Archive for the ‘Home’ Category

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: 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.

Great Gardening Gifts

Let’s talk about the different gifts you can give to the gardener in your life. There’s gardening hardware such as a good pair of pruners for removing roses and other cut flowers to create a beautiful arrangement.  The most highly rated and easily accessible is the Fiskars brand. Another reasonably priced gift is a nicely wrapped bunch of bulbs to be planted when the cool fall weather arrives. White Flower Farm is a good online source for quality bulbs and plants. Why not present your gift along with an offer to come and help with the planting? For the vegetable gardener a variety of herbs is always welcome; this year my sage, thyme, verbena and mint plants all came back bigger and better than last year –  a perennial plant is a gift that keeps on giving! And for the extravagant among you, a gardening plan from a landscape architect is a generous and long-lasting gift that is sure to be appreciated.

Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

In each group of friends there always seems to be at least one designated picture taker. The one whose camera seems inseparable from them and the one who views every moment as a photo opportunity. The absolute perfect gifts for this person are any of the new digital photo frames. I got this for my photo-obsessed friend for her birthday this past year and she could not have been happier. Over the years she has collected thousands and thousands of photos, so just any ordinary frame would never do. The digital frames have the ability to hold and store hundreds of photos, emerging as the perfect solution, as she would never have been able to choose just one photo for any frame. A lot of the frames are now touch screen, giving you ultimate control on the ordering and timing of all of your pictures. Some of the newer frames also allow you to add music while your pictures rotate or even a voice over. The frames are easy to operate and add a new twist to simply giving someone yet another picture frame. The designs are also all modern and will go with any persons style, no matter how picky they may be. A great way to personalize the gift or add extra thought is to add some of your favorite pictures together with your friend or loved one and upload them onto the frame ahead of time. 

    Dine in Style

    The holiday season has finally arrived. We are surrounded with daily reminders of the approaching holidays as they are visible in our stores and through TV and radio a like, serving as constant reminders of the upcoming family gatherings. This being said, now is the perfect time to give a nice dish set, napkin holders, placemats and other similar items. With the holidays, comes the inevitable family dinners, where these dining essentials are sure to come in handy. If you know that your friend or family member already has a complete plate set, a new collection of placemats and matching napkin holders is something that every household could use. You could also give a large serving plate and select it personally for the loved one that you are giving it to depending on their style and décor. You could then either bake your infamous cookies, bread or other dessert and wrap it up on top of the tray.