Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday Quotable

For those who celebrate Christmas, the day is almost here. This is my favorite time of year because for me it means spending time with family I don't get to see often enough. It means people (ok, most people) are in a happier, kinder mood. It's not about the gifts or the break from work (though the latter is desperately needed). It's about finding a moment to celebrate the joy in your life and the gift of life itself. I wish you all the joy and peace of the season. Be blessed.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday Quotable

I love my husband beyond measure but it is important to me to build the world I want. He is an integral part of my world but my vision for the future is my own. The same is true for him. The beauty of our love is that we can allow each other to create and build/follow dreams because our visions are compatible. We don't feel the need to have our relationship and our path driven by one person's dominant vision. I can't imagine relying on someone to create what they think is a good life for me. That must be why (ok, it's totally why) Khalil Gibran's essay On Marriage from The Prophet was part of my wedding ceremony. What about you? What's your position on who should build your world?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gift List $75 and Under

1. At first glance, this bracelet by Coatt may look like a cluster of gold beads and bars. Look a little closer. It's sending a message (or a label) to its recipient. The beads and bars represent morse code and you can choose from several options (Amore, Mom, Peace, Sister are just a few). ($60)

2. Feel like showing a little city pride? These necklaces by The Alchemy Shop come in a variety of cities. They also come in gold at a slightly higher price point ($95). If you can't find your city, don't panic. The store has tons of options for the unique accessory lover in your life. ($45)

3. Modern Trees offers a variety of family trees that pay tribute to your family in a unique format. It is the perfect gift for the surfer in your life. ($60)

4. Valentine Goods makes all sorts of leather accessories for your gadgets. This metallic gold case stood out to me and is perfectly on trend. Choose your favorite for your techie friends. ($40)

5. Some people prefer wallets and some prefer the less bulky money clip. This "Cheddar" clip by Jack Spade is a great gift with a humorous slangspression. ($68)

6. We have the Google Chrome and we LOVE it. It is totally worth it for anyone who binge watches Netflix like we do. It works with your wifi to broadcast anything from your smartphone or tablet (from Netflix, YouTube or Google Play) to your TV. Awesomesauce. ($35)

7. Speaking of Netflix, a subscription makes a wonderful gift for the movie and TV lover in your life. ($48/6 months)

8. Need to chill a bottle of wine in six minutes? You may not think so, but if you've ever been to a party where everyone shows up with wine, you know that over the course of the night, you're going to have some hot wine...or you're going to have to dilute it with an ice cube or two. Well, no more of that. White Cooper Cooler Rapid Beverage and Wine Chiller to the rescue! ($69.99)

9. I love the humor and sarcasm in David Olenick's prints. I love so many I could almost paper my walls with them. Right now, the one featured above is my favorite and the sentiment I want to carry with me into the holiday season. You can check out all of his prints at Society 6.

10. I featured these customizable stamps from Paper Pastries in a Love List earlier this year. They are a great gift for the people in your life who still send paper mail. It also makes a great gift for a newly married couple or a loved one who just got a new home. ($60).

11. I featured the Aquazinger in a previous Love List as well. Now, the line has expanded and there is a Vodkazinger!! Infused vodka is all the rage. This gives you the right tool to experiment in small batches. ($25.99)

12. I love this modern studded cuff. It's right on trend for the edgy fashionista in your life. Pick it up at C Wonder. ($58)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Gift List: $25 and Under

Gifts don't have to break the bank. Whether you're stuffing stockings or grabbing several small things for loved ones, these gifts will only deliver a soft blow to your wallet...unless you buy all of them--and I can see how that might be tempting. Happy shopping.

1. I always need an extra outlet. I like the bright color and Tetris like look of this multi-outlet by Kikkerland. ($14)

2. This gift is based on a European tradition. Make a wish, set it aflame and let it fly into the universe. I'd never heard of the tradition before seeing these wish papers by Catbird but it's beautiful. I love these as a stocking stuffer.

3. I have an affinity for moscow mules. These traditional copper mugs by West Elm are the perfect vessel for the refreshing cocktail. ($9)

4. You don't know this but I've been collecting giraffe sculptures for a while. When I saw this accessory bowl by Anthropologie, I knew it had to make the gift list. ($16)

5. I love the bright pop of color these Poketo card cases offer. I also like that they are soft and not the traditional rectangular, metal ones that are so common. ($18)

6. Can't get the perfect angle on your selfie? Why not use a remote? Specifically, why not use the Shutterball? ($24.99)

7. I love trying new cocktails and Shake by Eric Prum and Josh Williams offers seasonal recipes limited to five ingredients or less. Try pairing it with a mason jar cocktail shaker (like this one from Williams Sonoma) for the perfect gift. ($25)

8. The color on this Les Petits (OMG) stationery by Connor is so rich and beautiful. It's the perfect gift for the person in your life that still hand writes notes. ($25)

9. Most people have a neck pillow for air travel, but what about one with a hoodie? As cold as I usually am on a flight, I kinda love this thing. The travel hoodiepillow is by Dormify and can be found here. ($19.95)

10. Every girl needs a good set of makeup brushes. I love the reasonable price point on these by Sonia Kashuk. ($21.99)

11. Another gift for the cocktail connoisseur in your life. I love this gold jigger by Cocktail Kingdom.($15.95)

12. I love this infinity bracelet by Louun. The infinity symbol is special to the women in my family but it carries a nice message for anyone you love. ($24)

13. Scented candles just hit a new high. Kentucky Fried Chicken scent? Yep. It's perfect for those same people who go for bacon scented products. Check them out at Scents of the Commonwealth. ($22)

14. These recycled bottle lanterns have the look of mercury glass. They are perfect for a deck, table centerpiece or dresser and available on Open Sky. ($20-$25)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday Quotable

Picture Credit

I had a wonderful experience last week volunteering as a mentor for high school aged girls through a mentoring forum hosted by Junior Achievement. At the end of the day, the girls were challenged to open up and share the work they'd done that day. Sensing some hesitation on the part of my mentee, I pushed a little but not too much. I remember when I was her age and the thought of speaking in front of 100+ people would have sent me running for the hills. After a couple of people presented, I turned to her and said, "You've got this." She smiled and went up to the stage to share her work. She finished about a minute later but as she walked back to her seat, she was a different person. I could see her shining from the inside. I saw that look on the faces of so many girls that day. It's like a fire was ignited-a fire that could change the trajectory of their lives. Sounds dramatic, right? It's true though. Even though it was in a small way, it showed them that having the courage to step out on a limb develops confidence. Learning that at a young age changes lives. Keeping it going as you age expands your life. Happy Monday! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Rest in Peace Mandela

Nelson Mandela
News of Nelson Mandela's death crossed the news wires a few minutes ago. Mandela was so many things to South Africa. Following 27 years in deplorable conditions at Robben Island for his activism, he led his country to democracy and became its first black president. He was only in office for five years but his influence became a symbol for equality. His efforts to end apartheid led to his winning a Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. He won it with Frederik Willem de Klerk "for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa."

I always knew of Mandela’s story but I felt it in a personal way when Asher and I visited South Africa a few years ago. We went to Robben Island and visited his prison cell. We also learned of the abuse he endured while there. That experience pushed me to read some of his works. He was truly an inspiring man.

Perhaps the best tribute I can give is to leave you with some of his quotes. Be blessed.

"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

"A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don't have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial and uninformed." 

"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children." 

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."

"If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness." 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Gift List (DIY)

The season is ripe and it's time for the annual gift list series. I'm kicking this year's series off with a group of cool DIY projects. I always think handmade gifts are slightly more special. Consider this years DIYs for the ones you love. Instruction links are below.

1. The look of this mug is expensive and chic. It is chic but far from expensive. Think of doing this treatment on a set of mugs, wine glasses, vases or picture frames. DIY Instructions here.

2. I love the look of ombre and so does my sister. This quick and easy DIY ombre tee is the perfect gift. I'm thinking metallic colors on a long sleeved tee. DIY Instructions here.

3. I love the sheer color on these vases. They would look lovely in a kitchen window or clustered on a mantel. Great hostess gift. DIY Instructions here.

4. The dangly jeweled earrings are edgy and girly at the same time. Experiment with different colors and chain finishes. DIY Instructions here.

5. You can't get much easier than drawing and painting on coffee mugs. Think of sayings that will appeal to the coffee and tea lovers in your life and draw away. I'm thinking of using these as a favor at an upcoming party. DIY Instructions here.

6. These cameo hairpins are super sweet and girly. Give them to someone in your life who is drawn to sweet, delicate accessories. DIY Instructions here.

7. I love these dip dyed dinner napkins. They make the perfect gift for a new home owner or someone who entertains often. DIY Instructions here.

8. I love these key necklaces. Tiffany & Co. has a whole line of diamond and precious metal key pendants but if you want to go the cheaper route, these colorful takes on the trend are spot on. DIY Instructions here.

9. Two toned sunglasses? Why not? They are perfect for your quirky, trendy friends and family. DIY Instructions here.

10. Customized pillows are all over my radar lately. I am working on a NY themed area in my house and saw some really cute subway pillows. This DIY gave me an idea for making my own. You'll meed heat transfer material, which you can find here. DIY Instructions here.

11. Burberry makes a cute pair of heart printed calfskin and leather gloves but they are $650. You can keep the cuteness factor and save some money by making your own. These would be perfect for people like me who lose one side of my glove sets every year. DIY Instructions here.

12. Finally, studded headbands make a cute hair accessory without much cost. I will definitely be making these since I have some studded trim left over from a accessory box I made earlier this year. DIY Instructions here

Monday, December 2, 2013