Goldie Luxe:Â This weekâ€™s twist in the ongoing global financial meltdown led central banks to funnel cash to European countries in need. Quick, friends! Grab the euros! Onward, to the Champs-Ă‰lysĂ©es! Those reaping the rewards of the influx should invest in Guerlain Ă‰crin 4 Couleurs Eye Shadow Palette ($59, Neimanmarcus.com). The deep shades will keep eyes smoky until the next financial collapse.
Sweater Equity: You can warm up your home in many ways â€” by cranking up the radiators, piling blankets on the bed or adopting a very affectionate sheepdog. Florâ€™s latest carpet tiles, Just Plain Folk ($15 each, Flor.com), bring the same cozy effect to what lies beneath your feet. The nylon cable-knit patterned squares can be mixed with other colorful tiles, much the same way youâ€™d mix your fuzzy house slippers with yoga pants.
SavorÂ & Save:Â As if gifts werenâ€™t expensive enough, holidays require a well-stocked kitchen and buckets of food. So, Aldi â€” the European, low-price premium grocery store (think Trader Joeâ€™s continental cousin) â€” opens its first D.C. store (901 17th St. NE) just in time. The 9,000-plus-outlet chain specializes in imported foods and sells popular name brands at up to 50 percent off. Bargains include Stonemillâ€™s vanilla extract ($2), Carlini virgin olive oil ($3.50) and Aldiâ€™s line of rich German chocolate, Moser Roth ($2).
Gallic Bred: Coastal things that look hipper in France include villas, bikinis and obscure Parisian actresses. St. James, another nicely nautical Gallic star, manufactures sexy â€” schoolgirly knit dresses ($260); a quilted, belted parka ($515); and cardigans ($440) thatâ€™d stand up to chilly nights in Normandy. The brand just arrived at Hysteria (125 S. Fairfax St., Alexandria; 703-548-1615).
Meow Manse: Mister whiskers, per usual, is not amused. You took away his favorite lair, your suitcase, and gave him Loyal Luxeâ€™s cardboard teepee ($24, Velocityartanddesign.com) instead. The company, which also makes a feline cabin ($24) and a cat-sized faux bearskin rug ($30, both also at Velocity), seems to traffick in rustic-chic goods to please stylish pet owners. But thereâ€™s no telling whether Kitty will retaliate by gifting you a mouse this holiday.