My father is notoriously difficult to buy gifts for because he always buys everything he wants immediately and then there's nothing left for birthdays, holidays, or special occasions. For Father's Day, he asked for tickets to a concert he wants to attend next weekend. I bought them the other day, so I'm all set ahead of schedule, but if you're still looking for the perfect gift for your father, father figure, husband (I am), or another great dad in your life, consider getting him a Man Crate.
With a sense of humor and a masculine sensibility — a brass-knuckle meat tenderizer, supplies for increasing levels of zombie threat, and a Chuck Rodent club cover are par for the course (no pun intended) — the Man Crates fulfill a wide range of interests and tastes. More than two dozen crates are pre-arranged or you can request a custom gift. Each set comes with a crowbar so your man can pry open his own gift which comes adorned with "no bows, ribbons, or fluff."
Two or three years ago, instead of a work shirt or video game (my husband's usual requests), I bought him a bacon-related gift pack from another vendor and it was very well-received. Personalized gifts are always much better than something you might buy any other day of the year because they show much more thought as to who someone really is and what they like. If your guy is a first-timer, the Tactical Baby Bag (top) offers a survival guide and other smart supplies for added energy during the sleepless nights (note: this comes with the tactical bag, not a crate).
Which ones suits your guy/dad? A few of these would work for my husband, but I think he is the retro gamer all the way.
images via mancrates
Hope everyone is staying warm and lifting with their knees when they shovel, it's crazy out there lately. I drove down to New York last Friday to attend NYNOW, formerly NYIGF, the gift show at the Javits Center. In two and a half days—and 2700+ pictures later—I walked every single aisle of the show and saw some great products.
Mostly, I was really excited to be back in New York and to see a lot of the vendors I haven't seen in a while, since I missed the last three shows (not sure how that time flew so quickly). It was great to catch up with people and this was my first time experiencing the show since they changed the format and rebranded. I think it worked out well to have all the home companies under one roof, though as I walked the show, I realized there were several brands that I didn't see. I'm hoping they'll be there in August.
At any rate, I'm looking forward to sharing the things that I saw over the next weeks and months. In addition to new and interesting products, the booths themselves are often styled creatively. Here are just a few fun things I noticed:
My husband and I don't really do Valentine's Day. We used to, when we were young and first dating. In fact, I recall a few gifts that I certainly hope my daughters' boyfriends do not buy them when they are 16. But while we do write each other cards, we stopped exchanging gifts for minor holidays, although he does often buy me an orchid plant (my favorite flower to try to keep long-term), which I'm generally able to keep alive for about six months. Who doesn't love fresh flowers, especially in the winter? (Of course, with two little kids, we'll be lucky if we can sneak off to dinner alone together. Calling all babysitters.)
It might be snobby, but I'm not really a fan of red rose bouquets or carnations; they just feel very predictable. I'm attracted to more lush, interesting flowers like ranunculus, anemone, peonies, and of course, orchids. I love this low, tight arrangement (above) from Olive and Cocoa. The vessel is simple but lovely, and more interesting to me than any theme-y Valentine's Day vase, and something I'd definitely use again. Red's my favorite color so of course I like the shades of the blooms, especially the dark ones. What I really love are the little red mokara orchids at the top, which are the same kind as were tied onto curly willow branches that trailed down from my wedding bouquet. I like the idea of giving an arrangement rather than a bouquet, but that's my personal preference.
Also, I'm not saying that you necessarily have to go this fancy, but before defaulting to red roses, think about your partner's true favorite flower. Taking note of that and offering even a few stems is more meaningful than a big bouquet just for the sake of Valentine's Day, in my opinion.
If your loved one isn't a fan of flowers, there are always edible treats. Chocolate is ubiquitous, but again, think of what your partner really loves. Cheryl's makes really delicious cutout cookies, as good as homemade. My dad was given an assorted box of their cookies for Christmas 2012 and we devoured that sucker. They have several gift options at a variety of price points. The "long-stemmed" cookie arrangement is kind of funny, and the best part about giving an edible treat is you'll probably get to have some, too.
Do you go all out or keep it small to celebrate Valentine's Day? Or do you think it's a ridiculous holiday perpetuated by the industrial greeting card complex?
When I wrap holiday gifts, I try to choose a different color scheme or pattern each year and I pick two coordinating papers. My theme this year is candy; one paper is a multi-colored diagonal stripe and the other is a candy/bon bon pattern in a similar palette. I sometimes hand-make the gift tags, though they're not very fancy (a cute cookie cutter and patterned or construction paper can go a long way).
I choose papers that are bold, bright, and graphic. Basically, really cheerful patterns that are seasonally relevant, but not too traditional or juvenile, and I usually stay away from papers that are strictly red and green (though I did make an exception for the ugly sweater paper). I think it looks more sophisticated and interesting. If you like your gifts to stand out, here are ten wrapping papers and four gift tags/labels I think are a lot of fun.
Hay gift wrap image via connox.com, all other images via retailers linked to
Fun little extras to add to the stockings!
images via retailers listed
My favorite part of giving gifts is that moment when the person opens the package, sees what the item is, and you can tell from their expression that you nailed it. I spend a lot of time carefully thinking about the right gifts for each person we give to, and even when I go a little over budget, it's usually worth it to achieve that perfect fit.
I still have a lot of shopping to do for my own family, but I put together a few things that I hope can help you as you shop for yours. Let me know what you like!
images via retailers listed
I'm planning to share my gift ideas tomorrow, plus other holiday-related posts later this week, so to start off the week, I wanted to share an oldie but a goodie that I've never had a chance to feature before. I think this giant gift bow light would look great in an entry way or at the end of a hall. It's so festive, but I like it so much I'd leave it up year round.
image via generate
These bracelets and vases don't really have anything to do with one another, but with the similar palette and materials, and some special details, these feminine pieces felt like a nice match-up.
Ria Leigh's ceramic Basic Shapes bracelets come in beautiful glazed color options and I love the shapes, especially the kind-of-edgy geometric lavender style. I'm sensitive to most metal jewelry, so I have to limit how long I wear metal pieces. I'm always on the lookout for accessories made of ceramic, resin, fabric, or other materials so I don't have to worry about a reaction or the color of the metal changing. I feel like these could also go a little 80s, which is just another reason to like them.
Nendo's Dress Up vases, also ceramic, are pastel-hued as well, but have the sweetest detailing--each vase has a different collar style at the top rim. From one side, they look like normal round-edged vases but on the other, they feature a little cutout collar shape traditionally associated with either a father, mother, and child. Plus, it's always nice to have a few small vases on hand for arranging flowers, and these look interesting even when they're empty.
Basic Shapes bracelets by Ria Leigh, $45 each, Frye Art Museum Store
Dress Up vases by Nendo, $25-$38 each or $95 for all three, Fitzsu
When I was younger, I was a voracious reader and tore through several books a week. Oh, to have the time for that again. It helps when you are also an insomniac starting from a young age (although, now that my 4 year old is following this pattern, I'm not sure how great it is). I also loved to make up stories about people and what they did and where they went. For better or worse, I have a vivid imagination.
So when I see the Brownstone Bookcase from The Land of Nod, all I can think is: amazing dollhouse. Yes, it looks great with some books and toys, but how fun would it be to style at least some of this piece as a dollhouse? Decorate some of the shelves, grab some dolls and stuffed friends, and you (or, you know, your child…) could entertain yourself for hours creating lives for the dolls and imagining their interactions. I would have a ton of fun making up stories with my daughters about the apartment dwellers within. At least one shelf would be an Auntie Mame-style penthouse with revolving decor.
On the practical side, having the option to close the doors and hide away the toys and books when they're less than neat is a nice plus. The modern design certainly goes with what we have in my house, and I like that it has the natural wood tone as well, so it wouldn't feel overly matchy-matchy with my daughter's white bed and dresser. It is pricier than a simple bookcase, but if your kids are interacting with it on a level beyond organization, it could be worth the additional cost. I love that it could serve more than one function, and of course, I'm partial to anything city-related, so I think it looks super cute.
Brownstone Bookcase, $599, landofnod.com
images via the land of nod
One of the shops I miss most in New York is Michele Varian. She has an incredible mix of product: There are always interesting, quirky and beautiful pieces for home (including pillows by Michele herself) and lovely jewelry; most of the products are made by independent artists.
New in her shop are these stunning porcelain containers handmade in Brooklyn by Beetle & Flor. I love the simplicity of the shape paired with the colors and patterns of the African napkin wrapped around each container with a simple leather tie.
Safe for food like pastas and rice, these cylindrical boxes would also be amazing containers for bathroom accoutrements like cotton balls and swabs, makeup brushes. I would actually love to get one of the smaller sizes to put on my desk to corral pens, scissors, etc.
TONIGHT - trunk show from 6-9pm at Michele Varian, 27 Howard St. NYC
Tonight is the first Process Series Trunk Show at the shop featuring Beetle & Flor and other designers, brought to you by Michele Varian and Etsy. Michele has curated the trunk shows which feature products from emerging designers and will exhibit photos, tools, and moulds, providing insight into the artists' processes. The work shown will illustrate how each designer takes their inspiration from nature and interprets it differently. The trunk show opening tonight (with Prosecco!) will be up through Sunday.
images via michele varian
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