Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Gift baskets for co-workers.
Hope you are having a relaxing holiday week and Happy New Year!

I made these gift baskets for co-workers last week with wooden baskets from the Container Store, tangerines from our tree, and little bags of miniature cookies and peppermint bark. The peppermint bark was especially good - the recipe is Molly's from Orangette. The tags are from every jot and tittle.

Cheers - See you next week!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kid Stuff

While I don't have kids myself, I'm always trying to find cool and useful gifts for friends who do, so I don't think I'm quite the last person to hear about this site, though I might be. It's called Giggle and from now on, it will be my go to for kid-centric gifts. All of these items are available on Giggle - along with what appears to be the full line from Dwell. (I just love that transportation print!)

Clockwise from top left:
step stool - $90.00
baby book - $70.00
big pencils - $9.00
butterfly plate - $12.00
dollhouse - $125.00
French terry dress - $34.99
Elephant mobile - $30.00
red t-strap shoes - $38.00
palette plate - $30.00

All photos via

New L.A.M.B. Shoes

My visits to the Nordstrom Rack are pretty few and far between - but on my two most recent trips I have to admit I've gotten pretty lucky. Last time I lucked into a Tory Burch treasure trove, and bought a tunic that I've worn almost literally to death. I always go around the holidays to pick up ties and other "guy gifts" for my dad and husband, and today I couldn't resist checking out the shoe section. Lo and behold I found these L.A.M.B. Davin pumps, regularly priced around $300, for about 50% off. The best part was when I walked up to the register, they were even $50. less than they were marked. Don't you love it when that happens??

great gift tags and more



I love these printed paper tags and labels from the Etsy shop every jot and tittle I even custom ordered some of these little red number tags (up to 50) to hand out for our gift exchange at our Pozole Party this year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rhodia Notebooks

Does anyone else remember when you could get those Five Star notebooks with the thick paper and nice sharp lines? I'm not fastidious about most things, but I like a good notebook, and I haven't been able to find one of those in about ten years. Since that time I've mostly switched to the computer, but for the occasional list or note, I really like these Rhodia notebooks. Made in France, they're a little more expensive than the norm and not super easy to find (locally they carry them at Warwicks in La Jolla) but they can easily be ordered online. I first discovered them via the shop at Francis Ford Coppola's winery where he sells his favorite things. (I also discovered Amedei chocolate at the same time - that Francis has good taste as it turns out.)
Just the other day while browsing for xmas gifts online, I noticed that Vickerey carries a huge selection - maybe even the full line. I especially like this box, with four notebooks of different sizes and two pencils, all for $16.00. If you've got a design geek, list fanatic or doodler on your gift list, this may be just the thing!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

That Winter Glow

summer glow moisturizer

If you're like me, you're getting pretty ghostly pale about this time of year. Even the little bit of color I had from walking the dogs or sitting around in the back yard has vanished - leaving me feeling a little pasty. Self tanner can be a little labor intensive, not to mention smelly, but this product goes on easy (just like an ordinary moisturizer) and gives just a little tiny bit of glow that lasts a day or two before it needs to be reapplied. It's low maintenance, low commitment, inexpensive, it won't turn you orange, it smells GOOD, and it even has SPF 20 in it should you happen to need it. This time of year, you probably won't - but it's still good to know it's there!

Available here and at better drugstores everywhere.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Whitney's New Show and Fashion Line

Those of you who care about these things probably already know that Whitney Port is getting her own show on MTV starting at the end of the month, called "The City."* The Hills spinoff will focus on Whitney's move to NYC for a new job at Diane Von Furstenberg and a new boyfriend who appears to be a ringer for Justin Bobby - in looks at least - hopefully not in personality. I will watch because I like Whitney and I like DVF, and I'm always curious about what the kids are doing these days - but I have to say, I'm a little puzzled by what she's wearing and designing right now. Here are some of the designs from her new collection, Whitney Eve:
I'm all for irony in fashion and I know the 80's are back - but for me these fabrics are a little too Golden Girls. I'm just not digging it. Here she is in a couple of recent outfits:
I'm not going to pretend to be the Fug Girls and break these down for you, but if I did I don't think I'd know where to start. On the other hand. I LOVE this...
The shoes are especially fetching. At least she's taking some chances though, right? Lauren Conrad also has a fashion line, and out of the entire collection of simple jersey dresses, I saw only one that I would consider smashing - and that may have more to do with the model's body than the dress itself. Still, I love the slight grecian flair, and the deep indigo blue color. I also can't help but notice though that the model is obviously intended to look like Lauren. A little weird, no?
lauren blue dress.
* Brody Jenner also has his own new show coming out called "Bromance" - something like Paris Hilton's My New BFF, but for dudes - to replace Spencer Pratt's vacancy in his "entourage." Not so sure about that one...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Getting in the Spirit

For the past few years, I've been quite the grinch about Christmas. The decorations have seemed like a hassle, and the baking a chore - but this year is different. We're throwing two parties, and I have a looong list of cookies to try. I'm shopping to be sure (mostly online) but I'm mostly thinking more about things to make and do to enjoy the holiday that don't involve parting with large sums of money.

A few ideas:

Pop some popcorn and whip up a batch of hot chocolate, and catch one (or more) of these holiday classics on TV! (Props to Pittsy for putting this together!)

Check out the free and ever popular December Nights tonight and tomorrow in Balboa Park, or just stroll around the park on your own one evening and enjoy the holiday lights.

Open a bottle of good champagne just for two (or even one) - Piper Sonoma is a favorite budget find at around 12 bucks a bottle - and even a bottle of Veuve can be bought for $30-40 around the holidays. Our "house brand" is Taittinger Domaine Carneros - which is around $25-30. a bottle.

Throw a smaller dinner party, or just do cocktails or tea instead of a big blowout celebration. Casual is always ok - especially in this economy.

Make or bake gifts instead of buying - I'm doing cookies and candies and wrapping them in packaging from Sugarcraft and Papertrey. If you're not a cook, try chocolates from Eclipse, a bag of biscotti from Bread and Cie, or a jar of Jackie's Jams from the Farmers Market.

Speaking of the Farmers Market, I had great luck Christmas shopping at the Hillcrest Market last year (Sundays in the DMV parking lot from 9-1.) I found an amazing hand blown glass artisan, paper books and photo albums, handmade market baskets and tooled leather goods. Another great local source for handmade items is the Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park, a little colony of working studios and boutiques you can stroll amongst and browse. There's a pottery shop and sometimes a glass blower - I haven't been in a while, so it might be time to check it out again.

Enjoy the weekend!

photo via Sycamore Press on Etsy - one of three designs I ordered for our holiday cards this year!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Built-In Scavenger Hunt

When this article was first published in the NY Times last summer, I thought this was one of the coolest things I'd ever seen. The original request by the owner was that the designer "hide" a poem he had written for his wife and kids somewhere in the home. The text of the poem is written behind the doors above, but to open them, the family had to solve a multi-step puzzle that they discovered when one of the kid's friends noticed a code hidden in a decorative panel.

To view the full slideshow, click here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Old Fashioned Candies for Christmas

I'm really loving the feature in the December Martha Stewart on classic candies with fancy homemade packaging (complete with downloadable templates.) I'm especially tempted to try this nougat recipe - though it looks incredibly complicated. The Caramellos and Fleur de Sel toffee sound awfully good too...

You can see all of the recipes and packaging ideas here.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Creative People and their Spaces on The Selby

Serendipitously, I backed into this great site today called The Selby via a recent piece in the NY Times. It's a collection of photos and interviews with assorted creative types, documenting their homes and lives. The photos aren't styled and the homes aren't necessarily designed - they're just, well, the way they are. It's part inspirational, part voyeuristic and totally fascinating.
home slideshow