Recycled Aluminum Vase by VivaTerra.com- I like anything with kind've rough edges, particularly modeled after nature. And these sound pretty good for nature to boot! At $19 more than the original (by favored designer Michael Aram), they come with a cause. Check. Runner up.
Porcelain Peony by Vivre.com- I just want to see these intermixed with skipping rocks on a rich wood bookshelf. Color-coordinated book jackets are optional. For $25, not a bad way to posh up the pad. Runner Up is for the Guys, since they probably don't need porcelain peonies but DEFINITELY need cashmere/croc slippers.Exotic Truffle Collection by Vosges- There's always chocolate and this is, in my humble opinion, the very best. And I kinda want to be the founder of this company, Katrina Markoff.
Alexis Bittar Cerulean Deco Pendant Why do I still want to paint a wall of my "home office" this color? With gold accents and thin frames with thick white mats? Still no? Fine, I will try to make due with this gorgeous Art Deco style necklace that reminds me of the kind of New Year's Eve dinner I want to give one year. Actually this site has a lot of very chic, affordable options. Tough to pick a runner-up but if you insist. "Secret" by the Pierces just came on my playlist which sounds somehow appropriate.
Either Or Rose Flats- Anthropologie. These remind me of my first pair of ballet flats. Black, leater ballet flats with a flower on the outside toe. I literally wore them into the ground in college and since then have let the pavement eat 1 pair of Delmans, 1 pair of Bananas and 1 pair of Marc Jacobs (on sale, still in college). These on the other hand, while not really snow appropriate, are a happy color and have just the right amount of whimsy that I think they'd hold up against most of my black. And my, I do have quite a bit. My runner-up for cute Anthro shoe is here.Art is a tricky thing to buy for someone else but I know a few guy friends that could use a few things on their walls. Or I want them to take some things off their walls that I think they've grown out of. They disagree but maybe when presented with a Spike Press poster, framed and matted at FourSided, there will be real room for improvement.
PAWS Chicago has a new facility in Lincoln Park. Word on the balcony is that the company Christmas activity may involve a visit to said new facility. It may also involve bringing two kittens back with us. After Muffet's passing in October, I think the boss is ready for new friends. Donating to worthwhile organization would make a great gift.
I also have a Christmas cookie party to go to this weekend in Gold Coast. I've been weighing my options but have decided to go with Wolfgang Puck's Chocolate-Covered Almond Toffee Bars recipe from Tuesday's Tribune. I may also spice it up with the Addison's (my fabulous, crazy Cajun neighbors in Memphis) peppermint bark recipe. Speaking of the Addisons, Wayne is one of the main sources of my passion for cooking. He's good. I was making Bananas Foster in their kitchen when I was twelve- he's that good (I will need to share that recipe soon-good reminder). And he gave me my first really nice cookbook (above) for my high school graduation. My other favorites for now (in case you're related to a Cook) are Super Natural Cooking, Barefoot Contessa (original from Lo) and Julie & Julia.
And at the end of the day, think about the person. Dad likes to give the gifts he'd like to get- generous but to mixed results when your better half is technologically apathetic and you run an internet-based company (i.e. looove tech toys). We all do that to an extent but I think it's treatable. This year I'm thinking really hard about each person in order to do something that I can a) afford that is b) ecstatically relevant. I have a couple ideas but this is not a secure setting:)