dwell Studio, $25.  Not that red Solo cups and/or washed-out spaghetti jars don’t make good drinking glasses, but these up the ante. Love that the malachite almost looks like faux bois.  Again – it’s like Dick Whitman’s in the house.

Malachite Tumblers

17 – HUNTINGTON GEAR DUFFEL, Buxton via One Kings Lane, $79.  Found: the perfect carry on / perfect weekender bag, pour lui.

Huntington Duffel

18 – iPHONE PROJECTOR, Jayson Home & Garden, $60.  “Modern technology meets vintage aesthetics… Show friends photos, project music videos at a house party, or watch a movie in bed.”

iPhone Projector

19 – SHINOLA MEN’S WATCHES, from $550.  This pick is brought to you by former boss – a dapper gent with a mild case of Affluenza – but Shinola watches ARE the bomb.  We promise your favorite guy won’t be mad if you get him one this year.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 8.41.23 PM

20 – HOUSE OF CARDS SEASON 1 DVD, Amazon, $14.99.  Be warned, he might watch the whole season in one sitting.  One of the best-acted shows to hit the tube in years. Frank & Claire Underwood somehow artfully manage to seem graceful while being disgraceful.


21 – DNA GENETIC TESTING & ANALYSIS, 23andMe, $199.  This find we can’t take credit for – our favorite pro athlete sent it our way, noting: “…there’s this thing where you swab your saliva and it tells you everything- like who your ancestors are, what you should and shouldn’t eat, if you’re more susceptible to a terminal illness. Everything!”     23 and me Then he followed-up with THIS screen shot from a buddy of his who had purchased it for his mom & grandmother…  I mean.  Single tear.

23 and me

22 – SUPERMAN UNDERPANTS, H&M, $12.99 $5.  Does this one really even need a description?

Superman Scoobs

23 – HANDCRAFTED LEATHER PORTFOLIO CASE No 18, Colonel Littleton, $150.  I purposefully asked my most highfalutin guy friend with the snootiest taste – you know, the one who has everything and is impossible to buy for – what the best gift he’d ever gotten was.  This was his pick – it was a gift from his father that he uses at work every day.  Love.

Colonel Littleton Padfolio

24 – DRIFTWOOD CHARGING STATION, Celadon Home, $79.  I’m always on the fence about cufflinks in the shape of bullets and equally borderline cheesy gifts for guys, but this is actually pretty cool.

Driftwood Charging Station

25 – MOUNTAIN HAUS CANDLE, Haus Interior, $34.  “A blue spruce needle and lavender base enhanced by the notes of cedar wood, patchouli and sandalwood” …because again – anything trumps the aroma of sweaty socks wafting from the direction of the laundry basket.

Mountain Haus Candle

26 – GOLDEN ROLLING HILLS ROAD ARTWORK, Kevin Russ for One Kings Lane, $189 – $369.  It’s not that our favorite fellas can’t decorate on their own, but it’s kinda like picking the restaurant so they don’t have to do all the planning guesswork… a little help never hurts.  We love this 50’s-feeling open road shot of some remote highway out west.

Golden Rolling Hills Rd

27 – NEW APPLE TV, Apple, from $149.  Apparently, it’s now all about the apps. “With the new Apple TV and its powerful new tvOS, developers are creating experiences that will change what you expect from your big screen, making your TV feel as personal as your iPhone or iPad.”  …what they said.

New Apple TV

28 – TEXTURED COTTON SHAWL COLLAR CARDIGAN, J.Crew, $128.  Show me a guy who doesn’t look perfectly rugged and handsome in this modern-day, cozy hipster-version of a Werther’s Original original.  Oh, right.  There’s no such thing. #dilfsweatersorbust

Shawl Collar


Steph and Karrie's Signatures TOGETHER



In the Spotlight: Rab Labs

Late last summer I put together a glittery, holy-hell-I-want-everything-on-there bridal registry for Rent the Runway and – in the process of researching stuff for the list (it’s a tough job) – stumbled on a precious gem of a company called Rab Labs.   That’s their “Kiva Platter” down below at #12:

I’d never seen anything like it, and I could not WAIT to serve up artisanal cheeses and fig spread on that glistening piece of quartz that’s been polished to perfection and tipped in 14K gold.  WHAT.

It also peaked my interest about who in the name of Sam Hill had crafted those beauties…  Did Mother Earth have a glam cousin I didn’t know about??  Uh, close. Enter Anna Rabinowicz – the designer behind Rab Labs.  She creates *the* most exquisite pieces for the home from natural, luxurious materials like agate and crystal…  but they always have a little edge.  And even a little bling (!) which we love. Let’s play Q&A, shall we?

CL: You have a long history of looking to nature for inspiration. How did you make the connection of loving nature, and then coming up with the idea of putting nature into these gorgeous products?

Anna: I’ve always been fascinated by the materiality of nature – the textures and structures, and forms – and also by the behaviors of organisms. This fascination dovetailed with an observation: as our daily experience becomes more dependent on using devices and technology, I believe that we are yearning, consciously or subconsciously, for nature in our lives. By creating objects for the home that are imbued with natural qualities, I am responding to this desire, while incorporating my own inspiration from nature.


CL: You used to design objects like prosthetic knees and devices for cardiac surgery. How did you take the leap from designing these types of devices to what you design now?

Anna: As a product designer, the process of creation is what is essential to me. After that, the object itself is, in essence, immaterial. I have a strong desire to try to do good in the world, and the legacy of a physician father who loved what he did. For me, working on medical devices marries those two together – it’s an homage to my dad, and simultaneously a way to create pieces that are essential to people’s health and wellbeing. I’m still involved in working on orthopedic medical devices.


CL: What was missing in interiors that made you think nature had a place in them?

Anna: I love contemporary design and clean lines in interiors, but I’ve long felt a certain sterility in those kinds of spaces. I believe that natural pieces can be an antidote to this “relentless modernity” – and can provide warmth to interiors. The idea is that the natural pieces bring modern lines into sharp relief, humanizing and highlighting the existing interior space. Natural designs work in a bit of a different way in more traditional interiors; they are less of an antidote, and more of a complement to existing pieces. It is very interesting that the way that RabLabs’ designs are perceived depends completely upon their context: in more traditional settings, the natural pieces provide the missing modernity; in more modern settings, the natural pieces provide a more traditional touch.


CL: Having worked in a very different area before, what advice would you give to someone who is interested in branching out from their current career and pursuing a passion?

Anna: I feel that I spend so many of my hours working – when that work is fueled by passion, it takes on meaning and brings enjoyment. Every time that I’ve tried something new, or put energy into a new effort, or put myself out there by giving a talk or launching a new design, it has invariably resulted in opening up new pathways and possibilities. The transitional period was scary, but I was very glad at the end that I migrated from studying literature (my first degree) to studying design.


CL: Anna, you have two little ones – Izzy and Talia… how do they inspire your work?

Anna: My children are very involved in my designs – they open boxes of prototypes from all over the world, check and measure samples with my calipers, examine my drawings and make comments. Their excitement about certain designs is contagious – and their questions are very telling as well. Often they sit near me and draw their own “designs” while I am working on mine. This blurring of home and work life is an essential part of being a working mother; I want them to see that their mom loves what she does, and for them to feel the excitement that I do in my work.


CL: Where do you hope to see RabLabs in the next 5 years?

Anna: I hope that RabLabs will continue its steady growth, continuing to expand product offerings, and to move into new markets. I’d like our next step to be working with European and Asian markets in a deeper fashion; as the company becomes larger, we are more and more equipped with the knowledge of how to properly do that. Investigating the needs and desires of other cultures in order to design products for them has always been an area of interest of mine.


CL: You’re an entrepreneur, a professor, AND a mom. How do you balance it all??

Anna: I was very fortunate to find a profession that I adore – I am super passionate about being a product designer, and a professor of design. The deeper I get into my career, and the longer that I’ve been a mom (my kids are now 4 and 6), the more that I’m certain that when I am happy and fulfilled in my work, I’m a better mother to my children. I’ve always tried to set up my studio close to home, so that my kids can drop in and examine new prototypes, and spend time with me. I often try out new teaching techniques on them; it’s amazing how much crossover there is between the techniques of teaching young children, and teaching college students!


CL: 5 Things You Cannot Live Without. Go.

1. Delicious cappuccino in the morning – the Lavazza concession at Eataly near Madison Square Park in New York is my favorite
2. The Pilot Razor Point II and the Pentel Sign Pen, both in black – these are the only pens I draw with
3. The softness of my kids’ cheeks when I kiss them (note: this photo isn’t one of Anna’s children, but it *was* the cutest set of cheeks Google had to offer!  Could you die???)
4. Knee socks
5. My Mitutoyo digital calipers – a present from my father; indispensable tool for product designers


CL: The Holidays are right around the corner. What’s your favorite family/holiday tradition?

Anna: We celebrate Chanukkah, and always throw a huge party – it’s our 15th year doing it!   We cook all of the traditional foods of our grandparents – potato latkes, kugel, sufganiyot (tiny jelly doughnuts) and invite our friends from all backgrounds to celebrate with us. We sing songs, light the candles, spin the dreidel – it brings a lot of happiness to our home.

CL: Thanks, Anna! And listen, Campers.  We’ve done our share of gift guides, but if you’re still on the hunt for a truly unique and gorgeous gift, look no further.  We rounded up a few of our favorites from Rab Labs, and they are nothing short of stunning.

1. Lia Bottle Stoppers: For the Hostess // 2. Espera Photo Frames in Gold: For Mom // 3. Cielo Amethyst Lamp: For the New Homeowner // 4. Ita Large Plate: For me, pretty please Santa? // 5. Quadrado Serving Set: For the Newlyweds // 6. Adorado Boxes: For the Bestie

Happy Shopping!  And a huge thanks again to Anna & the Rab Labs Team for chatting with us!