Summer fun is just around the corner, so be ready for pool time with the most awesome pool toy ever:  the Ship Wreck dive toy$24.99
Playing the game Marco…Polo, and diving for loose change only lasts so long before the kids tire of it.  I bought the Ship Wreck for my niece last summer when we had run out of ideas to keep her entertained in the pool. 

The toy hearkens images of the Titanic, and is a hoot to watch sink in the pool.  This is so neat even teens and adults want to dive for the treasure!

As you can tell, from the scale comparison to the Diet Coke can, it is very large and easy to see on the bottom of the pool.  The treasures start inside the boat, and you place the two sides of the ship wreck together.  Then, float it out into the middle of the pool. 
scale comparison to coke can

It will quickly separate and sink, thereby dispersing the treasure around the bottom of the pool.  Each of the items are marked with point values to allow for a competition to see who recovers the most points.

The treasures include: a vault, skull, necklace, ring, various coins, and a shark.  The smoke stacks from the ship are actually removable, and can be part of the dive loot.

The Ship Wreck makes a great gift for: Kids Birthdays, Summer Fun for the Kids or Grandkids, or as host/hostess gift for family BBQs on Memorial Day or 4th of July!

Spice It Up:  If you are giving to a kid, tag on a pair of Speedo goggles so they can see clearly to dive.  Ranging from $8.00-$20.00 
Add a beach towel or fins if you want to really splurge!

Where to Buy: 
Ship Wreck Dive Toy - This is available at various pool supply stores, but I found it easiest to purchase online from the Pool Center.

Note: On the website you will see several dive toys available to buy. I purchased both the Ship Wreck and the Treasure Chest.  While the Treasure Chest is cute, it is significantly smaller than the Ship Wreck.  I recommend spending the extra dollars for the Ship Wreck as it is truly a good bang for your buck!

Speedo Goggles - The goggles are available in most sporting goods stores including: Target, Sports Authority, Academy. 

Lions, and tigers and bears! Oh my!

The school year is coming to a close, and you need to find something unique to thank a special teacher or educator who has helped your child thrive. 

What do you give that is meaningful, but doesn’t add to the clutter of tchotchkes the teacher has received over the years?

A book is the most fitting tribute to a teacher.  Find a book, a classic, which means something to the teacher or the class from that school year.  Or borrow this idea:

The Wizard of Oz

Everyone has read the book or seen the movie, but a nice hard-back version is a lovely gift and one that any teacher would be glad to have in their personal library. 

Inscribe the book and have your child sign it.  Or, if it is a gift from the entire class, have each child sign.

Suggested inscription:  “Thank you for your courage, your wisdom, and your tremendous heart...”

Spice It Up:  Reign this gift in a bit before it becomes too sappy by adding this whimsical bookmark!  Kids and teachers alike will get a kick out of the Wicked Witch’s legs sticking out of the book.  Approximately $20.00

 Where to buy: 

Wizard of Oz Book - the book is available in any bookstore or on Amazon.  Barnes & Noble has several versions ranging from $6.00-$30.00.  The book featured here is $19.95 and is a beautiful illustration of L. Frank Baum’s famous story.

Wicked Witch Bookmark – the bookmarks are available in various stores.  I purchased this one online at Etsy.  The one I purchased came from  a vendor in Ukraine, and took about two weeks to arrive.  The quality is excellent and the bookmark is actually tin (will not tear or break) while the legs appear to be painted paper mache.   $8.99-$25.00


The book and bookmark together will run about $35.00.  This may be more than you want to spend for several teachers. So, I recommend saving this gift it for one truly special person.  Or, just buy one item--either the book or the bookmark.  (The bookmark can be inscribed with a sharpie).

Another cost saving idea is to stop by Half Price Books which carries many hardback books in good condition.

Viva España! ...Swag for your Señor!

Let’s be honest, it is most challenging to buy gifts for men. 

From college boys to grandfathers, men like gadgets which are usually way out of my price range.  While I would love to give him that IPad mini, it’s just not happening!

So, what reasonably priced gift can you find for a guy that isn’t a boring tie?

Front of Bota Bag
Check out this personalized Bota Bag.   It’s funky, hip, and functional!  Approximately $27.00 (see where to purchase below)

A Bota Bag is a traditional Spanish leather bag to carry wine/sangria/spirits much like a flask.   If you have never seen one before, I can guarantee that plenty of hipsters carry them at the Coachella music festival and probably any hippie hanging out on the drag in Austin.
Spice it up:  Add in some Gipsy King tickets, a download of their greatest hits album, and a bottle of Spanish wine!
 While studying abroad in Spain during college, I became a fan of the Gipsy Kings.  Typically, they play outdoor venues which lends a certain festival atmosphere to their concerts.  Bring a picnic of tapas, and fill up his Bota Bag with Sangre De Toro. 
This makes for a great Birthday present or just a celebratory Date Night!
Where to purchase… 
Back of Bota Bag
Bota Bag:  I purchased mine online from Kegworks.  Although it took them 3 weeks to ship it to me, I am pleased with the quality.  The initials are branded nicely, the leather is very soft, and it is stamped with the “Made in Spain” tag on the back verifying authenticity.  Approximately $27.00 

Top of Sangre de Toro Bottle
Wine: You can find many fine Spanish wines in your local liquor stores, but I have always been amused by the little Bull on each bottle of Sangre De Toro. This wine is served at one of my favorite tapas restaurants, Café Madrid. Although it is very inexpensive, it is tasty!  Approximately $7.00 per bottle 


Gipsy Kings - Music: The greatest hits album can be downloaded from

iTunes, or if you are old school, you can order a CD from Amazon.   Approximately $15.00-$20.00   
 Gipsy Kings Concert Tickets: Currently, they are touring to various venues around the U.S. The Gipsy Kings play outdoors in Dallas on April 30th. If you have the chance one of the best places to see them is in Atlanta at Chastain Park – a beautiful venue for music and a picnic.   Approximately $58.00 for lawn seats.
Option 1: If he’s not a fan of the Gipsy Kings, pair the Bota Bag with a t-shirt from one of his favorite festival/jam bands. Depending on his era: Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, Phish, Radiohead, etc. You can buy on most band websites, or t-shirt sites. Try this website called: Slingshot Shirts.   Approximately $20.00 (varies by shirt/band)

Option 2: Find a great Sangria pitcher like the
Las Ramblas pitcher at Crate & Barrel. Add a wooden spoon to stir, and he’s ready to fill his Bota Bag with Sangria!   Approximately $29.95

Guerlain's Rouge G Le Brilliant Lipstick Compact

Looking for the perfect Mother's Day gift for your Wife? A special birthday gift for your Girlfriend? Check out Guerlain's Rouge G Le Brilliant Lipstick Compact - $45.00-$49.50

Note: see engraved name on left side of compact
Ladies are always looking for a compact to keep in their clutch for quick touch-ups, and this is the coolest compact out there.

Originally, I discovered this product while searching for a birthday gift for a friend who is a Francophile. Red lipstick and Guerlain are essentially Parisienne, and this turned out to be a special gift to celebrate a significant birthday.

Guerlain's lipstick compact has a clever James Bond-gadget-like design. I commented on this to the salesgirl when I purchased it, and she revealed that Guerlain insiders cheekily refer to it as A Weapon of Mass Seduction.

Whether she longs for Paris or itches to be a Bond girl, Guerlain's lipstick is perfect.  This gift is also great for Mothers, Grandmothers, Daughters, Sisters, Girlfriends, Graduation Gifts too...just be sure not to mention the saucy reference!

The lipstick comes in a variety of colors. When she finishes off the tube, she can purchase another at the counter (the lipstick portion is replaceable) while keeping the engraved portion of the compact.

Spice It Up: 
The lipstick compact is a neat gift, but make it exceptional by engraving it with her name or initials!

Occasionally, Saks Fifth Avenue & Neiman Marcus will have an engraving event at the Guerlain counter to personalize the compact.  If it is not available when you purchase, just walk it down the mall to Things Remembered for quick same-day engraving.  Depending on the number of letters in the name or initials, the engraving will run approximately $12.00.

Careful when you engrave: once it is engraved you cannot switch out the color before it is gifted as there is a color indicator number on the bottom of the compact. The only way to change it is to buy another lipstick.

Sarah Shane-Kellum (contact her directly at:   Email for Sarah) can help you with your order, and will even loan you their sample tube with the engraving to show Things Remembered exactly how you want it to appear.

Direct link to Guerlain @ Saks Fifth Avenue
Direct link to Guerlain @ Neiman Marcus