Aiding And Abetting

Got a friend who is your partner in crime?  You know--the one who turns an ordinary night out into an epic adventure for the record books?

This is a friend you want to honor with a wink and smile, and something worthy your hijinks!  

Bourbon & Boots celebrates co-conspirators with Thelma & Louise, Butch & Sundance, or Bonnie & Clyde etched cocktail glasses for $39.00 a pair.  

As Bourbon & Boots says, "Celebrate the girl that pushes you to do unbelievable and outrageous things...For the best friends who always have the wind in their hair, and the law hot on their heels and enjoy celebrating their friendship with a toast to each other."

Spice It Up:  Cocktail glasses are great, but if you're truly Thelma & Louise worthy you need an elixir handy.  These clever Trixie & Milo Flasks at $29.00 each are a perfect match to the glasses, and they have numerous styles to suit your friend's personality.  I especially like their packaging with the decorated cardboard gift box.

On your gift card inscribe the wise words of Thelma:  
"Louise, no matter what happens, I'm glad I came with you."

Where to Buy: The cocktail glasses can be purchased directly from Bourbon & Boots online.  The Flasks are from Trixie & Milo which can be purchased from them directly or I have seen them in numerous gift shops.  In Dallas, you can find them at Froggies, Betty Lou, etc.

Snowball Express

Some of the best memories of childhood are playing in the snow, making snow angels, sledding, and having snowball fights.  Simple, pure, fun!

Capture that unbridled joy with this Indoor Snowball Fight for $29.99.  Even if you have no snow this year, your kids can celebrate with an epic snowball fight without hurting each other or breaking your favorite vase!

I gave this gift to my niece last Christmas, and it was hands down the favorite toy of the day.  Not only did she love it, but all of the adults joined in the fun to toss snowballs at each other throughout the day.  Surprise attacks ensued around each corner of the house!

So, are you the favorite Aunt/Uncle/Grandparent/Friend coming over on Christmas Eve or Hannukah?  Bring a bucket of Indoor Snowball fun and you will be the hero!  This makes a terrific Christmas Eve fun gift to open for kids who are anxiously waiting Santa, or a memorable night of Hannukah.

And, of course, it is completely electronics/battery free--simple good fun to get kids of all ages off the couch.  The snowballs are the one toy everyone will play with throughout the winter.  Even in July we broke out the snowballs for some impromptu fun!

Spice It Up:  Step up your snowball fight game with blow up shields at $24.99 which serve to deflect errant snowballs! 

Tip:  Used gift wrap tubes are effective bats for the snowballs.  Help your kiddo defend their turf by building an "igloo" (a.k.a. a Fort) of white sheets or blankets. 

Also, the shields come with 6 snowballs, but for effective enjoyment I recommend the bucket of 40 snowballs if you have to choose.

Good Grief Charlie Brown!

In honor of today's premiere of the new Peanuts movie, I am selecting gifts for all you Snoopy fans out there!  Charles Schulz created one of the most endearing comicstrips. We all grew up enjoying their hijinks, and more importantly learned to be a bit kinder watching Charlie Brown and his misadventures.

I am a diehard Peanuts fan.  Yes, as a kid, I had both Snoopy & Belle and collected all of their outfits!

Pottery Barn Teen (aka PB Teen) has several Peanuts themed items to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of a Charlie Brown Christmas.

As a Snoopy fan and dog lover, I think this cute Snoopy & Woodstock pillow for $39.50 is going under the tree just for me!  

Snuggle up this winter in flannel Peanuts sheets for $32.50, and cozy Peanuts Pajamas at $69.00 per pair.

 Perfect to sit by the fire, sip hot cocoa, and watch the Peanuts kids make a limp little Christmas tree into something special!

Spice It Up:  Honor your Peanuts fan with a donation to support the Charles Schulz museum.  In this modern era of animation, it is good to support a museum which will preserve the heritage of a beloved and legendary cartoonist and his Peanuts gang!

The Charles Schulz Museum is a true gem--the architecture of the building and the design of the exhibits are beautiful!  A true homage to Peanuts and Charles Schulz.  From Schulz' initial drawings, to the historical timeline of Peanuts, to artistic interpretations of his work, the museum delights at every turn,

If you haven't been, and you're up near Napa, take a detour to Santa Rosa for a charming tour of the ice rink and museum.  I had the opportunity to visit them last year when I was in the area for a friend's wedding (a shout out to Emmy, the bride, and Devon, my fellow Peanuts fan!).

Need Peanuts Toys, Clothes or other accessories? There are so many wonderful Peanuts logo items, but the best place to find them is at Snoopy's Gift Shop at Snoopy's Home Ice in Santa Rosa, California.  This is the skating rink that Charles Schulz built for his neighborhood kids, and the one he frequented daily for 30+ years.

Snoopy's gift shop has everything from original Peanuts comic strips, to tshirts, to lunchboxes, etc. There are more items available next door at the Schulz Museum gift shop as well.

Keep Calm and Put the Kettle On

The Brits are known for their love of and skill at making a good cuppa tea.  The secret?
 Aside from piping hot water and good tea leaves, is to be sure you have the right teapot to steep it in.  The Brown Betty is the legendary and favored teapot throughout England.

I purchased one myself several years ago, and am a complete convert.  At first, I thought who would buy this dark brown teapot when there so many cute china patterned ones?  
The teapot dates back to 1695 in Stoke-On-Trent in Staffordshire where the local craftsman developed the Brown Betty teapot from the indigenous red clay.  This pottery allows for the perfect heating and steeping of the tea.  In addition, the special shape of the pot prevents drips when you pour.  

The Brown Betty can be purchased in England, or to save yourself the cost of international shipping, is available through a U.S. importer called the English Tea Store.  The Brown Betty comes in 2, 4, 6, and 8 cup sizes ranging in price from $25.99 to $36.99 (U.S. Dollars).  I prefer the 8-cup which is what you would imagine a standard size for a teapot.  They carry the cobalt blue version, but traditionalists prefer the brown glaze.

Be careful of knockoffs--a true brown betty will have a certificate or tag from Staffordshire telling you which ceramicist hand crafted the pot.  The English Tea Store features Cauldon Ceramics which is one of the heritage ceramicists in Staffordshire.  Cauldon Ceramics sells directly and offers many Brown Betty varieties, but, again, the international shipping is more expensive.

Spice It Up:  Make your gift truly special with a British themed tea cosy from Jan Constantine ranging from $27.00-$120.00 (British pounds).  The tea cosy is placed over the teapot after you pour your hot water in with your tea.  This allows the teapot to stay warm, and keep the liquid at the perfect temperature to enjoy while visiting with your friends.

The Union Jack is one the most recognizable British emblems, and is especially fitting for a british teapot and tea cosy.  Jan Constantine is a British designer who specializes in handstitched  pillows, throws, etc.  Her haberdashery designs are so popular she has translated them to china, and other featured accessories.
Add a few tea cups to go with your cute tea cosy!  

While you can order directly from Jan Constantine's website, it may be expensive to ship internationally.  Many of her products can be found on Amazon or through U.S. retailers like The Bees Knees with Tea Cosies for $135.00 (U.S. Dollars). 

Game Day Gear

Rah Rah Rah, Sis Boom Bah!  The weather is cool, the leaves are turning, and it's time for College Football!

Do you show your team spirit by wearing your school colors? Well, take it up a notch with these College Game Day Sweaters from Tipsy Elves at $64.95 per sweater in both men's/women's styles. Like most fans, I believe the louder the gear, the better the winning karma for your team!

Tipsy Elves's sweaters take a nod from the tacky Christmas sweater and blend your favorite team logos and colors to create the ultimate fall sports gear.

I first learned about Tipsy Elves sweaters by a friend who was proudly wearing one--needless to say, he was quite the stand out in the crowd!

The photos do not do these sweaters justice--they are terrific in person.  Also, I can vouch the sweaters are of high quality (unlike some logo apparel) and tailored nicely.

So, get ready for game day by donning one yourself, shipping one to your favorite college student, or putting one away for Christmas/Hannukah as those Bowl Games approach!

Spice It Up: Go full on Gridiron with these snappy Touch Down crew socks from Arthur by Rob Kardashian (I know--I can't believe I'd ever recommend a Kardashian related product) available at Nordstrom for $15.00 per pair.  

Cute and fun, they complete your outfit for any fall Football weekend or Fantasy Football Draft party!

 See related post:  Juju for the Ultimate Sports Fan

It's a Marshmallow World in the Winter!

T-Minus 59 days and counting until Christmas!

Growing up in Dallas, Neiman Marcus always factored into our holiday traditions:  from holiday lunches at the Zodiac room, to visiting Santa downtown, to perusing their lush holiday decorations, to elegant NM Christmas gift wrap.  Each year, my mother always selected a small gift from Neiman's for each family member (of course, back in the day it was easier to find inexpensive treasures).

The annual Neiman's Christmas book is out, and in keeping with mother's tradition, I'm crazy for these darling Snowflake Marshmallows at $10.00 per pack (6 large marshmallows per pack).

Need a holiday hostess gift, a Hannukah gift, a stocking stuffer, or gift for your kids' teachers?  This is the easiest quick gift--buy several packs and keep them on hand to grab when you're headed to a holiday party or forgot someone on your list.

Spice It Up:  Marshmallows always pair well with Hot Chocolate.  Spice up your gift with Neiman's Saxon's Hot Chocolate in their signature holiday keepsake tin.  At $25.00 per tin, it is a lovely offering.

Alternatively, to keep your total gift price down, pair the marshmallows with a hot chocolate from your local gourmet grocer.  One of my favorites is Silly Cow Hot Chocolate packaged in reusable old fashioned milk bottles.  Silly Cow is available at many grocers, and currently you can find it at World Market in Peppermint, Pumpkin and Maple flavors for only $5.99 per bottle.

The Marshmallows and Silly Cow combined are only $16.00--a reasonable holiday gift!  And, who doesn't love hot chocolate and marshmallows in winter? Dee-lish!

Rev Up Those Resolutions!

With the New Year upon us, we all resolve to make new changes and keep our resolutions.  Whether it is torturing yourself at the gym, giving up chocolate, ditching that cheatin' boyfriend, or just focusing on positive thinking, it is tough to stick to your goals after a few weeks.

Mantra Bands has created an elegant and sensible way to keep your resolution ever present on your mind, and on your wrist in a stylish bracelet.  Choose from a list of inspirational words/sayings in either silver, gold, or rose gold.  This is a great New Year's gift or birthday gift for that special friend/mother/sister who is attempting to see their resolution through to fruition, or for a friend going through a divorce, breakup, grief, etc.

Spice It Up:  Any resolution or self-improvement plan is bolstered through exercise.  Pair the Mantra Band bracelets with these fun inspirational socks called Notes To Self.

I like them because they have a variety of sayings which will be covered by your sneaker, but give you a secret affirmation as you wear them.  Of course, if you are headed to yoga class,you'll be the envy of all your classmates when your downward dog pose reveals Brave on the soles of your feet!

Where to buy:  Mantra Bands can be purchased online directly from their website.  They range in price from $25.00-$35.00.  Check out the cool box they are packaged in which enhances the gift and makes me want to buy more than one!

The inspirational socks can be purchased online directly at Notes to Self, or you can check their retail locator for stores near you. Several area Hallmark Stores carry the socks.  Prices range from $9.99-$10.99 paid depending on the style (anklet or crew).  These socks are high quality and are made of a nice feeling fabric.  At this low price, you can bundle a few pairs to make a whimsical gift.