Hold Onto Their Hats: Target, to our annoyance, never did cough up that $39 Missoni sweater we â€śorderedâ€ť online. But hope springs eternal that it wonâ€™t be so hard to score one of the new womenâ€™s hats Albertus Swanepoel designed for the big box. Styles worth sprinting through the store for (all $20 each): a perky blue cloche, shown; a faux fur cap; and a color-blocked purple and brown fedora that smacks of â€śBoardwalk Empireâ€ť-era bad guys, in a stylish way.
Clean Steep? Steam, so helpful at removing wrinkles from shirts and powering old locomotives, now can also be used to clean floors. Thatâ€™s the concept behind the Black & Decker Steam Mop ($90), a battery-run, amped-up super-friend of the Swiffer. After a speedy, 15-second warm-up, the lightweight swiveler proved useful for removing dust and grime from both wood and tile floors. One does, however, have to be careful not to stay too long in one dirty, dirty place, because water can pool up a bit if you arenâ€™t vigilant.
Feet Sweetened: Remember those $250 pumps you bought? Theyâ€™re for your feet, the most odorous part of your body. Silver Linings shoe liners ($16 for three), made for the sock-less wearer of shoes, are thin inserts infused with silver ions for the balls of your feet. The metal supposedly removes the bacteria that causes the gym locker smell in stilettos. Sadly, they do not yet come in husband or boyfriend sizes.
Paper Grace: Thank-yous, wedding invites and love letters still seem nicer when theyâ€™re on paper, not on a Twitter feed. Alexandriaâ€™s new Fifteen/Eleven (1511 King St.; 703-548-0018) sells a lot of that most old-school of communicating methods (well, besides fire). In a Victorian house with crisp white walls, letterpress notes (shown, $18) and crafty cards keep company with zigzag gift wrap and polka-dot media boxes.
Blood & Chocolate: The vampire folklore that spawned â€śTwilightâ€ś and â€śTrue Bloodâ€ť can be traced back to Balkan legends and Gothic horror novels, which depict epic battles between good and evil with much vying for virginal maidens. But whether youâ€™re Team Eric, Edward or Vlad, youâ€™ll like biting into Dean & Delucaâ€™s dark chocolate fangs ($15, 3276 M St. NW; 202-342-2500). If they melt all over your face, youâ€™ll just look seasonally spooky.
By Katherine Boyle and Jennifer Barger