Archive for September, 2009

To Satisfy Those Chocolate Cravings

If you are on a budget while shopping for a present, making something is a great solution. It allows you to stay on budget while being creative too. One of the easiest ways to go about this is cooking or baking, as there are very few people who could resist the idea of free, already prepared food. While cookies or other baked sweets may seem cliché you cannot go wrong with them. If you want to try something a little different though you can always stay away from the typical chocolate chip cookies and look up a new dessert or recipe. One of my favorite recipes to make are peanut butter balls. They only require a few ingredients and are easy to make. Just combine 1 stick of butter, 1 box of powdered sugar, 2 cups of crunchy peanut butter and 3 cups of Rice Krispies and shape them into small balls and chill them. Afterwards you can either roll them in powdered sugar or coat them in chocolate. Just wrap them up and they make the perfect gift to bring to a dinner party or just as a thank you gift. My only advice is to make sure you make two batches, as you will want to keep some for yourself- they are truly addicting! 

    Jewelry That Will Enchant You

    My cousin has always been inspired by the history and culture of other countries and loves anything that is different or that has a story behind it. Because of this I could not resist sharing the beauty of Tikanchay’s Peruvian jewelry with her. Each of the pieces that they offer has a different story to tell and a different past and origin whether it be from the jungles or ocean floors of Peru. All of the handcrafted bracelets that they offer are exquisite and represent a different aspect of the Peruvian culture and story. I gave her their stone and shell silver bracelet for her birthday years ago and she still speaks of how much she loves it to this day. The bracelet is masterfully crafted from mother of pearl, chrysocolla and spondylus shell to create a unique look that will be noticed from across any room. The relaxing colors of the stones and shells are sure to calm you. It makes the perfect gift for any friend or family member. After giving it to my cousin I could not resist purchasing one for myself and I have a feeling that you will feel the same once viewing it and will soon too become enchanted by its natural beauty. 

      A Basket of Goodies

      A great way to give a gift for any occasion to someone is to select a theme and pick various smaller presents relating to it and put it into a basket. This gift is not only fun for the person to open but also to make. For instance we all know at least one person with that caffeine addiction, so find a giant mug and fill it with specialty coffee beans, a gift card to their favorite coffee shop and biscotti. For anyone who enjoys a bottle of wine with dinner, a basket filled with specialty wine, wine glasses and cheese is hard to resist. My Mom has always loved to take a bath as her way to escape from work and a long day and would always love a gift compiled of bubble bath, bath salts, and various lotions and candles. You can also throw in their favorite magazine or a new book. If you are scrunched on time stores such as Bath & Body Works sell prepackaged baskets that will do the trick. This is also a great idea for anyone who is about to travel. Just fill a backpack with a camera, suntan lotion, and a journal and they will be ready to go. Kids will love this idea too and will be ecstatic with the idea of getting more than one present. With gift baskets you can find something for anyone and it is easy to personalize and to include their favorite things or even inside jokes. 

        Jewelry Outside the Box

        When you are looking for a gift for the person who has everything try to think outside of the typical chain stores and instead look at smaller companies or even ones that specialize in products from outside of the United States. This is one of my favorite things about the online jewelry store, Tikanchay. All of their jewelry is expertly handcrafted in Peru and this unique distinction is made evident in each of their pieces. All of their collections masterfully blend the traditions and materials of ancient Peru with the modern style of today to create a look that is all its own. They have handcrafted earrings of all styles and each one has a story behind it that is easy to incorporate into your gift to show the person that you truly care. The earrings that stand out to me the most are their dove gourd earrings. These earrings serve as a perfect example of this blend of cultures as they combine the sleek elegance of sterling silver with carved gourd, an ancient Peruvian craft. Peruvian jewelry makes a great gift for any woman and is sure to be a gift that they will remember forever and that will stand out in their mind. 

          A Gift for any Occasion

          Whether you are searching for the perfect gift for a wedding, housewarming or birthday you cannot go wrong with the simple beauty of Simon Pearce’s hand-blown glass and pottery. While their collections are all simple they all contain a classic beauty that is incomparable. They have a large selection of various glasses and dishware sets that are all handmade and will go with any style. The pieces all also make great decorations and are perfect to simply display around you house to add an instant touch of sophistication and elegance. They make everything from clocks to vases and there truly is something for everyone. If you live close to a store, they also allow and welcome you to watch them make the glass and pottery right in front of you and even include a restaurant, so if the drive is an hour away from you the trip is definitely worth it. Don’t be discouraged from giving it to men as well as they also have an extensive collection of original beer mugs and desk accessories. The pieces that they have available also make great business or corporate gifts and is the perfect place to get all of your holiday shopping done in one trip. 

            A Cup of Joe

            As the temperature begins to steadily fall, I love the thought of coming home or waking up to a nice warm cup of coffee. This makes a coffee maker a great gift and is the perfect way to warm you up from a frigid day. This is also not only great to give to an individual but to a family as well. When giving this though try to stay away from some of the ordinary appliances and splurge for either a cappuccino machine or a new innovative device that goes far beyond making just a simple pot of joe. The new single serve coffee machines are quick and easy and allow you to create a cup of coffee in seconds with little to no clean up. The single cup idea is also great if the person you are buying for lives alone or has a family that runs on completely different schedules. Even if your friend or family member isn’t a caffeine addict the modern gadget also allows you to create hot chocolate and tea that is sure to satisfy any taste bud. 

              Classic Earrings with a Playful Twist

              While speaking of jewelry I once again found myself drawn back into Tikanchay’s website and have found yet another pair of irresistible earrings. The handcrafted jewelry all originates in Peru and is crafted by the finest artisans, embodying a style that is uniquely its own. While buying jewelry online can often be challenging when looking at quality, after multiple purchases from Tikanchay the jewelry that I have received has only exceeded my expectations. The owners of the company personally travel to Peru each year and work with the artisans themselves to help ensure the value and design of each of their pieces. A pair of silver earrings that I recently purchased for my friend’s upcoming birthday is the triple drop pink pearl dangle earrings. While my friend has a naturally fun and flirty style, her strict work code often restricts her from wearing anything that will show off her personality and these earrings will be the perfect way around the rules. The earrings exemplify the classic beauty and sophistication of pearls and are masterfully complimented by etched sterling silver that add a playful touch. They make a great birthday gift for a friend or a loved one and remember, it is never too early to start thinking about the holidays. 

                A Hint of Elegance

                Each year when my sister’s birthday comes around the corner, it always sends me on a mad search of what to get her, as she truly does have everything. While she is not your typical girly girl she still loves to dress up. This past year I decided to shop at my go to website; Tikanchay. The sterling silver jewelry that they have is simple and elegant and made with the highest quality. While in most jewelry available the silver content is .925, all of Tikanchay’s is .95 and when looking at the jewelry this difference becomes obvious. The jewelry all has a unique flair that is incomparable. I got her the ethereal sterling silver filigree necklace and now have yet to see her without it on. The necklace is light and airy and will add the perfect touch of sophistication whether you are going to the grocery store or out for the night. After her obsession with the necklace it makes my job easy for Christmas thanks to the matching set of earrings that Tikanchay offers. 

                  The Handy Man

                  No matter what your personality or physical ability everyone can use a toolbox, man or woman, making it the perfect gift for anyone. Toolboxes are easy to find and come in such varieties that it is easy to find the right one for anyone. If you just need a quick gift there are a large variety of sizes, starting with a small one that includes just the basic hammer and wrench to super size ones that are complete with everything you could ever imagine. It is an essential item that every man must own. While the typical toolbox may not be as practical for a woman there are tons of great alternatives. They now make hammers that are covered in floral prints and just the right size for daily household handy work. Inside each of the hammers they also often come with built in screwdrivers of all types and sizes that will help you do anything from hanging pictures to changing batteries. It makes for the perfect small gift and is what helped me survive in my first apartment. 

                    A Work of Art

                    For the more creative person, giving a work of art is a great gift that can truly show time and thought. Depending on your family and friends taste there is a style for everyone whether it be modern, pop art or still life. Pop art is perfect for someone with a more eclectic style while a still life will fit in with any traditional décor. Photography or portraits of their favorite place to travel or time period are a great way to show extra thought and gain an automatic spot above the fireplace. This can also be a great present for people of all ages whether it be children or seniors. If a piece of art is a little out of your budget a poster that is matted and placed in a frame will achieve a similar look and will open you up to even more options. Art can also serve as a great conversation piece so try to pick a work with a story behind it or that represents something meaningful to the person you are giving it to.