Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tis the Season...To Get Shopping!

I'm going shopping in about an hour.  I'm planning on hitting up Crate&Barrell, Pottery Barn, and Bed, Bath & Beyond.  These are some of my favorite places to browse for Christmas gifts and inspiration.  Normally, I would avoid Pottery Barn and Crate&Barrell because so much of their stuff is too expensive to give as gifts (look, I'm not independently wealthy yet, so it's a little high for my budget and my list of twenty five ppl I buy for annually).  But something magical happens every year at Christmas.  These lovely stores have an influx of relatively reasonably priced items.  Don't believe me?  Check it out:

$15 & Under

PB: Silver Plated Engravable Luggage Tags, $12
  Silver-Plated Engravable Luggage Tag, Monogrammable, Black

PB: Doorknob Wine Stoppers (don't forget the wine!), $10
  Doorknob Bottle Stoppers

PB: Mini Silver-Plated Jewelry Dish, $12
  Silver-Plated Nesting Bowls

C&B: Snowflake Trivet or  Napkin Holder (I'm buying myself this napkin holder this afternoon!), $13

 C&B: "Joy" Dishtowels, $6/each


C&B: Set of 3 Snowman Handtowels, $10

C&B: Set of 4 Snowflake Napkin Rings, $12


Up to $30

PB: Classic Mini Amplifier, $26
iPod#0174; Speakers

PB: Ceramic Bird Canister, $24 (ok, so this is suppose to be a bathroom canister, but really it could go anywhere!)
Bird Soap Dish

PB: Bird Jewelry Dish, $19
Bird Ceramic Jewelry Dish, White

PB: Glass Pedestal, $29
Glass Pedestal

 C&B: Stella Bowl, $17
C&B:  Set of 3 Snowflake Nesting Bowls, $17

C&B: "Merrie" 12" Pillow, $25

C&B: "Alpine Ivory" Pilliow, $27 (which I am also buying for myself today!)


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gifting 101...

I love to shop.  I don't care who for.  In fact, I probably have more fun buying for others than for myself, because when I see something Pretty!, I know that I like it.  And I want to share it.  And see if other ppl like it too.  So I buy it, and stick it in my guestroom closet, which holds my hoard of pre-purchased gifts.  At any given date, there is at least one advanced purchase Christmas gift in there.  Yes, even in January (hellooo!  After Christmas sales??  Christmas decor I can gift next year super cheap???).  In fact, most Christmases, I have a relatively short list of ppl left to buy for.  But that's ok, bc I always try to find friends who hate shopping and go along with them!

Those friends are the topic of this post.  They hate to shop (?!?!?!?).  They never have any idea what to get anyone.  And that's fine.  Bc I have perfected the art of gifting, haha.  And I have a "backup" shopping list of generic gifts (easily customizable to your recipient) that are my "go-to's" when I just can't seem to find the right thing for someone.  This does not make a gift any less genuine in my opinion.  I only go to the backup list once I have exhausted all my other options.  So, in a way, *more* thought and effort has gone into your gift, bc I've been thinking about you all season long as I've been in all the stores and online, but I've just deemed everything I've found not good enough for you, and am giving you the gift of selfishness!  You get to pick out whatever you want for yourself, and I'll buy it or get you a gift card for it!

I'll tack on a list at the bottom of this post of gifts that are the backups to my backups, and I try to only use if (a) I know a person specifically wants it or (b) I literally have no time left.

So... what should you get ppl???

*Tip*  If it can be done, get these things monogrammed.  So classy, and instant personalization.  Love it.

- Stationery.  This is almost always my first thought.  Mainly bc I  love stationery so much.  Ironically, I'm super picky about it though, and usually won't like what someone else gets me.  Bummer.  But there is just so much of it, that you are bound to find something that suits your needs.  Check a local bookstore, specialty gift store, Papyrus (*swoon*), or Crane for some starting ideas.  My favorite ideas are getting names/initials on it to personalize it, or buying blanks and making my own from stamps/ribbon/glitter/etc. or printing it off my computer (this is usually the cheapest option).

- Wine stoppers.  Monogrammed, with a special accent on top that is reminiscent of their hobbies, seasonal, crystal bobbles, they all look good!  Make sure to get a bottle of wine to go with it!  And maybe even...

- Lolita Glasses.  These are cute bc you can pick one that is event-specific or profession-specific, or just random and fun.  Also, they aren't just for drinkers.  I use mine to hold jewelry.

 - Luggage Tags.  Again, monogrammed.  Don't put the address on them, though.  Let them decide what personal info to include.  You can find silver plated ones relatively inexpensive.  Leather looks nice too.  For kids, fun shapes and animal designs are available.  This is especially good if you know they are planning to travel sometime soon, or the recipient is a business professional.

- Business Card Case.  Speaking of business professionals... If they don't have one, they might need one.

-  A Game.  It's often unexpected, but for the right person, it's awesome bc you can break it out and play it instantly!  Just make sure (covertly) they don't already have it...

- Something Designer.  Is that vague enough?  What I mean by this is that I go into stores that are out of the price range I'm shooting for, and browse their clearance section, if they have one.  Also, outlet stores like Coach Outlet, Off 5th, Nordstrom Rack, and stores like TJ Maxx, Ross, Marshall's, and Big Lots are great places to find discounted designer items.  It can be clothes, jewelry, home decor- it usually doesn't matter.  If it's designer, ppl tend to like it... ha!

- Books.  I try to only get these if they are novelties, on someone's wishlist (which you should always check before buying for someone if they have one, bc not only goes it give you great backup options if you don't want to start out buying from it, but an insight into what that person is in to, etc.), or something that I loved, want to share, and really think the person will enjoy.

*Tip*  Interesting books that your recipient may not have or have even thought abt getting, are biographies on their favorite celebrities.  Most ppl think of biographies as boring in general, but when it's about someone they already have an interest in, it can be a great gift!  Here are a few examples of ppl I've purchased biographies on recently... Emily Post, Grace Kelly, even Perez Hilton (ok, it wasn't a bio as much as a book on gossip by him, but close enough, haha!)

*Tip*  My new favorite place to find random gifts is blogs.  There are a billion blogs devoted to fashion, decor, shopping, style, gadgets, etc.  Start with some of my posted favorite links, and then follow the favorites on blogs that you like.  I have found the neatest gift for one of my besties this year from a blog, but obviously I can't reveal it bc she reads this (I think?).

Backups to My Backups

- Giftcards.   These are the most hypocritical thing on this list.  Bc the truth is, I love getting gift cards.  But then again, I am hard to shop for, bc I am *uber* picky.  So I'd rather get a giftcard than something that I *will* return.  That's right, I'm "one of those ppl".  I return gifts.  But only if I don't think you'll notice.  I also, gasp, re-gift.  But never in the same social circle.  That's just tacky.

*Tip* - When buying giftcards, most ppl at least try to go to a store that they know the person likes.  In my opinion- this is a bad move.  Visa giftcards are waaaaay better.  They are so much more versatile, and you never know what that person *really* wants.  Yeah I love Crate & Barrel, but unless you're giving me a $100+ giftcard, what am I gonna get there?  (Answer- Christmas gifts/stocking stuffers for other ppl...)

- Movie Passes.  This is pretty much the same as giftcards, but ppl often forget abt them as an option, so they get their own category!  Although be sure to check that the theater you bought the passes for actually exists where the recipient lives... This can be a problem if you're buying gifts in a small town... Mom!   ;)

- CDs/DVDs.  I literally never buy this unless someone asks for it/has it on a wishlist.  

- Picture Frames.  You should probably not get someone a picture frame unless you've been in/seen pictures of the interior of their house.  I can't tell you how many picture frames I have regifted bc I literally have nowhere for them.  Include a gift receipt if you go this route.  A nice personal touch is to include a pic of you and the recipient in the frame, but seriously- make sure it's a good picture.  Or a picture of their new baby, pet, group of friends, family, etc.

- Bath products/Perfumes/Candels/Anything Scented Really...  Ok, for this to be a good gift, the person probably should have asked for it/wishlisted it.  Unless you know them super well, this gift has a high chance of bombing.  Even the "most popular" scents are disliked by some ppl.  And don't forget, it may have an ingredient they are allergic to... I've seen it happen...

- Bouquets.  It can be flowers, fruit, candy, balloons.  I actually prefer to make my own so that they are more personal.  Here's a picture of the candy bouquet I made for my hubby's birthday this year.  Of course I attached a balloon to the top so that everyone he worked with would notice, haha!

So there is my list... what are your gifting go-to's??

Monday, November 22, 2010

My (Newest) Favorite Things...

Just had to take a moment to share some of my new favorite things from my new favorite website, Supermarkethq.com:

Love!  Porcelain Flower Earrings:
Khao-Lak Post Earrings With Porcelain Flowers from MaaPstudio 

A New Twist on the Engagement Ring...

Diamond Sterling Silver Ring - 2mm from byAMT 

Ophelia Necklace... Swoon

 Apollo Necklace
 apollo from Elephantine 

 Stardust Necklace (only $21!!!)
 Stardust from edor

Jacks Earrings- seriously- j'adore.
 jacks earrings - antique gold from mikinora

Star Studs
 Shimmer Star Studs from Emily Elizabeth Jewelry

 tabula rasa
 tabula rasa in gold from Elephantine

 Vintage Czech Rose Bead Necklace
 Vintage Czech Rose Bead Necklace Gold from Diament Jewelry

Featherweight Necklace
Featherweight Necklace in 14k Goldfill from Anne Kiel Jewelry

All of these are acceptable Christmas gifts, ha!  
You guys should be so thankful; I am really making shopping for me easy this year....    ;)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christmas Party!

1.  I had to repost just so that pic of Jessica Simpson wouldn't be the first thing I saw when I opened my blog.
2. It has been so, so long since I've posted.  Someday I really will be more consistent, I promise!
3. I am *ridiculously* excited about a holiday party I am planning for Dec. 18th.  I made all the invitations tonight, and now I just need to get the rest of the addresses and I'll be sending them out Monday, hopefully!

Here's a sneak peak at the invites:

Do you like???

And of course, I am using my embosser for the return address on the envelopes.  I LOVE my embosser.  Nothing makes me feel more grown-up and fancy than using the embosser.  Just *love*.  A great Christmas gift for me would be a $25.00 gift card to Williams Sonoma, bc that's how much their embosser plates cost and I can't get enough of them!  I've got a "Happy Holidays" stamp w/a snowflake and then our monogram with our address.  Have I mentioned how much I love it??  You can stamp envelopes or seals or whatever you can fit in there, ha!

Ok, moving on.

I'm making a lot of Christmas gifts this year in an effort to save money.  Keep your fingers crossed, ha.  Most of them are going to be time-intensive and involve hand-sewing.  Sigh.  I hand sewed the stockings I made for my husband and I and our dogs.  So I'm pretty decent at it.  It just takes forever.  Fortunately, I'm done with exams as of Dec. 10th, and I won't need these gifts done for two weeks after that, so I think I can do it.  Again, keep your fingers crossed for me.

Alright, I'm out for now.  I really really will be back soon, I swear!!!

Ok, I Said I'd Get to It...


What was she thinking?!?
Just really, what in the world. 
You know she paid someone to pick out this outfit for her.
What in the freaking world.

After these disasters,

...you'd think she'd have fired this dim-witted stylist she's using, but no.  Stick with 'em and continue to look tragic. 

Just sad.

This is so ridiculously unflattering.  It completely rounds her out.  Trying to show off the legs bc they are still in good shape?  I get that.  Making yourself look fatter by wearing a scoop neck dress?  I don't get that.


The way the slits in the sleeves fall, they even accentuate the roundness.

The skirt has no shape and doesn't do ANYTHING for her. And the way the lines of the top go out- she looks so much bigger unnecessarily!  Whatever happen to highlighting the girls??? Did she even wear a bra?  I feel like it's "Where's Waldo" when it comes to her waist.

I don't care if she's gained a little weight- she still has a freaking figure and her stylist should know that!  Even if she's hiding a baby bump, there are MUCH more tasteful ways of doing that!  Just, AHHH!

Seriously.  Just what was she thinking???