Category Archives: Gifts

Perfect Prezzies: 58 Days

Welcome to the 2nd installment of Perfect Prezzies.  58 days until Christmas!  I hope these affordable ideas delight and inspire….

FOR MOTHERS

I love this darling necklace from Cambria Cove!  The larger monogrammed charm depicts the mother’s first initial and the “baby” silver charm represents the child’s first initial.  The curly cursive font used on the charms is adorable!  ($80 for chain, $60 for large charm, $35 for baby charm).

ccnecklace

FOR HIM

Men are such a challenge!  For cold-weather-climate guys, what do you think about this cool collapsible shovel ($29.50) to get themselves and others out of snowy situations?

 

ebshovel  

FOR MOMS-TO-BE

My sister introduced me to the Gownie ($49.99) — the cute and chic hospital gown made from 100% cotton!  No more exposing yourself to everyone in the hospital with those horrible “tie up the back” neon green hospital rags.  Why didn’t we think of this long before now?! 

gownie

FOR NEWLYWEDS, COLLEAGUES, TEACHERS OR NEIGHBORS

I just love these Garden of Eden Salt and Pepper Shakers from Jonathan Adler.  They are little cheeky works of art for your ktichen table!

jasalt&pepper

FOR BABY

This blanket ($26) found at Pokka Dots was one of my favorite baby gifts when my daughter was born.  It is so FUZZY and SOFT and makes a perfect stroller blanket.

blanket

FOR HER

Any gal on your list would be thrilled to receive this gorgeous silver Lotus In Bloom Ring ($98) from Sundance

lotusring

So, have you started your shopping yet? 

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY for the Lexy Lu hat, a perfect prezzie for any kid on  your list!

 

Perfect Prezzies: 71 Days

I am starting a new series, Perfect Prezzies, that will run periodically from now until Christmas (71 DAYS AWAY!) to share some fun and affordable holiday gift ideas.  There are some years that I am brimming with inspiration for everyone on my list and other years that I am struggling on Christmas Eve to find ANYTHING for my family, friends, colleagues and neighbors. 

So, I hope this series will give you some motivation to get shopping early so that you can be sipping spiked cider and eating cookies in front of a roaring fire on Christmas Eve, instead of battling traffic and throngs of procrastinators at your local mall!

For Her

I love this delicate and understated bracelet ($95) by Kate Spade.  It is perfect for both work and weekends.  Isn’t she lovely? 

ks

How awesome is this Guess Drop Waist Peacoat ($138) from Nordstrom?  It’s almost an outfit by itself — pair it with black leggings or jeans and head out the door.  I have been waiting for it to go on sale because it would be a perfect present for my 17 year old step-sister.   

 

guesscoat

 

I spotted this glam Nate Berkus Throw ($79.99) over at Matters of Style earlier this week and immediately thought that it would make a terrific Christmas present.  I could design a whole room around this beauty!

 

natethrow

  

For Little Girl

A friend gave baby spark! one of these adorable Lexy Lu hats ($20) for Christmas last year and we wore it all winter.  They are soft and sweet and I love the “whale spout” of grosgrain ribbons!  (For Richmonders, these are available at Rattle & Roll too).

 

lexilu

  

For Him

Aren’t men the hardest to buy for?  My husband, dad and brothers-in-law are always the last ones left on my list.  This masculine, black and white, matted and framed photo of a vintage jaguar ($69.95) from Z Gallerie would make a welcome addition to any man’s office or “man cave.” 

 

jagphoto

For Neighbors or Teacher

I have been eyeing Red Envelope‘s gorgeous oversized candles for a while and think that this Cherry Blossoms Candle ($49.99) would make a beautiful and thoughtful gift.

 

cherryblossomcandle

 

Acacia offers the most amazing sets of tableware.  These Japanese Botanical Bowls ($59.95) are so simple and elegant and could be used for everything from soup to cereal to serving snacks. 

 

bowls

 

For the Dog Lover

We are a family of dog lovers and this fun Buddy Pillow ($88) by Serena and Lily would be perfect for my in-laws who have an affinity for labs and golden retrievers.  It also comes in yellow with a white background and orange with a light blue background.

dogpillow

Go get shopping, friends! 

Oh, and time is running out, so please don’t forget to click on over to enter into the Shades of Light GIVEAWAY to celebrate spark!’s 100th post.

Favorite Wedding Presents

A dear friend of our family is getting married in April!  She just graduated from college and is 22 years old.  She has just begun the process of registering and asked for some advice about the process.

Which prompted me to reflect about my registry and the wedding gifts that I received, now almost 7 years ago!  This post was a stream of consciousness, as I tried to recall quickly, the gifts that I use and love the most.

I am hoping to inspire ideas for wedding guests, as well as prospective brides and grooms, and to also hear from you about your favorite wedding gifts, as a giver or recipient.  Leave a comment and let everyone know!  Here’s my top ten list:

1. Le Creuset 9″ French Oven (aka Dutch Oven). I use this for everything, from boiling pasta, to frying chicken, to soups and spaghetti sauces.  Mine is a since-discontinued pretty bright yellow color and I just love it!

lecreuset2. Tiffany Hampton Candlesticks. These add instant panache to any dining room table.  They sit on mine all year ’round.  I love them so much that they have become my “go to” wedding gift.   

tiffanycandle3. Pasta/Salad Serving Set. We didn’t register for anything like this and when we were given a set (now discontinued from Williams-Sonoma), I almost returned it because it didn’t match anything in our kitchen.  I am so glad that I kept it because we use the heck out of it!  The set is great for salad and pasta.  The shallow bowls are great for just about anything — eating casseroles, rice & beans,  jambalaya, etc.  The set below is from Napa Style.

 

pastaset

4. Antique Accent Table. An aunt and uncle gave us the most gorgeous antique accent table for our wedding similar to those below from 1st Dibs.  It is a one-of-a-kind, priceless and unforgettable gift.

weddingtable

5. Cuisinart Griddler. I actually didn’t get this as a wedding gift, but it’s so registry-ish that I had to include it.  Except for the coffee maker, this is the most-used appliance in our kitchen!  Easily interchangeable plates transform it into either a grill or griddle.  It opens all the way to lay flat too.  It makes a mean (and fast!) grilled cheese.

griddler

6. Three Tier Glass Serving Piece. I use this each time we have guests over and stack cookies, cupcakes, fruit, finger sandwiches, etc.  It is pretty empty too!

glassserver

7. Calphalon Nonstick Pots and Pans. Ok, duh.  I use these everyday and heart them.  They are like old friends to me!  🙂

calphalon

 

8.  Murano Glass. A very sweet cousin brought us four Murano highball glasses back from a vacation in Italy.  They are gorgeous.  These Murano bowls from Uncommon Goods are the only comparable picture that I could find.  I love setting my table with those beauties!

murano

9 & 10. Henckels Twin Cuisine Hallow-Ground Santoku Knife, 7″ & John Boos & Co. Cutting Board. We got a big set of knives and this one is the only one we use!  The easy-to-use knife and the solid cutting board makes chopping a pleasure instead of a chore.

santoku

cuttingboard

This post wouldn’t be complete without the few items that we registered for that sit collecting dust in the cupboards.  We should have passed on the: KitchenAid Mixer (too bulky to keep out on the counter and too bulky to pull out and use!), the Bread Machine, and the Toaster Oven.

Do tell — what gifts do you use the most and what never gets used?  Do you have a favorite wedding gift that you received, or like to give?  Discuss!


Bullseye!

A recent trip to Target introduced me to all of the new Dwell Studio for Target items they are offering this season.  What gorgeous stuff at great prices!

I bought two of these Lattice Decorative Pillows ($24.99 each) for our family room.  The reverse side has a powder blue background with brown lattice and white stiching. 

dwellpillow

I also bought two of these Blue Bird Decorative Pillows ($24.99) to complement the look.  They look great on our brown couches.  

targetbirdpillowIf my Target had these mod brown pillows ($19.99) in stock, I probably would have thrown a couple in the cart too.

dwellbrown

I also love this Peony Decorative Pillow ($24.99):

targetpeoonypillow

And I am digging this woodsy Foliage Pillow (great for fall!) ($19.99).

dwellolive

The Dwell kitchen sets are so lovely and affordable ($19.99).  They would make great hostess gifts.  The sets include two potholders and three tea towels, and come in black and rust.

targetdwell

targetdwellrust

Check out this gorgeous green Garden Pattern Rug ($139.99 for 5×8).  This would look fabulous in an entry hall.

dwellrug

In a similar vein, this Foliage Comforter Set is fun – it reminds me of Marimekko, but only $89.99 for shams and a queen sized comforter! 

dwellbedding

I love this unique black bedskirt with the grosgrain ribbon detailing ($38.48).  Instant modern drama to any room!

dwellbedskirt

Drooling over this adorable Bird in a Tree Duvet Set ($49.99 for twin with a sham, $59.99 for F/Q with two shams) for little girls.

dwellkids

This Upholstered Storage Bench ($199.99) would look great with a tray on top as an impromptu end table, at the foot of a bed or in a play room. 

dwellbench

And this Bath Rug ($24.99) is fab too.

dwellbath

Check out this great Silver Lake Desk – perfect for small spaces – like tucked away in a hallway or a nook in the kitchen ($129.99).

dwelldesk

I hope you are grabbing your car keys and on the way out the door to Target!  Oh, and while you are there, pick up a pair (or two) of the most adorable and comfy PJ pants you can find ($16.99 by Nick & Nora).  I promise you won’t regret it! 

nnpantstargetpantsnnpants1

Thanks to the Hostess with the Mostest

hospitality

I am always in search of beautiful and creative tokens of appreciation for my kind and hospitable hostesses.  Whether its a weekend stay or a dinner party, it always feels good to say thank you with a fabulous present.  I recently sent this Tea Cup Candle from Cambria Cove to my dear friend and very generous hostess with whom I stayed during my business trip to Savannah.   

hospitality1

Another favorite gift of mine is this delicate and tranquil Lotus Fountain from Red Envelope.  It would look terrific anywhere, but would be especially soothing in a bedroom or bathroom (next to a big soaking tub!).  I gave one to my mom and it looks lovely in her greenhouse room surrounded by orchids.

Lately, I am loving all of the tableware from Acacia Catalog, like these Mug and Plate Sets below.  I love the interesting patterns and the non-matchy sets.  I would really enjoy sipping my morning coffee from one of these mugs.  Acacia also carries the cutest dessert plates that come wrapped in a hatbox – they are out of stock right now, but keep in mind, that also makes a terrific gift with a knock-out presentation. 

hospitality2

Va Va Va VOOM!  Check out this flirty apron from Layla Grace with a slimming silhouette – isn’t it awesome?  Almost makes you want to have a dinner party just to sport this sassy smock.  A definite must have for the hostess with the mostest! 

hospitality3

I also love to give cocktail caddies to hostesses who love their libations.  Williams Sonoma makes the most delectable Margarita Mixes.  Their current flavor offerings are lemon-lime, mango and mixed berry.  The holiday margarita collection, which usually features delicious pomegranate and blood orange flavors, is also a wonderful holiday gift. 

hospitality5

hospitality4

My good pal from Telling It Like It Is gave me this amazingly chic Cosmetic Bag from Kate Spade last Christmas.  Mine is a beautiful rich, navy, paisley pattern.  I am loving this cheery yellow for the summer!  It is fully waterproof and holds everything but the kitchen sink, but it is still flat enough to lay across the top of your checked bag.  Makes traveling even more fun!

I also love this idea from friend and an inspiring and fellow blogger Paul Corrie – he suggests wrapping a nice bottle of wine in a luxe dish towel.  You could get creative and wrap it in a silk scarf, or tie it all together with a pretty organza or grosgrain ribbon.  Check out these great tea towels (Al Fresco and Butterfly Mosaic) from Anthropologie:

hospitality6hospitality7A kind gift of appreciation for a hostess does not have to be expensive, in fact, most of these ideas are less than $50.  What are your favorite hostess gifts?  Please leave a comment and share!  

Also, do not forget to click back tomorrow for Favorite Things Friday with a new guest blogger – it’s going to be a good one!