2010 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE-Part One
November 1, 2010

I love looking for ideas for the holidays….and I start early. So when I find something I really like, the chances are you may like it to, so these are some of my faves so far….Enjoy the ideas, and feel free to pass along to your friends and family!

Perfectly personalized for your child's imagination....

And for the kid who has everything…they don’t have this…..Kidlandia custom maps…you can make up fantasy places and names from $29 to $69 dollars….I suspect it’s as much fun for parents to customize and order as it is for kids to receive(ok, maybe more).

A simple, beautiful solution to a real life problem....

For your gadget lover…they need a place to charge all those tech toys….The Sanctuary…. from Blue Lounge. $129….love it. I gave my daughter a smaller version of this last year…she adores it, and it comes with all the connectors you could ever want.

I loved the series....have it for my Poppa-in-law...

The Pacific DVD series….from HBO  …($42.99 on Amazon)for history buffs or just those who love good tv, but don’t have HBO(poor suckers)…. Band of Brothers producers Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg re-team to produce this epic 10-part miniseries. I know some of you thought BOB was better….that’s debatable…all I know is The Pacific is darn good  television. Thanks HBO.

Mooooooo!

Kidcraft-here’s a link makes all sorts of lovely , kinda retro things for kids….like toy kitchens, dollhouses, and this cow rocker…that you ride!  Come on, that is just one really cute rocker! I found it at Toys R Us-link here for $70…not cheap, but a keeper for years to come, and I’ve seen it on other websites for considerably more.

Shape-sorting(not shape-shifting) cube....

Here’s another fabulous maker of kid’s toys…a little retro, and great things to play with and educate your toddler…Melissa and Doug(click here) make great toys, at great prices. Remember the little wooden puzzles with pictures of farm animals? They have it…and free shipping for orders over $75…

Get down with your inner geek...

Stocking Stuffer alert!! Say goodbye to the clunky chunks of plastic and metal that blocked the driver’s side cup holder! This tiny usb power adapter for your car…means you don’t need a separate charger for your phone or ipod….just plug it in…It’s from Think Geek…stuff for smart masses. $7.99.

a caffeine boost for your electronics...

Or if you have more than one device(which means you are a super-geek) that needs charging while you’re on the go….a coffee cup power inverter….how cute is that?  Also from Think Geek….$29.99.

Men's faces need a little love, too...

For those mornings when waking up is toughNickel’s Morning After Rescue Gel..Natural wheat and soybean-based proteins, along with caffeine and  Hamamelidacea extracts, “ give your skin radiance and softness and have a stretching and firming effect on skin“(hey, that’s what it says…I’ve never heard of  Hamamelidacea extracts either). $32 at Amazon–it was sold out some places.

Papa at 54 on safari....photo credit: JFK Library

For history or sports buffs…especially hunters….how about a new book just out called Hemingway’s Guns…..looks like a fascinating read. New evidence shows that the gun pictured above is probably the one with which he committed suicide….not the one historians thought. Fascinating investigation that involved digging up the gun that had been melted and buried.

A must for Hemingway fans...

Papa H evidentally loved to teach other s to shoot and hunt….the book includes short excerpts from Hemingway’s works…and these stories of his guns and rifles tell us much about him as a lifelong, expert hunter and shooter, and as a man.You can get the book at Amazon-click here for around $25….

20 animal sculptures-no scissors or glue needed!

I love this. This one looks like fun for kids and their parents to work on…Magical Menagerie from style savvy West Elm(they also have some adult games like Foodie Fight-Iwant that one), is illustrated by Japanese artist Junzo Terada, simply pop out the colorful pieces and fit the matching slots together. Perfect for playing or displaying on your desk or in your child’s room. Oh, and free shipping ♥♥!

Stylish and functional....

And this looks so comfy for frequent travelers, whether by plane or megabus….never hurst to have a nice pillow and eye mask…especially from organic velvet, right? This set is $32 from Crunchy Granola Home-click here…they specialize in organic and earth friendly home products. Oh and they’re offering free shipping for all standard shipping November and December! You can definitely find some great gifts there.

I want the reindeer..no, the pig!

And last(for this list-I’m working on another one-feel free to send ideas that you’ve seen), another selection from West Elm-here… that has a whole bunch of cute things AND free shipping. These insulated animal mugs are made of procelain(no BPA) and a silicone grip to protect your plump little paws, and the lids can also act as a teabag holder…which I need for my afternoon green tea. $18….

Part two is in the works…hope to have it out in another week or so!

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More Apartment Therapy…..The Grand Tour
February 2, 2010

Ok, it’s just about finished. While there are still more clothes to move, the daughter is in….ensconced in her first pad, complete with a new cat, named Spencer. More in Spence in a minute. First, some apartment pics and where things came from….I always enjoy looking at pics of other people’s pads(ala the website Apartment Therapy)….so if you do too….here we go. The grand tour.

Entryway...love the boots and lampshade!

First her tiny entry area…hey, at least she has one, though it’s definitely  too small to call it a foyer. The lamp is one of the first things we purchased….from Paradiso on 36th Street in  Hampden. They have the coolest lamps, and the prices won’t scare you to death. Just love that shop. The narrow table(it had to be narrow) came from ETSY, a website Deborah  Weiner turned me onto…the things on it are made by an individual person.  It’s a great resource. The table  was supposed to be black, and we may yet paint it. Doesn’t offend me cream….just kinda blah. The mirror came from Ballard Design on sale…and the thing holding her mail is one of a couple of things we got at Great Stuff by Paul, in Frederick. It’s an old wooden Chinese rice scoop(($29)…and is perfect for mail. (I can’t go to Frederick without stopping in.

Cozy little sitting area in one corner of main room....

And speaking of Great Stuff by Paul….that is also where the antique Chinese window screen you see above came from($89)…they had at least a couple hundred of them. It’s such a great architectural feature, and covers a lot of space. We mounted it with velcro. Sofa from and lamp from Ikea(of course…the new apartment furnisher’s best friend), the white branch table on sale from West Elm, Thomas Paul “Nest” pillow from Gilt, the yellow flower applique pillow also from Etsy.

I've always loved this dresser..now it has a home...

This old dresser I inherited it from my Grandmother when I was a teenager…and I was the one who painted it red(yeah, that was a long time ago). My Mother said, “Are you sure you want it red?” It has become quite “distressed” over the years, but I hung onto it, knowing that someone would love it and have just the place for it one day. And this alcove in the apt, was the place(no doubt it used to house a Murphy bed). In fact, this red dresser was the basis for the entire color scheme for the room. It’s a great little dressing table with some pretty good storage, and my Mom would be so pleased it’s in her granddaughter’s apartment. The Thomas Adler wannabe lamp…is from Lamps Plus.

Definitely a statement piece....maybe our favorite find.

 The chair in front is something I consider one of our great finds, from Overstock. A superbright, mod print…and with lucite legs!! I love it! And here’s what I think…no matter what you’re looking for, if you don’t check on Overstock to see what’s there(and read the buyer reviews if there are any), you’re crazy, or have more money than sense…as Mom would say. You just never know what you’ll find there.  Like this crazy chair that wasn’t expensive.

My daughter loved this yellow toile duvet cover on Pottery Barn….it was backordered on their website, and kinda pricey. We found it for less on Ebay.

Love the chandelier...though it wasn't the easiest thing to mount.

Again, you never know what you’ll find there. Always worth a check. Bed  from Ikea. Side table a long ago buy from C-Mart(you C-Mart). And another great buy from ETSY….the wall decal that looks like a chandelier. While it was ummmm…a challange to put up, it was worth the effort….just love the look. And if  you go to the link above, you’ll see the incredible variety of vinyl decals available, everything from big giraffes, to birds on a branch, to chandeliers, to trees growing from the floor. Very modern, very chic, and an inexpensive way to cover a wall. Check it out.

More vertical storage....what every tiny apartment needs....

And another space and storage solution…this wall entryway unit we found on sale at Ballard Design….it’s in a small dressing area just outside the bathroom. Great for hanging coats and stuff, and extra storage. It’s one thing we learned from my son and the lovely Jennifer in a NYC studio…try to keep things vertical and on the walls, rather than sitting on the floor. Point well taken.

Meet Spencer!

And last but certainly not least….my daughter was dying for a cat….she loves herself some  kitties. So Sunday afternoon we went to the Falls Road SPCA (where there was a bumper crop of  people looking for pets) and found what may be the perfect cat for her. Spencer is 5 years old, and had been abandoned by owners who moved away and left him, if you can imagine such a thing. The neighbors fed him for a few months, and then finally brought him in. Spencer is without a doubt, a cat from whom other felines could learn a thing or two.  Totally relaxed and easy going, he loves to nap on the sofa, and has already made himself right at home. He jumped out of the cat carrier and stretched as if to say, “Yeah, I think I can hang out with you guys for a while.” Such a sweetie has a new home. Two sweeties actually. My girl is starting to feel at home in her new space…and while I really miss her(and I think she misses me too), she’s moving into a new phase of life…a whole new adventure…for her and Spencer.