It's Day Three of Kate's Favorite Things (and likely the final day... but who knows, there might be more)! I had high hopes of doing many days of this (it is seriously fun to log all of my favorite things), but I'm getting foot surgery tomorrow and will need to take a little hiatus from the blogosphere. I had hoped to cover clothing gifts at some point (amongst many, many other things!), but I just haven't gotten my act together. Forgive me, please? I promise when I'm back to blog all about my favorite fashion picks! In the meantime, I'll give you a tip: Whether you're shopping for a guy or a gal, just go to J.Crew and call it a day. Cashmere sweaters and accessories. Plaid shirts. 30% off. Done. Everyone loves themselves some cashmere sweaters, cozy accessories and wintery plaid shirts come December, and I'm sure that whatever you choose will look ravishing on the recipient and envelop them in your friendly, loving gesture.
But if you don't necessarily want to give clothes... read on! Today's topic is HOME, and I am super excited about everything on this list. Prices range from $10 to $160, and you can't go wrong with any of these items. Enjoy!
Kate's Favorite Things - Home Edition!
Crate & Barrel Camille 23 oz. Red Wine Glass, $10.36 each (on sale from $12.95), from Crate & Barrel
Are you a Scandal watcher? I thought so. I'll bet you've noticed that Olivia Pope likes to relax at the end of the day with a ginormous glass of wine. I'll bet you like the glasses she drinks out of. Who wouldn't? They're awesome.
THIS THE GLASS SHE DRINKS OUT OF. Unfortunately, I'm not the only person who figured this out, and the rest of the world has placed an order and drained C&B's supply, so they're backordered until March. But I have hope that they'll ship sooner. If you've got a real Scandal fan (and a fan of elegantly ginormous wine glasses), I'll bet they're willing to wait a few months to get their hot little hands on these bad boys so that they too can relax at the end of a hard day of crisis control and totally inappropriate affairs whilst wearing the white hat.
Crate & Barrel also has a smaller 13 oz. white wine glass that's a little less cool and isn't quite what Olivia owns, but it has the bonus of being available for consumption now and also isn't so comically large.
Compagnie de Provence Olive Lavender Perfume Diffuser, $25.00, from Compagnie de Provence
I recently tested every lavender scented diffuser that the Gracious Home store had to offer. I bought two, this one (which I'm raving about now) and this one (beautiful and smells amazing up very close, but it overall packs very little punch - also beware that if it drips on a wood surface, it will eat away the finish). The Compagnie de Provence Olive Lavande diffuser is far and away the most incredible scent I've ever smelled. You know by now that I love lavender... but I never would have thought that mixing it with olive would produce such an intensely delightful experience. It smells like fresh air and Provence. It's refreshing, relaxing and just generally amazing. I put ours in the bedroom and plan to place a few more throughout the apartment. Give this to any Francophile or lover of things that smell amazing. And trust me: buy one for yourself.
One note: The company claims that this will last 8-10 weeks. I don't know how that is possible. Mine lasted almost exactly a month (I distinctly remember buying it on Veterans' Day), and the oil has been aggressively wicked away to the last drop. I don't know if I had particularly thirsty reeds or if all of the diffusers are like this, but it's worth mentioning. And perhaps that's why it makes a room smell so darn phenomenal (the other diffuser that I bought has barely budged, but you also barely notice the scent). I am not a fan of how quickly this diffuser must be replaced, but it certainly hasn't stopped me from placing another order (and I just learned that they sell a refill, though it's out of stock). Once you smell this scent, you won't be able to live without it.
Venturi Wine Aerator, $29.95 (on sale from $39.95), from Williams Sonoma
This little thing is just awesome, and everyone should have one in their home. It's a little wine aerator and it works magic by frothily aerating your wine as you pour it into your glass. It makes a very bizarre and distinct sucking/gurgling sound that you'll come to associate with the delightful experience. Give it to everyone on your list who likes wine; buy one for yourself too.
Mariposa Individual Pearled Wavy Bowl, $48.00, from Mariposa
My obsession with Mariposa began in 2010 when my friend Stephanie gave us this bowl as a shower gift. The undulating lines paired with the pearl trim are just gorgeous, and the silver is beautiful. It's a great piece to have in the living room. I like to leave it empty, but it would also beautifully display nuts or candies for a party.
Jo Malone™ 'English Pear & Freesia' Scented Home Candle, $65 from Norstrom.com
Jo Malone is just synonymous with luxury. I've been giving the Lime, Basil & Mandarin candle as a gift for years whenever I want to give something extra special, but I actually did not get to have the privilege of owning one of my very own until last year, when my friend Emily gave me the English Pear & Freesia version. OMG is it incredible. I actually squealed with glee when I got the package -- the package comes just bursting with beautiful scent (I think they spray the box down so it's extra scentsational) and triggers instant euphoria, and as you tear into it, the scent just gets more magnificent, decadent and all-consuming. Emily also gave me the Lime, Basil & Mandarin body crème, $75, which I am pretty certain is heaven in a jar.
Waylande Gregory Green Leopard Print Coasters, $90, from Zhush.com
I'm moderately obsessed with Waylande Gregory pottery and home goods. I learned of him for the first time when Matt and I were in California over the summer, and now I am hooked. Waylande Gregory (1905-1971) was an artist and art deco sculptor from Kansas (yes!) credited with revolutionizing art deco ceramics sculpture. Now his name lives on with Waylande Gregory Studios after the great-grandnephew discovered "a treasure trove" of Waylande's work. Everything from the collection is fantastic -- I seriously cannot pick a favorite, as you'll see below -- but these coasters are a nice price point, super useful (we all need coasters and never think to buy them for ourselves) and that emeraldy green color is just incredible. As is the fabulous leopard. I'm obsessed.
Simon Pearce Woodbury Bowl - S, $95.00, from Simon Pearce
Everything about this piece is beautiful and elegant and would fit into any home. Our Aunt Susan gave this to us as an engagement gift, and I've just loved it ever since. Simon Pearce is a sure bet for holiday gift giving.
Waylande Gregory Small Tiger Gray Bullet Bowl, $135, from Orange and Pear
These little bullet bowls are adorable and a nice little size (4.5" across) to add a pop to your side table. They're also great for holding little things like earrings or rings next to your bed. There are a lot of different options, but I like this tiger. Its lines are very elegant and feminine, but the coloring is masculine, so the overall look of the bowl is not overtly girly. This brown leopard version is also really great.
Note, the bowl is a little bit elevated (1.5") and tapered on the bottom. It's hard to see in the photo, but it's an elegant touch and helps the bowl look a bit more dainty.
Waylande Gregory Gold and Orange Small Square Elephant Tray, $160, from Zhush.com
I'm just obsessed with every aspect of this dish, for reasons you can probably guess based on my previous posts: elephants, orange, gold, whimsy, and a touch of practicality. I love when whimsy and practicality meet! This dish is just the shizz. We happened upon it when we were in San Francisco and bought it as a wedding gift -- and liked it so much that we bought an extra one for ourselves... it's a tad embarrassing to admit, but having this dish in my living room is totally worth the shame.
I'm sure I will be back in a few days, but if not, I hope you have the happiest of holidays!! Let me know what you give as gifts!
Well, I'm in love. I just welcomed a new member into the family last night, and he's so darn cute, I just want to stare at him all the time and coo at his cheeky, gilded cuteness.
I spotted this gold pig bookends set of 2, $29.95, on CB2's website a few days ago. (Okay, fine, I'll admit it: I fell for a "Sponsored Link" on Facebook, and that's how I ended up at CB2's website. I never would have even thought to go to the CB2 website, let alone to buy a set of pig bookends. Those ads work! They work, alright?! Silly targeted marketing. I hate you and I love you all at the same time.)
Soon after seeing this happy little pig online - and for only $29!? - my obsessive nature kicked into overdrive and I couldn't stop thinking about it. I needed to have this pig bookend set in my home immediately. But I hesitated to order online: 1) CB2 can be hit or miss (and is often a miss for me), and I tend to conduct my CB2 purchases in store so I can verify that it is in fact a worthy purchase; and 2) if this fine swine were in fact a worthy purchase -- as I suspected it would be based on my own discerning eye and the 4.6 star rating it had earned from 52 reviewers (excellent sample size!) on CB2.com -- I didn't think I could wait the 3-5 business days that it would take for my little piggy to come all the way home to me. I needed him, and I needed him now. (Full disclosure: I'm getting foot surgery next Thursday, so my sense of urgency isn't totally insane - it's just a little bit insane. The surgery also somewhat helps explain why I want a smiling, gilded, bifurcated pig in my home to cheer me up when I'm laid up in bed. Surgery or not, I enjoy cheeky animal decor.)
And so, despite better judgment (better judgment would tell me to go home and ice my foot), I concocted a plan to hobble over to CB2 on my way home from work last night (it's only a block from the subway!) and see what this golden hog was all about. When I got to the store, I wandered around aimlessly "testing out seating" (when you have a hurt foot in a furniture store, "testing" the seating is a great way to get a little break) and examining price tags until - BAM! - jackpot: There in gilded glory was a whole bookcase full of gold pig bookends; and one smiling, curly tailed set was definitely coming home with me. The pigs were in the back of the store, as if CB2 knew people like me would come in just to see them and would be forced to wander around the entire store first before finally finding them. Well done, CB2. Well done, indeed. (Did this cause me to buy anything else? Of course it did. A gift for our "Yankee Swap" at work next week. You're welcome, CB2, for that extra purchase; and you're welcome, as-yet-unknown-coworker-who-will-be-receiving-my-excellent-$15-to-$30-gift-next-Friday-while-I'm-at-home-on-painkillers.)
The bookends are a little more yellow than they are in the online photo, but when you're in love, you see past small flaws (and the in-you-face gold adds to the kitschy charm). The bookends are made out of polyresin (I mean, whatever that is - ecofriendly, right?) and finished to look like wood, and they are heavy. As the gal who checked me out (who couldn't have been nicer) was wrapping them up for me, she turned to me and remarked, "Man, you could really knock someone out with these!" (True, but let's not go there.) "They'll really hold up your books!" (I would certainly hope so given their express purpose, but yes, also true.) "I mean, they're really heavy! This should be an ox or something instead of a pig." (Yes, that's an interesting interpretation of the concept, but then I wouldn't have bought them. I'm really only buying these because they are pig shaped.)
When I got home after my treacherous commute (no cabs! where's the bus! my brilliant plan is foiled!) and with a very swollen foot, I proudly proclaimed to Matt when he saw the CB2 bag that I'd acquired something really exciting and couldn't wait to show him. "Do you want to see our new baby? It's the cutest thing ever. I don't know which part to open first!" I said, tearing into the bag and vigorous unwrapping one of the two papered-up pieces. "Oh! It's his rump!"
"What is that?"
"Pig bookends!" I opened the other half. "Isn't it adorable? Look at his smiling face! Look at his round butt!"
"Why did you get that? How expensive is that?"
"Because. Did you see the adorable smile? $29. Isn't it a steal?"
"I think you've lost your mind a little bit."
"Yeah. But at least you're getting it out of your system before you go under the knife."
At least, indeed. And now I have a cute little set of piggy bookends to keep me company while I recover. The pig's cut in half like my foot will be... Deep, right? Totally inspirational, don't you think?
As expected, in no time at all (30 minutes tops), Matt came around: "Actually, I do like it." (Of course you do. You can't resist that cute little pig face and upturned nose.) "But it would look a lot better with some books in it." (You think?)
I'm glad this little piggy came home. I can't wait to get some books in his belly! But until then, he's just happy hanging out in his new digs. More to come on where I end up putting him...
Happy shopping! And happy weekend!
Gift Giving Season is upon us, which can be both exciting and totally daunting and stressful. I am here to help alleviate the stress!
Over the coming weeks I will share with you a plethora of fun gift giving ideas. Today? The perfect decorating book... for pretty much anyone who likes pretty books and likes to decorate their home (I feel this casts a rather wide net).
The perfect gift is the perfect combination of delightfully unexpected, delightfully perfect and delightfully what-we've-always-wanted. I also think it should be something you wouldn't normally buy for yourself. My friend Stephanie recently surprised me with a gift that was all of these things, and, as you might guess, I was delighted.
What did she give me, you ask? Why, I will tell you so that you too can purchase several and delight your friends and loved ones with this thoughtful and inspiring gift (and keep one for yourself, of course)! It is founding editor of Domino Magazine Deborah Needleman's fabulous book, The Perfectly Imperfect Home: How to Decorate and Live Well, $20.50 at Amazon.com (free two-day shipping for Amazon Prime members). The colors are fabulous, the writing is witty, the advice is practical, the little watercolor paintings are adorable... all of it is just perfect and perfectly delightful. The concept is: "Style is a luxury, and luxury is simply what makes you happy." How fab?! This is a very A La Recherche-y concept, and inspiration and quotes from the book will undoubtedly surface on this blog many times in the future. (Side note, if you, like me, were devastated when Domino Magazine rudely closed several years ago, you'll be as delighted as I am about the recent relaunch, which is just super fun to explore.)
Some gifts should be shrouded in mystery and others are just so darn cute that no wrapping paper or gift bags are needed, and this book is one such gift. Stephanie wrapped the book up in a big red grosgrain ribbon, which perfectly accented the colors in the cover art and also gave me a hint of the absolute joy I was about to experience upon untying the bow (also, who doesn't love to untie a fabulous red bow?). The colors of the cover go so well in my living room (in that imperfectly perfect sort of way) that I couldn't help myself and photographed the book on top of the new Turkish rug I purchased a few weeks ago from the ABC Home & Carpet Warehouse. (The colors are so universal though that they'll go gorgeously in any living room.) The book now sits proudly on my coffee table (an ottoman with a big tray on top), where I can reach for it and browse whenever I want some eye candy, advice or inspiration (which is often).
Where to Buy
The Perfectly Imperfect Home: How to Decorate and Live Well is available for $20.50 at Amazon.com
I am an artist/designer and former financial professional with a background in comparative literature, business and design. I live in New York with my overworked lawyer husband and my two boys Michael and Theo and spend much of my free time dreaming about how to enhance the aesthetics of our little world. I am endlessly inspired and always in search of something new. This is a blog about my search, my inspiration and things I just really, really like or want.