By Merilee Kern, ‘The Luxe List’ Executive Editor
Fall is here and National Boss’s Day October 16 is on fast approach. Luckily for you I’ve vetted many gift ideas across multiple categories, with these 13 among my top-rated gifts and gets for the occasion…and season at large.
iStorage diskAshur² Encrypted Hard Drive (www.Amazon.com)
Speaking of “vaults,” I’m a huge fan of iStorage’s range of ultra-secure PIN authenticated hardware encrypted HDD/SSD and USB drives, which are the perfect solution to keep data secure and protected while you travel—and otherwise! The diskAshur² is the ultimate encrypted hard drive for storing precious data, such as family photos and videos of all of your fun fall festivities. Once you set your unique PIN code, everything it contains will be safe from prying eyes. They’re great for storing family and work documents without the fear of the data getting lost or stolen. iStorage’s diskAshur² solid state drives and its USB 3.1 the diskAshur² hard drive each feature Enhanced Dual Generating Encryption (EDGE) technology, making them THE most secure data storage drives available on the market. EDGE™ Security employs built-in physical protection mechanisms designed to defend against external tamper, bypass laser attacks and fault injections. In short, without the PIN, there’s no way in! Plus with the HDD available in capacity options from 500GB to 5TB, there will be plenty of space for all the family’s needs. With software free set up and operation, the diskAshur² HDD is platform/device independent, so it works across all operating systems including all versions of MS Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, Chrome, Thin Clients, Zero Clients and embedded systems. In fact, the drives will work on any device with a USB port.
Ekster 3.0 Parliament Smart Wallet (www.Ekster.com)
After reportedly raising over $1,000,000 in their previous crowd- funding campaign, Ekster, the world’s largest smart wallet brand, has launched their latest edition perfect for discerning men: the Ekster 3.0. This time they have engineered both the slimmest and the first voice-activated smart wallet to date. Owners can now call their wallet, find it on a map or even make use of the widespread Chipolo community to help locate their missing belongings easier than ever before. Battery issues are also no longer a problem due to Ekster’s patented solar-powered tracking solution, which on a full charge can last up to two whole months. These identity theft, RFID- blocking wallets also look extremely handsome. They’re held together by handcrafted premium leather for a luxury look and feel, while the design provides instant card access whenever necessary.
VocoPro DJ Smart Lightshow (www.VocoPro.com)
Singers, home entertaining buffs and DJs alike will love the vivid lightshow displays released by the 5-in-1 Smart Lightshow by VocoPro. It pairs pre-programmed Water Wave and Moonflower effects together with UV, Strobe and Laser light effects just like professional shows, delivering all five lighting effects seamlessly and effortlessly. Even a smartphone speaker can trigger the lights! VocoPro’s new DJ Smart Lightshow is a great choice for parties and home entertainment enthusiasts for those who are ready to spice up their get-togethers. It’s also lightweight and portable so it’s also great for amping up those vacations. It also requires no additional DMX (Digital Multiplexing) used in theatrical lighting industry and it has a unique two-stage sound-activated control, each with nine sound sensitivity levels. This is important because the product’s beat-synchronized light show will work in various volume level environments.
Zippo HeatBank 9s Rechargeable Hand Warmer (www.Zippo.com)
The approaching holidays are to time gather with family and friends and eat, drink and be merry–and as importantly, stay warm. Whether you’re out in the elements watching fall sports, taking hikes, walking the dog or other activities that’ll bring you into the brisk air—or plan to shop for that family member is who is never “warm enough”—The Zippo HeatBank 9s Rechargeable Hand Warmer is a fabulous find. It’s a great heat solution for any outdoor activities, cold-weather commutes or even chilly offices. It has a curved design allowing it to easily fit in and out of pockets, making it a travel companion that’s built to last. It delivers dependable, dual-sided warmth at the press of a button with the convenience of a power bank. You’ll get a run time of nine hours and enjoy six heat settings that deliver gentle warmth of up to 120°F/50°C. The unit is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and is capable of charging any USB-compatible device, including smartphones and tablets—a great bonus! Available in three colors, champagne, black, silver and rose gold, and it also comes with an adjustable lanyard so it can be worn around the neck. The HeatBank 9s rechargeable hand warmer keeps you warm from the office to the woods.
Linkind Aroma Coffee Maker (www.AromaLinkind.com)
If a pour-over coffee maker is more your thing, check out the Aroma Coffee Maker by Linkind—one of the most convenient, portable, durable and precise pour-overs of its kind that helps simplify your routine. Its precise timing water-to-coffee ratio delivers impressive consistency and handcrafted flavor all with the simple touch of a button. It’s compact and has an aesthetically pleasing design, and the reusable extra fine mesh filter and food-grade certified materials help deliver top-quality for every pour. With the Aroma Coffee Maker by Linkind, you can be your own barista and enjoy a cup of fresh and delicious coffee without having to wait in the long lines and deal with the hassle of going out for something as easy as a cup of Joe.
JURA D6 Automatic Coffee Machine (www.ShopJura.com)
Offering a new twist on cappuccino, Jura’s D6 automatic coffee machine easily prepares coffee classics. With the plain text display and ergonomically optimized switch, operation is easy and intuitive. Programming and maintenance are also self-explanatory. A series of advanced innovations results in six specialty coffees prepared to professional barista standard, with the system topping off beverages like cappuccino with temptingly fine, light-as-air milk foam. Its AromaG2 grinder features a perfected cutting angle and preserves the full aroma of the beans when freshly grinding them to the ideal fineness. A Pulse Extraction Process optimizes the extraction time to bring out the full bouquet of the coffee aromas. It also uses CLEARYL water filters to supply perfect water quality for the best possible flavor. They also protect the coffee machine against limescale and remove substances that could impair flavor and aroma (such as heavy metals or chlorine) from the water. To make maximum use of the filter and its capacity, JURA developed the Intelligent Water System. The filter cartridge and coffee machine are wirelessly linked by RFID technology. The filter is detected automatically, so using the filter has never been easier or more reliable. To enhance the JURA experience, this marvelous machine can be used with JURA’s Smart Connect device (sold separately) with Bluetooth communication, making it compatible with JURA’s app: J.O.E. 2.0 (JURA Operating Experience). J.O.E. allows the user to easily operate the machine from a smartphone or tablet.
The Gift Card Vault (www.TheGiftCardVault.com)
Speaking of exciting retail endeavors, next I want to tell you about The Gift Card Vault, which is a great resource for unwanted and recycled e-gift cards and digital goods so they don’t go to waste. The company offers discounted electronic gift cards on your favorite brands and stores—with options ranging from restaurants, shopping, entertainment, groceries and more—giving you access to products and services you are looking for at a great rate. Starbucks, Amazon, Netflix, Albertsons…you’re sure to find what you’re looking for. Of course, every busy shopper knows the benefits of the gift card: it’s an effortless way to wish someone a happy holiday or thank them for a job well done. It allows the recipient to buy what he or she truly wants, and it’s as easy to use as cash. But, sometimes gift cards go unused, so The Gift Card Vault ensures this old merchandise does not get wasted courtesy of a convenient platform consumers can use to save with key retailers. Simply put, businesses and clients sell the company their recycled or unwanted gift cards and The Gift Card Vault then resells them at an affordable price to consumers. Though there are a number of outlets for digital gift cards and services, The Gift Card Vault is known for offering some of the best overall values across its product line on a consistent basis. So this season, enter the vault and save.
William Henry ‘Zurich’ Design Money Clips (www.WilliamHenry.com)
First are the stunningly gorgeous and entirely gift-worthy money clips from William Henry, a luxury jewelry and accessory brand. The company’s Zurich design money clips are stellar for the style-minded. This striking ‘Raven’ design features a hand-forged ‘brain wave’ Damascus frame by Chad Nichols, inlaid with carbon fiber and a blazing red topaz. A beautiful engraving is bright cut against the matte-finished background. The Zurich ‘Panama’ design features hand-forging by Mike Sakmar using an ancient Japanese art used to decorate samurai swords. The inlay is cocobolo wood, punctuated with smoky quartz. Its engraving is also bright cut against the matte-finished background. Only 1,000 pieces of this special design are available. The Zurich ‘Talon’ money clip features a hand-carved sterling silver frame, inlaid with Kingman turquoise and a white topaz gemstone. This exquisite piece is another limited edition with just 250 available. Known for its meticulous use of classic natural materials, precious metals, gemstones, and state-of-the-art alloys, William Henry is a benchmark luxury brand that has an upper echelon following world-wide. Just visit the “Proud Owners” section of its web site to see what entertainment power players like Harrison Ford, Nick Jonas, Jared Leto, Laurence Fishburne, John Varvatos, Luke Bryan, Pierce Brosnan, and Adrien Brody own from the company’s collections. Evan A-list ladies like Cameron Diaz have bought this brand’s baubles.
NOVICA Artisan Fair-Trade Marketplace (www.Novica.com)
If you crave distinctive style, worldly sophistication and enjoy shopping for a cause, then NOVICA—the largest online, fair-trade marketplace featuring beautiful hand-crafted products from all over the world—is for you. Their curated cache of artisans has been hand-selected, with many having overcome amazing odds by selling their goods. For example, the Blue Jasmine Batik Silk Scarf, designed by Java artisan Yuni Kristina, has expanded business into a global marketplace thanks to the help of NOVICA’s team. Originating in Indonesia, batik is a technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to whole cloth, or cloth made using this technique. Kristina hand-stamps the blue patterns on the ivory textile and adds red and black designs in batik. Also noteworthy NOVICA artisans are glass-blowing artists Javier Gutiérrez and Efrén Canteras, who have worked together to preserve Mexico’s blown glass artistry. They work with lead-free, un-tempered and recycled glass that is melted at very high temperatures and formed into beautiful wares like stunning and highly distinctive drinkware and serveware. NOVICA features many other authentic crafts from around the globe and the company has sent more than $89.9 million back to their artisans to date. It’s cause-conscious consumerism at its best.
Dooney & Bourke ‘Caldwell’ Design Handbags (www.Dooney.com)
The Caldwell Collection from Dooney & Bourke exemplifies understated elegance. These chic, structured bags created from python-embossed leather are refined but with a touch of glam courtesy of the gold-plated hardware embellishment. The collection of products has also been treated to repel some moisture, so those spring showers are nary a worry. One option I especially adore from the line is the Caldwell Flynn Handbag, which features rich textures of that python-embossed leather that elevates this fashion-forward bag. Soft pleats and a gold logo round out the look on the exterior, while inside there’s a light twill lining—a bright pop of red juxtaposing my choice of the deep espresso brown option. Aside from its aesthetics, what I adore about this handbag is that it’s extremely roomy, with the main compartment holding an abundant amount while also keeping you organized courtesy of deep-set pockets galore. Another piece that I especially like for when I only need to carry essentials is the Caldwell Zip Clutch. The exotic texture of python is once again artfully imprinted in leather, making this eye-catching clutch an instant outfit changer. Its classic, timeless shape makes this clutch a perfect companion. It can also be used as a coordinating wallet with the Flynn Handbag. For an effortless polish, day or night, Caldwell bags are a great choice for the season and beyond.
Lamo Luxury Slippers (www.LamoFootwear.com)
There’s no more quintessential at-home holiday footwear than a pair of slippers, and here’s a company that’s elevated the art. Founded in 1995, Lamo Footwear launched their authentic sheepskin product range along the Southern California coastline, and have since provided countless people the perfect mix of warmth and comfort both at home and around town. Today, the casual California footwear brand offers a wide range of products that meet total footwear needs, from moccasins to sandals to house shoes and classic sheepskin styles. or at-home coziness I particularly love the Ladies Scuff design, which features a luxurious 100% Australian sheepskin lining. Or choose the ultra-affordable premium faux fur option—the western print is super cute! Two of my favorite designs for guys are the Men’s Scuff and Romeo designs, both part of Lamo’s Luxury Collection. The Men’s Scuff is made with a cow suede upper and premium Australian sheepskin lining that’ll wrap dad’s feet in pure luxury. The Men’s Scuff also features Lamo’s TPR Comfort-Flex outsole for complete comfortability. The Romeo design is also made with a cow suede upper premium Australian sheepskin lining, but also features two elastic panels for easy access into and out of these premium slippers. It also features Lamo’s dual formula outsole for a different, optimized feel.
Fiercely Fem (www.FiercelyFem.com)
If super trendy pop culture designs are your thing, Fiercely Fem is for you. The company’s mission is to encourage and bring awareness to women’s rights and female empowerment through wearable art and vibrant home decor. Every design boasts unique hand-painted art designed by company owner Desirea Calvillo, with each piece being exclusive to Fiercely Fem. One of my fav designs is the ‘The Love Is Love’ Women’s Premium Tank Top derived from the company’s pride-inspired painting. Hypnotic swirls of primary colors make a truly unique take on the pride rainbow. The ‘Wink’ design – Women’s Premium Tank Top combines the iconic female empowerment image of Rosie the Riveter with this empowering message rendered artfully: “A strong woman looks a challenge dead in the eye and gives it a wink.” Indeed. I appreciate that Fiercely Fem is a brand that fuses design with purpose. Their fashion collection is also a celebration of color as its dresses, tees, leggings, skirts, hoodies and home decor are used as blank canvases, decorated with impressive graphic art. This includes colorful swirls, hypnotic prints and powerful illustrations that encourage women to be strong, be themselves, shatter glass ceilings and break gender biases.
Can’t get enough of the beach life, even during the fall and winter months? Me either! That’s why you should dive into Beachly, a San Diego-based company that sends curated boxes of beach-inspired apparel, accessories and lifestyle products every season! The boxes feature up and coming brands from California, Hawaii and around world. This fall, they’ve teamed up with companies including Spirit Jersey and Pirette to create a box inspired by French seashores. Beachly has boxes for both women and men, with each box also funding beach cleanups by Heal the Bay. Each package contains 4 to 5 premium pieces of apparel from the top brands and hottest newcomers that are defining coastal style. Members also receive exclusive access to the company’s members-only online store allowing them to shop for boxes for up to 70 percent off retail price.
As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand analyst, strategist and futurist. As prolific consumer trends, lifestyle and leisure industry voice of authority and tastemaker, Merilee keeps her finger on the pulse of the marketplace in search of new and innovative must-haves and exemplary experiences at all price points, from the affordable to the extreme. The best-of-the-best across all product, service and travel categories—as well as noteworthy marketplace change makers, movers and shakers—are spotlighted in her exclusive cross-media platform that reaches multi-millions each month through several syndication channels: print and online publications as well as broadcast TV and terrestrial radio. Connect with her at www.TheLuxeList.com / Instagram www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReviews / Twitter www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor / Facebook www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList / LinkedIN www.LinkedIn.com/in/MerileeKern.
***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or arranged at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***