Blew Out My Flip Flop...

Some things go out of style, and you're thankful.  Others leave you wondering why such a great product disappeared.  I am happy to report that one of my favorite defunct items is back with a vengeance:  Tiddies Flip Flops!

Do you remember them from the late 80s early 90s?  Ah, yes, the somewhat naughty named flip flops that everyone wore back in the day.  Aside from making me giggle, Tiddies are incredibly comfortable.  Thick cushioned flip flops with soft rubber straps make you feel like you are walking on air.

I've bought several pairs to give as Christmas gifts this year.  They are great for summer fun, resort wear, retro birthday gifts, and holiday gifts for anyone who sported them back in the day or those cool hipster college kids of today.

Spice It Up:  Oh, how I wanted to match the Tiddie's with a vintage Pat Magee's t-shirt!  I searched high and low, but Pat Magee's closed its last shop in 2002.  So, my runner up retro t-shirt is a Panama Jack.  Yes, we are dipping into that Weekend At Bernie's look and it is total greatness.

Feeling uber nostalgic?  Remember those corduroy OP shorts? Unfortunately, those are long gone, but you can purchase OP swimwear at WalMart.  Happily, the Hawaiian Jams store is still open in Honolulu, but I'll give you fair warning their new styles don't look anything like the board shorts with big flower prints of the 80s.

Last, but not least, you must top off the retro beach look with some sporty sunglasses.  Yes, the blue reflective lenses are back "in."  In my mind, these were the "Rob Lowe"style Wayfarers as opposed to the traditional "Tom Cruise" black Raybans from Risky Business--such a fashion dilemma!

It dates me a bit to admit I wore all of these items the first go-round, but I'll sooth my antique ego by sipping a margarita and listening to Jimmy Buffet...Blew out my flip flop...stepped on a pop top... 

Where to Buy:  Tiddies sandals $39.99, Panama Jack T-Shirt $16.00, Rayban Wayfarers $149.50 (cheap knockoffs available at WalMart & Target for $8.00-$12.00--they even have the neon colors for the rims)

If you're looking for great Surf nostalgia, check out the Texas Surf Museum in Corpus Christi, TX.  Pat Magee is featured as one of the legendary Texas surfers.

Poppin Good Times

Growing up, the holidays always included watching Peanuts' Thanksgiving and Christmas specials on TV.  As a child, I secretly fantasized that our Turkey would burn and we would have Popcorn/Jelly Beans/Toast for dinner ala Snoopy in the Peanuts' Thanksgiving!

To honor your Thanksgiving host(s) for their hospitality (and provide some good football watching snacks) give them this handy Microwave Popcorn Popper from Sur Le Table.  It fits right in the microwave, and pops fresh kernels for movie style popcorn (much better than those burnt microwave bags).  This popper is glass, reusable, dishwasher safe, and has a handle for ease.  It also has a top that allows you to drizzle butter and other  fixings while it pops. 

This gift is perfect for Thanksgiving, Hannukah/Christmas, New Years Eve/Day host gift, Birthday or Graduation.

Spice It Up:  Include a jar of kernels, and add these delicious toppings to make gourmet popcorn.  They have several seasonings, but the Asiago Pepper flavor is tops!

I've always loved caramel corn, and this topping allows you to mix and melt over the popcorn a quick Buttery Caramel Drizzle popcorn treat.  Delish!

Even better--they are all Gluten Free!

For those serious popcorn lovers, add this recipe book "Popcorn Treats" by Hannah Miles which has detailed recipes to make a variety of popcorn snacks.  

Or, include a DVD of a favorite movie for the perfect Movie Watching night.

Alternative:  For those college kids living in dorm rooms or New Yorkers who simply don't have the storage space, try this alternative popper by Lekue at Sur Le Table that is collapsible and pops up like the old jiffy pops in the microwave. 

P.S.: This gift is so easy and perfect for so many different friends and age groups.  I liked it so much I bought 4 of the glass poppers yesterday, and have them stacked in my closet ready to give for Christmas gifts!

Where to buy: Sur Le Table carries all of these items.  Glass Microwave Popper $24.95, Jar of Kernels $6.95, Seasonings $5.00, Drizzle Topping $4.95, Lekue Collapsible Popper $25.00.  "Popcorn Treats" Book is available at some Sur Le Table stores and at Barnes & Noble $12.95

Back in the Gifting Groove!

Well friends it has been a difficult year for me.  My father passed away unexpectedly in late August after the cancer returned.  

Though this will be a tough holiday season for my family, I am happily surprised to find I have the itch to get back to writing Gift Pepper.  So, thank you for your patience as I get my "gifting groove" back!  

Heads up for a terrific Thanksgiving hostess/host gift later today...

I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke...

My father grew up in a small town in Louisiana, and in High School worked as a soda jerk at the Dixie Drug in Vivian.  Those idyllic afternoons making cherry cokes instilled in him a love for Coca-Cola.  A true Coke traditionlist, he only drinks the short bottles (they taste better than the can), and on any given afternoon you can catch him with his "short coke" in hand.

For Father's Day, my friends Kristin & Brian T. led me to this terrific new product for Coke aficionados.  Riedel, the much heralded wine glass maker, has launched a glass specifically for the enjoyment of Coca-Cola.  This unique glass captures and enhances the flavors of the soda. Considering their reputation among wine sommeliers, Riedel's Coke glasses are sure to be a winner for Coke devotees!

Spice It Up:  Wrap this gift with a six-pack of the short Cokes, or the larger bottles of Mexican coke made with the old-school sugar cane recipe.  Then, for an added touch, include a vintage Coca-Cola bottle opener.  These wall mount openers are surprisingly handy for soda, beer, etc.keeping you ready to pop a top!

Alternative Gift:  If you are from Texas, Dr. Pepper may be your passion. I am sure the Riedel glasses work equally well for Dr. Pepper.  The short six packs & vintage bottle openers are available for Dr. Pepper--just remember 10-2-4.

Where to Buy:  The Riedel glasses are available at Bed Bath & Beyond for $16.99 single glass or $24.99 for pack of two glasses.  Six-pack cokes are available at most grocery stores approximately $4.99. Vintage bottle openers (old style, but not true antiques) run from $5.00-$20.00 at your local antique mall, Amazon or ebay.  

Note: Be careful, as many vendors will try to pass off the the bottle openers as antiques in order to charge you more.  Go for the less expensive reproductions unless you are a die-hard Coca-Cola brand collector.

Gift Pepper is back in action!

Gift Pepper is back in action after a brief hiatus!  Due to a family member's illness, I took a break from blogging.  The good news is my father is doing better, and I am bursting with great new gift ideas to share on Gift Pepper!

As a teaser for the good things to come, I'll start you off with a tip for some quick unique gifts.  Nordstrom has started a Pop In Shop within the store called "Wit & Wonder."  It is usually in the center of the store by the escalator where they have sourced hip gifts from Etsy and other websites.

These are not your run-of-the-mill mass produced department store gifts--they are clever, hip and ready to go (especially when I don't have time to scour the web and have an item shipped).  From whimsical pillowcases for Anniversary or Wedding, to copper tankards (Moscow Mule drinks) for Father's Day, to dorm room placards for Graduation Gifts and more.

I found this terrific pillow for my sister-in-law for Mother's Day.  I love the muted turquoise color with the cat and the perfect saying, "Cray Cray."  It is an inside joke name we use in our family, and we all got a laugh about the pillow.  My sister-in-law said my niece confiscated the pillow to her room as soon as they got home--a sign of a truly great gift when your kid steals it from you!

Gift Pepper Preview...

Some Nordstrom stores feature their Pop In Store Surf City shops by the escalators too.  Pop In Stores will change seasonally. Expect new gift ideas later this week at Gift Pepper from Nordstroms' cool beachy boutique.

Along with my traditional gift posts, I will be adding a new feature for memorable gift experiences for kids. Think Camp Counselor meets Auntie Mame meets Neiman Marcus Fortnight--great ideas for kids during summer vacation when "I'm bored" becomes a constant refrain.