Archive for September, 2008

Handcrafted Sterling Silver Butterfly Neckalce

Grace: I’m always looking for jewelry made out of unique materials but is still beautiful and completely wearable.  However, it is very difficult to find interesting and unique jewelry at places such as department stores where jewelry is mass produced.  For this reason, if I’m looking to give a beautiful and unique gift, I turn to handcrafted jewelry.

This site has many beautiful necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, all handmade in Peru by artisans.  In addition to jewelry made out of 950 sterling silver, some of their jewelry is made out of very unique and beautiful materials, such as spondylus shell and semi-precious stones.  However, I personally love this beautiful butterfly necklace made from the wings Amazonian butterflies.

This necklace is not only beautifully crafted, but how many people can say they own a necklace made from butterfly wings?  In addiont, since no butterflies were harmed in making the necklace, it’s also an environmentally conscious gift.  If you know someone who loves jewelry and is looking for something unique, I would definitely recommend giving this beautiful, handcrafted necklace as a gift.  Also, there is a matching sterling silver cuff bracelet as well as complimentary sterling silver earrings for someone who wants the whole set.

Dan: Wow.  This jewelry is absolutely fantastic.  I know you recommended a single design, but when browsing around on the website everything is beautiful!  It is hard for me to realize that anyone can go wrong buying a great product as a gift from this website.  It is a beautiful site and really guides you to what you need to find for someone else or yourself.  Please, if there is any special occasion coming up, or you simply know someone who appreciates fine jewelry, check out Tikanchay and their great selection!

A Hobby at Ease

Dan: How many of you were hollered at when they were younger because they were reading in the dark?  When I was little (and still today) I prefer reading in the dark instead of under a bright halogen lamp, but the act is extremely hard on your eyes.  Or so you may think…according to WebMD, reading in the dark, just like sitting too close to the television is a myth about your eyesight.  You may get a headache from it but it does not cause any imposing threat to your vision or your health.

Even still, it might be a great idea (gift idea) to have something in order to aid you.  If you read at home, in the office, or in a crowded living space like a dorm room or apartment, then you need your own persona light.  Levenger has many different makes and types of reading lights to offer.  If you know someone who reads in an uptown office they have a light to appropriately accomodate that situation.  Also, if you know someone who has many roommates, a bed reading light would be much better suited.  Check out these great reading light gifts!

Grace: As someone who loves to read, I think this is a great gift idea!  I always end up reading right before I go to bed, and I’m too lazy to turn the lights on again when I’m just going to to turn them off in another hour, so I end up reading in very dim lighting.  I think that the clip-on light is a great gift for someone who likes to read in bed because it doesn’t take up much room like a floor lamp or a desk lamp on a nightstand would, and you can travel with it, which is very convenient.  If you know someone who loves to read, instead of getting them a book they might enjoy or a gift certificate to a bookstore, why not buy them one of these reading lights?

Printing Perfect

Dan: During the summer before entering into my freshman year in college, my parents took me to Staples to find an appropriate printer for my dorm.  Today, there are even more printing and copying choices and it has only been a little over two full calendar years.  However, the two biggest distinctions between printers are whether or not they use ink or are laser printers.  We ended up buying a laser printer due to their cost effective nature; however, if you have a more creative major or career and need color, than a printer using ink would be the better choice.

My samsung ML series printer was a great gift to me from my parents.  My printer has never, let me repeat that, never let me down.  It has never had a paper jam, software problems, etc and has always been trustworthy and most importantly reliable.  The printer itself was between forty and fifty dollars with the toner cartridges costing around sixty dollars.  Sixty dollars might sound terrible, but when one cartridge lasts for more than a year it is actually a steal than having to replace ink cartridges.  If you have a child entering into college or are considering helping out a friend at home or at work then consider a Samsung printer.  It is a necessity in today’s busy world and makes a wonderful and useful gift.

Grace: As someone who does not have a printer at school, I cannot even begin to tell you how useful they are and what a great gift one would be for someone who doesn’t have one, especially if they’re in college.  Finding a reliable printer is incredibly difficult these days and nobody wants to giving someone a gift that will cause them endless stress and grief, so it’s definitely worthwhile to do your research first.  Samsung printers are known for their reliability and good quality, so I, too, would recommend giving one as a gift.

Make Your Own Doll

Grace: Ever since I was little, I’ve always loved DIY kits.  My favorite gifts were the ones where I could make things to stick on the windows or make my own stuffed animals.  I love the idea of inspiring a child’s creativity and encouraging them to try new things, which is why I love this DIY Yoyo Doll Kit.

Most DIY kits I had were actually quite complicated, so although they were fun and I loved the end prodcut, sometimes they were a little frustrating too.  However, this kit doesn’t seem to be too complicated, since all the hard parts (the hands, head, etc) come pre-made.  In addition to being fun, this gift is also ecologically and socially conscious.  Made from old sweaters, this is also a fair trade product , thereby helping developing countries and the environment at the same time.  If you’re looking for a socially conscious gift that’s also fun and cute, I would definitely take a look at this one!

Dan: This is a great gift idea!  Not only does it make a toy but you can learn along the way.  I was never one for dolls.  When I was in the 7th grade in home economics class, we had a school project in which we had to use sewing machines to make stuffed animal frogs.  Let’s just say I did not have what it takes.  Ended up borrowing a friend’s from a different class, got caught, and had to hand in my leaking bean bag that did not resemble a frog whatsoever.  Therefore, I would also have to agree with you that some of these DIY projects are simply frustrating and not fun at all.

Eco-Friendly Robe

Grace: I love giving and receiving gifts that I can just lounge about in, such as sweatpants or pajamas, but I’ve noticed that as gifts, unless they’re high quality (which most lounge wear isn’t) they tend to get forgotten about or only last a couple of years.  However, I found this lovely robe that is a great alternative to sweats and pajamas and makes a great, relaxing gift.

In addition to being super soft and absorbant, as all robes should be, this robe happens to be eco-friendly too!  Made from organic cotton and bamboo yarns, this gift is perfect for someone who is environmentally conscious, but also wants something they can just relax in.  This is also a great gift for someone who wants to start dressing eco-friendly but is wary of eco-frienldy clothing.  Since a robe is something fairly universal and comforting, they might just fall in love with it and be wiling to try wearing more eco-friendly clothes.

Dan: I have never been one for robes but this gift recommendation is tantalizing.  This robe does sound awfully comfortable, especially during the winter when all you want to do is climb under your bed covers and stay there all day, every day.  If you are someone who wants to make their lifestyle more eco-friendly then definitely check out this robe!


Dan: When I was a little kid I had the displeasure (or pleasure) of watch a Ren and Stimpy cartoon on Nick at Night where Ren became infatuated with a bar of soap.  He would carry it around, use it, bring it into outer space, and even eat it!  Here at school, due to handy storage, I use plain old old spice body wash, but luxury soaps can make a great and clean gift.

I found an Etsy store that has every kind of artistic and handmade soap that you can thing of.  Each of their soaps has their own special property based upon the way that they look, or upon what they do for you.  For example, one type of soap they sell, known as the bath bomb, is shaped like a tennis ball but smells like coconut and fizzes when you use it.  They even have a soaps that smell like an ocean breeze or are shaped like cupcakes.  I don’t know, but when I get home over the summer I might want one of my own bar of soap from Etsy.  These soaps also make great romantic gifts if you have a significant other…or not!  If you are interested in the nature of their business go ahead and check out their blog which is a part of their store site.

Grace: Although receiving body wash can be kind of a monotenous gift, I love receiving handmade, luxury soap.  It not only smells and feels nice, but it also looks really pretty and decorative.  Shopping for soaps to give as a gift is also really fun because you can really think about the person who you are giving it to and find the perfect match.  This is a great, standard gift idea that you can’t go wrong with!

Why Have One Screen When You Can Have Two?

Grace: One thing I noticed that many of my friends have is, in addition to their laptop, a nice, LCD monitor.  At first, I didn’t see the point of having both a computer and a monitor, but now that I think of it, the monitor is quite useful.  I think an LCD monitor makes a great gift for someone who loves technology and doesn’t mind looking a little geeky at times.

The benefit of having an LCD monitor in addition to a laptop, I’ve found, is that you not only have a nicer screen to watch movies on, but you can also multi-task.  My friends who have a set up like this actually are more efficient with their time since they can organize windows on two screens.  This is a great technological gift if you don’t mind spending a little money.

Dan: An additional LCD monitor would make a great gift.  When having major assignments to do on the computer any need to have more than three windows open space is a commodity on a small laptop screen.  In this scenario, an extra LCD monitor would be extremely helpful.  If you know someone that needs the extra space an extra monitor would be a great gift.

Some People Think…

Dan: Some people think that they do not need a safe place to put their belongings because of a multitude of reasons such as, “I live in a good neighborhood.”  However, no one’s precious belongings deserve to be unsafe and unprotected, especially if your home or apartment does not have a home security system.  This is leads to my next gift recommendation which is some kind of lock box.  Lock boxes that you can find at staples are expensive (around $100) and can easily be picked up and taken away.

This is why I recommend this lock box and file cabinet combination from Ikea. I have one in my apartment room and this is where I keep my things of inherent and greatest importance.  It is extremely heavy once constructed and cannot be picked up and taken away by one person alone.  It was slighlty challenging to put together, but once complete it is totally worth it.  So if you know someone who is not careful with their belongings this would make the greatest gift for them.

Grace: I really like the dual practicality of this gift idea; not only is it a safe place to store items, but it also has all the organizational benefits of a filing cabinet.  For a college student or new home owner, space is fairly limited, so the more things that can be combined into one, the better.  Also, the lock box- filing cabinet combination Dan recommended is very streamline and basic, making it easy to incorporate into any room.  I agree with Dan and think this makes a great gift idea!

Posters are not just for College

Dan: There is a stigma that exists that posters only exist for decorating college dorms and trashy establishments.  However, I find that posters can really personalize any space whether it is the office or your house.  I am in love with music and really nerdy cartoons and books.  Therefore, in order to express the inner geek that I am, I decorate my apartment with streams of guitar posters and star wars models.  I like doing this because it really makes my part of the apartment my own domain.  I feel as if everyone should be true to themselves and do what I did!

This is why I think posters make absolutely excellent gifts.  If you have a friend or family member that you know really well, give them something that shows you know them for who they really are!

Grace: I could really use a poster or two because my dorm room is so empty.  I completley agree that posters make great gifts.  They really add a nice touch to any room, whether it’s a dorm room or just a room in your house.  There are so really nice print-outs of interesting designs and paintings that, when framed, add a very unique, decorative style.  This is a great gift idea!

Family Tree Necklace

Grace: My grandmother’s birthday is coming up and I have no idea what to get her.  I don’t get a chance to see my grandmother very often, so I always feel that my gifts need to be very personalized.  However, there are only so many pictures of me and my sister I can give my grandma before it’s just ridiculous.

I found this really interesting necklace that is both wearable and personalized, which makes it the perfect gift.  Called the Family Tree Birthstone Necklace, you can choose anywhere from 1 birthstone up to 8 birthstones to symoblize different family members.  This way, whenever the recepient wears the necklace they’ll feel connected to the various family members.  A gift like this is perfect for my grandmother who, of course, never leaves the house without wearing jewelry and who loves anything that reminds her of her family.  I really love the idea of a gift that is completely wearable but also has a kind of secretive, deeper meaning to it that only the recipeint will understand.

Dan: I absolutely love this gift idea because of its family connection.  I value nothing more in my life than my family and this gift idea really touches my heart.  If my grandparents were still alive I would definitely get this for them.  I might just keep this idea deep down inside for my mom’s next birthday :-) !