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Beauty, art, gifting—all are a matter of finding just the right thing. This year, we’re inviting a few of our favorite tastemakers to share their curated finds for a holiday season filled with perfect picks.

Sasha Plavsic

FOUNDER, ILIA BEAUTY

What’s the best holiday gift you’ve ever received? I’ve received some beautiful gifts over the years, some handmade by my kids. But really the best gift is when we have the opportunity to go away and be in the sun together as a family. We love to travel and often treat each other to a destination, even if it’s a staycation. 

What’s the most unexpected gift you’ve ever received?  The most unexpected gift was having my husband come home early during the holidays. He used to travel several months out of the year. Being together as the holidays approached was special, and never taken for granted. 

Do you have any special holiday traditions? We live in Vancouver now and get to experience the snow again at Christmas in Whistler. We love to go skiing on Christmas day. 

Can you tell us about your holiday beauty look? It’s the time of year that I will wear a little more makeup and a red lip. Super Serum Skin Tint for fresh, glowy skin, mixed with warmer, earthy hues like our Multi-Stick in Dreamer or Color Haze in Waking Up. A perfect pop of highlighter in the shade Decades, our liner in Dusk smudged out for a soft smokey eye, a coat of Limitless Lash Mascara, and a blotted red lip in Heartbeats.

Can you give us a mini holiday guide to the place where you live?  In Vancouver, they have a Christmas train in Stanley Park, which is a must with kids. You drink hot cocoa and eat roasted chestnuts while looking at all the lights lit up in the forest. Grouse Mountain may be open for skiing, and if not they have ice skating. Vancouver is on the water so many nights will have carol boats motoring by in the evening.

What’s on your holiday playlist? Old classics still stand the test of time. Nat King Cole is a fav, and who doesn’t like Michael Bublé. He’s from Vancouver too!

Do you have a favorite holiday dish or recipe?  I was fortunate to be born into a family of chefs—both my uncles owned restaurants. One tip to making gravy is to use the roux from the turkey pan. Include potato, carrot, onion and celery when you are roasting the turkey. When the roast is done you take the veggies from the bottom of the pan, blend in a blender, and use as a base instead of flour. Whatever drippings are left in the pan, bring to a boil on your stovetop. Add a few tablespoons of your roux. Whisk it through, bring to a boil, add some chicken stock, salt, pepper, and a splash of white wine. Add more roux if you would like it thicker, but generally it’s best to have it thinner. You can strain it, but it’s not necessary. Flourless gravy has much more flavor. 

Sasha's Gift Picks

Chelsea Neman Nassib

FOUNDER, TAPPAN COLLECTIVE

What’s the best holiday gift you’ve ever received? I've always cherished the jewelry my husband gifts me. It feels timeless, meaningful, romantic, and, of course, beautiful. Additionally, last year, my mom surprised me with a pair of ultra-soft cashmere pajamas from Naked Cashmere, which are incredibly cozy!

Can you tell us about your holiday beauty look? During the holidays, I prefer a clean eye and a bold, dark lip.

What’s your advice for gifting art? I frequently give the gift of art, as it's my favorite way to show someone how much they mean to me. When selecting a piece, it can be as straightforward as remembering an artist that someone has expressed love for. For instance, when my best friend was getting married, I commissioned a portrait of her and her fiancé by Lola Rose Thompson. On another occasion, I gifted a couple an energy reading by a Tappan artist, Satsuki Shibuya, accompanied by a small painting. When it's a birthday present, I like to browse through art options to find something that reminds me of the person. When they know you thought of them so specifically and personally, and it's something they can keep and be reminded of your bond, art as a gift can be so meaningful.

Is there any special art or decor you bring out for the holidays? During the holidays, I like to create ambiance with light and fire. This can involve placing candlesticks on the table and lighting up the fireplace with real wood.

What’s at the top of your wish list this year? After recently acquiring a sculpture by Vince Palacios, my next wish is to own a painting by Colt Seager.

What is your favorite holiday tradition? I have three brothers and for the holidays we all go up to stay with my parents in Ojai. It’s so lovely to be with family and in nature.

Chelsea's ILIA Picks

Jenni Kayne

FOUNDER, JENNI KAYNE

What’s the best holiday gift you’ve ever received? A few years ago, my husband, Richard, gifted me a vintage silver card box with a horse head on top. It’s so lovely and personal—I couldn’t love it more. 

Do you have any special holiday traditions? We always decorate gingerbread cookies and houses together, and have breakfast for dinner on Christmas Eve, which is one of my favorite family traditions. Beyond that, we always head to Utah as a family to ski!  

Can you tell us about your holiday beauty look? I like to keep my beauty looks simple, but the holidays are a fun time to add pops of color with a red lip or an unexpected eye shadow. I also like relying on hardworking skincare—anything from Oak Essentials is a favorite—to ensure my skin is hydrated and glowing. 

Is there any special art or decor you bring out for the holidays?  We decorate our home every year with lots of greenery and lights. This time of year is so special and I love leaning into the festive look and feel.

Do you have any hosting tips for curating a great holiday gathering? It’s all about the experience, which always comes to life through the details. Florals go a long way, and I always try to draw on my surroundings by bringing in branches and other blooms that feel festive. I also think that smaller touches like personalized cards at every place setting and parting gifts make every guest feel special.  

Can you give us a mini holiday guide to the place where you live? The Brentwood Country Mart is such a special place this time of year. They have lots of family activities to get into the spirit. 

What’s on your holiday playlist? Anything that my sister, Maggie, curates. We also have a Jenni Kayne playlist that the team made, which is perfect for the holidays!  

Do you have a favorite holiday dish or recipe?  I love the baked french toast from my first book, Pacific Natural. It’s always on the menu for breakfast for dinner.

Jenni's ILIA Picks

Caitlin Miyako

FLORAL DESIGNER + CREATIVE

What’s the best holiday gift you’ve ever received? In 2020 my parents gave me a gift card to my local flower shop that I had started going to every month to make myself bouquets. Having that gift card made buying flowers a weekly habit, and ima, my floral design company, slowly became a reality because of it. 

What are you gifting the people on your list this year? I pride myself on being a good gift giver. I have an ongoing “gift ideas” list for everyone in my notes app that I add to throughout the year to make sure everyone gets the perfect gift. Sometimes I go the homemade crafty route, and other times I like to support small businesses and local boutiques. Some of my failsafe gifts that are always crowd pleasers: really good jam, a nice hand soap, woodsy-smelling candles, and, of course, flowers.  

What flowers do you gravitate towards this time of year, and what are your tips for creating holiday flower arrangements? During winter, peonies and sweet peas are in full bloom—both of which smell incredible and are just so beautiful and delicate. For holiday arrangements I love sticking to a monochromatic palette for a really dramatic look. It can also make flower shopping easier if you get overwhelmed by all of the options at your flower market or grocery store. Adding even a handful of bud vase arrangements or some fresh seasonal greens to your holiday table brings everything together. So don’t overthink it!

Do you have any special holiday traditions? I live close to my family, so we always spend the holidays together, and it’s something I’m so thankful for. I also go to Eataly with my partner and we do a massive shopping trip to stock up on fun food gifts and treats to enjoy ourselves. Decorating our home, complete with a real tree and lots of garlands is also a must. Oh, and movie nights with all of the classics (to watch while we eat all of the snacks we bought at Eataly). I also always bake lots of cookies to give to my friends, neighbors, and my vendors at the flower market. 

Can you tell us about your holiday beauty look? My holiday beauty look is just a slight variation of my everyday—skin tint for a glowy base, brow gel for naturally defined and fluffy brows, and mascara, plus extra extra blush and more colors on the lips. I think mauve shades are so beautiful in the winter for that flushed look.

Do you have any hosting tips for curating a great holiday gathering? I’m more of a guest than a host, but my favorite hosts keep the lighting moody and the food flowing. I love any holiday party with a fun theme, pretty flowers, lots of candles, delicious food, and good company. 

Can you give us a mini holiday guide to the place where you live? My favorite question!  Shop for gifts: Broome St General Store (Silverlake) or Burro (Venice) to support a small business, Westfield Century City for a full day of shopping Shop for food: Eataly (you can’t leave without buying panettone!) Experience: Disneyland (cliche? But there is something magical about the park during the holidays)

What’s on your holiday playlist? I grew up listening to my parents’ same holiday CDs every year, and to this day my own playlist has mostly the same songs, with a few additions. But the classics are the best—the holidays are all about nostalgia, and music is a huge part of that. 

Do you have a favorite holiday dish or recipe?  I always love bringing mocktails to holiday parties. I don’t tend to follow a specific recipe but some combination of ginger beer, sparkling water, and cranberry or pomegranate juice is festive and delicious. I also love making rugelach cookies. You can basically customize the filling to be whatever you want, which makes it really fun.

Caitlin's ILIA Picks

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