Archive for December, 2008

Silver Elliptical Earrings

Grace: I’ve probably mentioned my love of earrings about a million times already, but I’ve always found them to be a great default gift.  However, like most jewelry, I always find it very difficult to find unique earrings to give as gifts.  Handcrafted jewelry is always a great option, especially these handcrafted sterling silver earrings (not to mention, all the earrings are 15% off until December 25th).

One of my favorite pairs of earrings on this site are the Silver Elliptical Earrings.  They are so beautiful and expertly crafted that it’s difficult to believe that artisans from Peru made them by hand.  As with most of the jewelry from this site, these earrings are very versatile; I can picture myself wearing them during the day and wearing them for a special evening.  They also have a very fun and youthful quality to them due to their contemporary design.

Dan: What I enjoy most about these earrings is the design.  Like you said they seem to be very versatile in that they can be matched with many different outfit combinations and for different events.  They seem to be fun and modern at the same time.  I would buy these as a gift in a heart beat.

A Gift to Occupy

Dan: Both myself and Grace are going on study abroad trips soon and my flights are going to be very long.  My first on New Years goes from JFK in New York direct to Hong Kong (roughly 20 hours), and then we are switching with a 3 hour lay-over to a flight going to New Zealand from Hong Kong which will be over 5 hours.  With all of this free time I do not know what I am going to do with myself.

My iPod will run out of battery, and my friends and I can only play so many card games in a row, so I’ll need something to keep me busy for sure.  A great gift, would be a book!  Books can be really personal because it shows that you know what the other person enjoys to read.  Books are also a sophisticated and often times expensive gift.  It is scary to think of the day that books won’t exist with all of the technological advances society is experiencing.  So, I recommend books for a holiday gift or just any occasion, books are an excellent choice!

Grace: Books have always been my favorite gifts to receive (and give)!  You can never go wrong with a good book, and it’s always a great way to introduce people to things you love.  Many of my favorite books are ones that people have recommended to me.  If you don’t know what kind of book to get someone, a gift card to a bookstore is also a great idea.  Although I’m normally not a fan of gift cards, I never complain when I get ones to bookstores.

Baked Gifts

Dan: Are you running low of a good gift idea that would be good for a whole family?  Every holiday season, my grandmother and aunt in Texas send us a giant package of goods that she made from scratch.  Everything from fudge, taffy, cookies, brownies, and the list goes on.  If you are going away on a winter vacation or study abroad like me, maybe not the best idea to eat the whole thing by yourself, but it is a really great gift anyway.

This is a good gift because it immediately shows that you had to put a lot of your time and effort into making it.  It instantly becomes less about the money spent on the gift and more about the thought and effort put into making your holiday great!  Also, it does not have to be baked goods like this, you can plan a dinner where you make everything or bring them out to a nice restaurant!

Grace: If you’re looking for a great gift that won’t fail, this definitely is it.  Food will never disappoint, especially if it’s home-made, so if you love to cook and don’t know what to get people, I would highly recommend taking Dan’s advice.  This is also a great gift idea if you’re  college student.  I love giving my friends gifts, but I since I’m in school, I can’t really afford much, so instead I bake them something.  Since everyone is sick and tired of campus food, this gift idea always works!

Silver Ribbon Bracelet

Grace: Like many women, I’m such a sucker for shiny things, especially shiny bracelets.  Maybe it’s just because I have the world’s shortest attention span, but I just love wearing sterling silver bracelets.  I don’t wear them that often, but when I do, I feel so put-together.  Buying a bracelet as a gift can be very difficult since I find most bracelets to look the same, so this year I’ve been looking mostly at handcrafted sterling silver jewelry. They are not only elegant and beautiful, but they’re also unique.

One handmade sterling silver bracelet that I really enjoy is this Silver Ribbon Bracelet.  I love the shiny silver and the modern design.  I’ve also never seen a bracelet like this before; I’ve only ever really seen cuffs or charm bracelets.  This is a great multi-purpose gift too, since I can see it being worn everyday or for a special evening.  If you’re looking to give a unique, special gift this holiday season, I would definitely recommend this bracelet!

Dan: This is a really unique gift idea Grace!  I have seen lots of different jewelry items as gift ideas, but this one is different because it was handcrafted by Peruvian artisans.  I look at this peice more as a work of art than a, “every kiss begins with Kay” ordeal.  It is really catching to the eye and a great peice!

Byzantine Sterling Silver Necklace

Dan: Are you looking to give someone a perfect jewelry gift this coming holiday season?  You will be able to find a lot of great artisan jewelry here!  From artisan communities in Peru, this sterling silver jewelry is extremely unique.  Most jewelry that you can buy when shopping around is mass produced in a factory.  No hard work is put into the production of that jewelry, but when buying a Peruvian product you know that these are prized works of art.

Also, the person you give this jewelry to will know it is unique.  The Byzantine sterling silver .950 chain is intricately handcrafted and cannot be replicated by most hands.  It is truly a unique design and a unique piece of jewelry.  Please, give someone a real jewelry gift this holiday season.

Grace: Wow that is an astonishing peice of art.  To know that you can wear something as beautiful as that is amazing.  The Byzantine design on the chain is so intricate and difficult to create, only Peruvian artisan hands could have made such a great necklace.  This is a perfect example of what handcrafted jewelry is about.

Traveling Gift

Dan: Do you know someone who is going to travel to a foreign country for an extended period of time?  If so, and it is outside of the Americas, than most likely their electrical appliances will not work.  In many other country’s, the electrical outlets cannot handle the amount of power that some of our appliances normally use.  Therefore, that person will most likely need a host of power converters for the different countries.  These make great travel gifts because they are so commonly used!

This winter, I am going to be traveling to Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong and will be needing some of these converters.  My parents were kind of enough to get me these converters as a gift, but I know that some other people on my trip do not have them yet.  Some of the best gifts, are things that people need!

Grace: This is a really great gift idea Dan.  I am traveling and studying abroad in Japan this winter/spring and have the same issue to deal with.  You are right that some of the greatest gifts are practical ones that can be used time and time again.  Once you receive these converters (usually come in sets), you will never have to invest in it again.

Getting Dirty Gift

Dan: Now that it is winter time and it is consistently cold, wet, and slushy outside people’s shoes and sneakers tend to get destroyed during these harsh months.  I recommend this great Timberland gift that will keep guys looking tough and staying dry at the same time.  Timberland boots have either a steel toe or without one.  If you need a pair of these really great high quality boots for things like walking around or yard work than the steel toe is not really necessary.  The steel toe does cost extra and provides that extra protection (less comfort) for people undergoing really heavy construction projects.

Amongst the Gore-Tex boot world, TImberland’s or “Tims” are the ideal choice.  They are perfect for every occassion, from work, hiking, traveling, or just the everyday, Tims make the best gift choice.

Grace: As someone who goes to school where it starts snowing in October and ends in May (if we’re lucky), I understand the importance of having proper winter shoes.  Many of the freshmen think they can get away with wearing Uggs in the snow, but they soon realize that they need something more durable.  If you know someone who just started attending school in the snow or is planning on doing so, skip the Uggs and get them Timberlands.  However, I wouldn’t recommend steel toes because, in my experience, they’re actually more dangerous.  I used to horseback ride and there was someone at my barn who owned steel toed boots, got stepped on by a horse, and the steel bent and cut through their toes.  Not a pleasant story, and certainly not something you would want to be responsible for.

Custom Jewelry: Turquoise Bead Necklace

Grace: The only thing better than finding a unique gift that no one else has is giving one that is literally made for the recipient.  However, it’s very difficult to find a custom-made gift (and probably very expensive) unless you are super talented yourself.  The next best thing, though, is a gift that is made to order, so you don’t have to go through the trouble of designing the gift, but you get all the benefits of something that is custom-made.

The same website that sells beautiful sterling silver jewelry gifts has just created a line of made to order necklaces.  These made to order necklaces are not only unique, but they have the feel of custom jewelry.  With handmade jewelry you’re almost guaranteed to have a piece that no one else has.  I particularly love the Turquoise Bead Necklace because the color is absolutely beautiful.  Each turquoise bead is hand selected for the perfect color and quality.  Each necklace takes about three weeks to deliver, so make sure you order it well ahead of time!

Dan: I am no jewelry conosseiur but this is a really beautiful peice of art.  The turquoise really has a natural undescribable beauty that cannot be replicated.  It is so well handmade and put together it really does not detract from its natural beauty.  This is a wonderful gift, and one to get any special women in your life!

Gift for Sushi-Lovers

Grace: Like most people, I am SOOOO excited for the holiday season!  Unfortunately, this year I won’t be able to celebrate the new year with my family since I’ll be studying abroad.  Every year, my mom makes a huge Japanese feast that includes home-made sushi and other Japanese goods.

Although sushi looks like it’s really easy to make, it’s actually really difficult and ordering sushi is quite expensive.  However, if you know someone who loves sushi and either wants to experiment in making their own or is willing to order some, a great gift for sushi lovers is this simple, sushi platter for two.  This platter has a very contemporary feel to it and has indents for soy sauce and 2 sets of chopsticks.  A large part of Japanese cooking is presentation, and this platter is definitely and elegant way to display your food!

Dan: Wow what a really beautiful Japanese sushi platter!  I love Japanese food so I am always spending too much taking out when I am too lazy to cook.  Sometimes, I know for big parties people spend around $30 or more for one of the sushi platters.  However, they come on distasteful paper platters.  If you had this official platter you can just transfer the items!  It is truly great.

An Amplified Gift

Dan: A lot of musicians have some of the gear they NEED but not much in terms of stuff they could REALLY use.  This may not apply to all musicians, but for guitar and bass guitar players they have the instrument but not a good enough amplifier.  Since they can be quite costly if you do not shop around smartly to find great values, it takes time and effort to find a good one.

There are also many different brands and qualities.  If you are looking for a perfect gift and the comfort of knowing that you got the RIGHT thing, go with Fender amplifiers.  For both the electric guitar, acoustic electric, or the bass electric guitar, Fender distributes the highest quality and most durable amplifiers.  So even if someone you know has a guitar, do they have the right amp?

Grace: This is a great gift idea!  You are right that so many musicians have a suitable instrument but not the right system to make it come out sounding its best.  People who play acoustic guitars that are not amplified do not have to worry about this problem, but if you do need amplification, it is a problem.  $2000 Gibsons sound terrible on a $60 25 watt amp.