Archive for July, 2010

A Thoughtful Gift Idea

I’m a big believer in gifts that show you were thoughtful about choosing them. My friend bought me a beautiful hydrangea plant for my birthday recently and as much as I love the plant (and I do!) I also love the fact that she knows me well, and thought about choosing something that would please me. That plant is thriving in my garden showing lacy white blooms and every time I walk by or stop to admire it, I know I have a friend who cares about me.  Isn’t that what we want our gifts to say?  So while I love to give gift ideas here (yes, one is coming…) I also advise you to spend a few minutes thinking about the person you’re buying for to get a sense of direction.

Today’s suggestion: Now that there are video cameras on our phones and computers, it’s pretty easy to create a video clip and while the tech savvy person can edit it and get fancy with music in the background, none of that is necessary for this gift idea.  Record yourself sharing a happy memory.  It can be a story for your child from his past or a memory from your own childhood that you share with your parent.  The ways to use this idea are endless but the key is to let the person know that they play an important role in your happy memories. Here’s the fun part that may require a little courage on your part: post your video somewhere, on YouTube or FaceBook for example, and then send the link to your gift recipient.  You won’t believe how many people will share this with their friends because everyone loves to have their life witnessed.  You’ll be the coolest gift giver ever.

Unique Jewelry Gifts

I’ve always loved receiving jewelry gifts. I feel that a woman can never own too many accessories! One thing that makes jewelry a great choice is that every woman needs a nice variety of it for different occasions, outfits, and moods. Of course, a wedding ring or other sentimental piece may be worn everyday, but most women enjoy mixing it up with a variety of earrings in different sizes and shapes, fun bracelets, and unusual necklaces. From chunky and funky to dainty and feminine, you can find a piece of jewelry that will fit your recipient’s taste. The key is to look past the mass produced styles in the popular stores, and seek out the more exclusive boutiques and online shops. That is where you’ll find handcrafted jewelry. Instead of having the same look as all of her friends, your recipient will enjoy a piece of artisan jewelry that people notice as being unique and beautiful. This carved gourd necklace is an instant conversation starter. Artisans in Peru hand carve designs into their gourd jewelry, and then it is set in sterling silver. Talk about a unique jewelry gift!

A Gift Full of Memories

There are a few sites that offer photobooks on the internet now.  My favorite is MyPublisher.com. It’s so easy to use their software and the end result is as professional as anything on the shelf at your local bookstore. I heard about this site when I received a gift of a photobook from a family who had visited our vacation home with us. They compiled photos from that trip, many featuring my children with their children having a wonderful time together and “published” a book as a thank you gift. It was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received and it has become my “go to” place on the web for personalized gifts at Christmas. Pull together some digital photos, upload them to theMyPublisher.com site and start arranging them into your own special gift for someone.

The Gift of Technology

This year I bought my husband an iPad for Father’s Day. I know it doesn’t seem like such a creative gift, after all there were lines outside the door of the Apple Store with the launch of this new gadget. But for someone who is technologically challenged this is a gift of technology that is so intuitive it brings the internet into the realm of the possible, something that makes it an unparalleled gift. Of course, setting up the iPad so that favorite websites are easily reached with the touch of a button, and help setting up an email address for future communications – these are the details of the gift that make it personal. Believe me, the time and money are well worth it and you’ll be receiving thank you notes for a long time to come – probably by e-mail!

Music to Their Ears

Have you ever walked into a store and been swept away by the music that is playing? I remember the first time I heard Tiger Lily by Natalie Merchant. I was sitting in a quiet bar on a lovely summer Friday afternoon waiting for a friend and the music set just the right mood for the pending weekend of rest and relaxation.  Music is a matter of personal taste but with some forethought it’s possible to choose terrific CDs to give a friend. Looking for a safer alternative? How about an iTunes gift certificate and a list of songs that you think your friend would enjoy? I’d love that gift!

Real Butterfly Wing Jewelry

Butterfly wing jewelry is a very unique gift idea for the special women in your life. This pendant features the wings of an Amazonian butterfly, which is naturally stunning. Set in sterling silver, the wing is preserved forever. A perfect gift for nature lovers, butterfly collectors, and any woman who loves handcrafted jewelry. The wings come in a variety of patterns and colors, just like the large array of butterflies that live in the Amazon. Locals collect their wings from the rainforest floor, and artisans buy them in the marketplace. You can buy this style and other kinds of butterfly wing jewelry from Tikanchay, a company specializing in handcrafted jewelry created by Peruvian artisans. Each purchase also brings them closer to self-sufficiency, making it a very special gift that affects more than just your recipient.

Bottle of Red, Bottle of White

I’m not much of a drinker but I do appreciate a really good glass of wine.  It all started when one of my college friends invited my husband and me to her wedding, hosted by her well-to-do and generous dad at the Pierre Hotel in NYC.  We drank white wine and found ourselves refilling our glasses so many times it was a lucky thing we walked home to our hotel – me with my summer sandals dangling from one finger!  When I called her after her honeymoon to ask her to find out the name of the wine because we had enjoyed it so much, she got back to me with the description, “Louis Jadot Pouilly Fuisse, Premier Cru” which meant nothing to me until I went to buy it at our local wine shop.  Needless to say, considering the price and how much we had imbibed at the wedding I wondered if I shouldn’t be sending a check along to her Dad for his hospitality!  I’ve been grateful though ever since for being introduced to the pleasure of really good wine and so I recommend it highly as a very special gift for anyone with an appreciation for the finer things in life.  Some of my favorites: Conundrum which you can read about here; Hess Cabernet Sauvignon which you can read about here; and of course the one that started it all: www.louisjadot.com. Salud!

My Compliments to the Chef

Everyone has a friend or family member with a talent for cooking up delicious meals. Those are fun people to buy for whether your budget is Williams Sonoma or Target! One of my favorite gifts to give is a well reviewed cookbook, especially if I’ve made a few of the recipes and can speak personally to their quality. Two of my favorites this year are Park Avenue Potluck Celebrations by Florence Fabricant, the second in a series produced by the volunteers at Sloan Memorial Kettering Cancer Center; and Peace Meals, A Book of Recipes for Cooking and Connecting by The Junior League of Houston. What’s great about them? Each is a compilation of recipes from a group of women so you can imagine that each one brought her absolute best recipe to the table! You can buy these and countless other cookbooks from Amazon.