Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gift guide: Him + Her

1. Viva Terra Bamboo Radio - Handmade and a nice accent piece, that is both purposeful and beautiful. (image viva terra)

2. Acculevel removable propane tank gauge - Although he might have to wait a while to test it out it will give him something to look forward to in the warmer months. (image amazon)

3. Dress for dinner napkins - A great way to look dapper, even while dining. (image wishingfish)

4. credit card bottle opener - Sleek, easy to store and use. Plus don't you always love being able to save the day? (image fitzsu)

5. Bose quietcomfort 3 acoustic noise cancelling headphones - Great for travel or everyday life for the guy that loves music. (image Bose)

6. Parking Meter Alarm with Quarter Holder - Holds 10 quarters and keeps track of remaining time on the meter, so you can avoid tickets. (image spoon sisters)

7. etsy morelle truffle bag - A gorgeous and feminine catch all style purse. It's even large enough to hold a lap top! (image morelle / Elle Moss)

8. hand embroidered culture + comfort pillow - With a variety of cities and areas these beautiful pillows could provide a colorful reminder or a special time and place. (image uncommon goods)

9. nero shelf - A striking shelf designed by Nanni Holen that is sure to evoke compliments. (image huset shop)

10. object frames - I am still loving these simple, yet bold stated frames to show off your favorite things. (image the.)

11. napa style plant watering - A wonderful way to keep plants alive during a short get away. (image napa style)

12. Bloom flower light - Brighten things up during the dreary winter months. It also makes a great reading light, since it can be clipped virtually anywhere. (image World Wide Fred)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gift guide: For a cause

1. Oregon Scientific +ECO clima control - a solar powered weather station for those who want to play meteorologist - and probably with better results. (image oregon scientific)

2. Battery Wizard - recharge your batteries - even those that aren't meant to be recharged. (image gizoo)

3. Darfur relief beads - Handmade beads that help sustain life for refugees. (image relief beads)

4. cuddly rabbit - a nice cuddly toy that doubles as a warming device. (image Volker Senger / branch home)

5. recycled wreath - A simplistic way to display holiday spirit with a touch of 'being green'. (image uncommon goods)

6. recycled sundial - You can feel a little better about your coffee habits after you purchase this sundial made from coffee cups. (image ecocentric)

7. Reader's Digest homemade - an interesting book that helps you to create homemade solutions for cleaning naturally or creating fresh products you would typically buy. (image Reader's Digest / amazon)

8. easy bloom - For those that have always wanted a green thumb, but need a bit of help. It will tell you what thrives best where you want to plant and includes a plant doctor assistant when you upload data. (image easy bloom)

9. hanging chair - a beautiful flat folding swing for two to get back to nature. (image ecocentric)

10. yoyo ceramics - a reusable solution for list makers and those that are always jotting notes. (image yoyo ceramics)

11. eco artwear wreath - A recycled wreath that can be used season after season. (image Boris Bally / eco artwear)

12. pet alert animal rescue - Window decals to let emergency help know that animals live in your home. (image animal rescue site)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Gift guide: Travel

Since we are currently half way into our trip around the world - somewhere in Asia (most likely Tokyo), travel related items have been very necessary for us for the past few months.

These are a few products that I found while searching, planning, and packing.

1. Light my Fire spork - I love these and have one in virtually every bag that I own. Visiting the grocery in a foreign country is always interesting, especially when you recognize the brands and not the products. This is every utensil in one, so you can buy things along the way and always have the immediate chance to sample them. (image light my fire)

2. Monster pod - a tripod that can even cling to the sides of buildings. I have to admit it makes me a little nervous, but reviewers claim they don't have problems with it. (image monster pod)

3. I heart my city - A playful take on the 'I love NY' shirts. I appreciate that you can love whatever city you are in - and it makes a fun conversation piece. (image forever 21)

4. Travel Scale - If you've ever overpacked and had to unpack at the airport or pay a ton of money this is a very good tool to have. Plus, it's small enough to pack along. (image Kikkerland)

5. States United print - A great homage to my homeland. (image Beauchamping etsy)

6. panorama perfect - This takes the guess work out of making sure your panorama images line up properly. (image photo jojo)

7. World clock - Spend time day dreaming about what you could be doing in a far away land, or make keeping in touch with family and friends a bit easier. They will thank you when you aren't calling them in the middle of the night. (image zero per zero - online shop is link on the bottom left)

8. Lens pen - This is very portable for photographers who want to keep their lenses dust free for spotless images. (image spoon sisters)

9. Trinvo talking translator - I wish that we had bought this before we left, because my Mandarin hasn't really improved too much. We definitely need this on our next trip through Asia. (image trinvo)

10. Mili universal charger - charges 2 devices at once and is compact, sleek, and very practical for international trips. (image Beam Box Mili)

11. Pitotubes - These were created by a flight attendant to make packing liquids and complying with safety rules easier for travelers. They are very sturdy and refillable. (image wishingfish)

12. Spy lens - Since people are often more at ease than when a camera is pointed directly in their face it's easy to catch candid photos along the way. (image photo jojo)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gift guide: Toddler + Pet

1. Threadless YGB shirt - This shirt is perfect for budding horticulturists. I love the colors, the happiness, and the simplicity. If you like it enough, you can get an adult sized one for yourself. (image Threadless)

2. Haba blocks - I adore virtually all of Haba's wooden toys. They are so smooth and imaginative. Their various sets of blocks also have so much character and demonstrate that not every block needs to be a cube or rectangle - many are designed around some of the world's greatest architecture. (image haba)

3. vtech kidizoom digital camera - Art work by children is always interesting, and since they always have an interest in gadgets and electronics this can also help to make them productive. The bonus is that you can score some free art for your walls - with a slightly skewed vantage point. (image vtech)

4. Haba block + tackle - This pulley system toy will help children that love construction and lifting. And once again it's by Haba - need I say more? (image haba)

5. Tire Swing Horse - Many of my favorite memories as a child were playing outside and exploring our big back yard. While I never had a tire swing, I am sure that I would have enjoyed it... especially if it had as much character as this one. (image Target)

6. Wooden fishing play set - This fishing play set is not only beautifully made, but it also contains tiny magnets inside the wood so the fish can be caught. (image MoMA)

7. Kid-O matching shades puzzle - Wooden puzzles are so timeless and beautiful. This one is great for the subtle tints and tones. Kid O has an entire range of beautiful, simple, and practical puzzles. (image Kid O)

8. Pat Says Now computer mouse - These are the most adorable mice that I've ever seen. (some animals may be discontinued) (image pat says now)

For Children with 4 paws
9. Pet Top drinking device - Allows you to adapt any water bottle into an animal friendly water fountain. (image Pet Top)

10. Curve Wall Mounted Pet Bed from Akemi Tanaka - a beautiful and out of the way solution to a cat bed. (image Akemi Tanaka)

11. Critter cord - Protects your cords with plastic, a light citrus scent, and a bitter taste, so that 4 legged friends aren't tempted to gnaw through the cords. I had a bunny growing up and he certainly loved cord chewing, but he didn't like oranges. Sounds like it would work. (image critter cord)

12. Otomik - inventive dog toys that will give anyone a good laugh. (image otomik)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Gift guide: Babies + New Parents

It seems as though even more of my friends are having babies. I guess that's what getting older will do. There are a lot of really adorable gifts on the market that make shopping a bit more of a challenge. These are some that I love.

1. Baby Dam - This an economical and ecological solution to bath time. The only downside is that it fits only in straight sided bathtubs. (image Baby Dam)

2. Mr. Sneeze Forehead Thermometer - My sister and I had this thermometer when we were younger and absolutely loved it. It's less invasive and easy to take along in a bag. (image spoon sisters)

3. Etsy SuperSweetCreations - The t-shirts and onesies with ties are hysterical and a bit sophisticated - not to mention handmade. I love supporting local artisans. (image etsy)

4. The Weanmachine - This is a portable food grinder that helps to feed little ones table food. It quickly enables parents to make a nutritious meal on the go. (image weanmachine)

5. present time monkey door hangers - I first saw these in Paris and fell in love with them. Since then I gift them to anyone I know having a baby or with young children. They come in a variety of colors and are simple, yet modern.

6. Puppy Dog shoes - washable leather shoes that help protect little feet that are learning to walk. (image patina stores)

7. Billy Bob Pacifier - a large array of unique and specialty pacifiers that are sure to get a lot of laughs. (image billy bob products)

8. Knock knock medical organizer - a great place to store all of those new documents from checkups and doctor visits. (image knock knock)

9. Construction Tools - A lot of parents complain about getting their children to eat, so this may be a fun solution. (image flying peas)

10. Hushamok baby hammock - Who doesn't love a hammock? These are made for babies as a stylish option to a bassinet or swing. (image hushamok)

11. etsy Hipoart - This gorgeous rocking horse is made by hand in Kentucky. Undoubtedly it would make a treasured heirloom. (image etsy / HIPo Necessities)

12. etsy allthenumbers - A modern / retro handmade quilt with beautiful colors. (image etsy / all the numbers)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gift guide: Art

1. Photo Canvas - Have a meaningful photo put onto canvas and decorate a special room. (This is a photo from our honeymoon in the Maldives - how nice to wake up to that every day!) (my own image - simply search online or visit a photo shop in your area)

2. Jelly Lens - This helps to transform a camera phone into something better. I actually cringe when I see people use camera phones at meaningful events, but at least these help improve the quality. (image Spoon sisters / Jelly Lens)

3. Superheadz Blackbird camera - When I took photography courses in college I absolutely loved using medium format cameras. This one is beautiful and playful. (image Urban Outfitters)

4. Retro NaNa Tape from etsy - It's great to see creative types using tape more frequently... and the variety is incredible. (image etsy / RetroNaNa)

5. Yashica Portable Scanner - This is a quick and easy way to turn those old 35mm negatives into scanned copies, which make archiving a breeze. (image Yashica - currently only available in Japan)

6. photojojo shortcut mac keyboard skin - A great tool for learners and designers alike. All of the shortcuts are at your fingertips - and not to mention the bright colors make it even more fun. (image photojojo)

7. seat belt camera strap - fun colors and very sturdy. A great gift for the photographer who has everything. (image photo jojo)

8. Stencil 101 - This book is perfect for budding graffiti artists and Banksy fans. (image Ed Roth / Chronicle books)

9. Famille Summerbelle map - These scherenschnitte paper cuts are so striking. These would be an especially nice gift for someone who is fond of London or Paris. (image famille summer belle)

10. etched letters - These acid etched letters would make a great gift for a typography lover. It looks like many people agree, because there aren't too many available. (image Urban Outfitters)

11. hudson chalkboard paint - For those that want something more exciting than the standard black or green. I love the endless variety and would love to add a color splash to my kitchen. (image hudson)

12. zero per zero railway notes - Everyone loves mail - and these notes are absolutely certain to make someone smile. (image zero per zero)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Gift guide: Cooking

Last year I composed a gift guide with ideas for the holidays. Since I am gone for the holidays this year I decided to prepare this in advance (September 09), so apologizes if items are no longer available.

I had to get an early start on holiday shopping, so I figured I might as well share my finds.

Just as last year there are a variety of items at various price points, so there's something for everyone in every budget.

1. Ziploc style candy bowl - This is a cute gift for a candy lover and since it's made of glass it's reusable. (image perpetual kid)

2. Sommelier glasses - These add a bit of tongue in cheek sophistication to enjoying a glass of wine. (image Area wear)

3. Filigree cuckoo clock - A modern take on the famed German style clock. It's also made here in Germany. (image North Coast Imports / Ingolf Haas)

4. M cups - Cute nesting measuring cups that take on the matryoshka form. (image world wide fred)

5. Wine bottle thermometer cuff - an inexpensive and simply solution to figuring out the proper temperature each type of wine should be served at. (image catching fire flies)

6. iittala cookware - These beautifully designed pans are not only stylish, but also function wonderfully. (image iittala)

7. cheese knives - Colorful cheese knives that take the guess work out of figuring out which type should be used for a variety of cheeses. (image patina stores)

8. glass beverage bottles - Add simplicity and sleekness to all the drinks in your refrigerator - or keep one next to your bed. (image Crate and Barrel)

9. vinyl Lace place mats - a delicate and dainty way of sprucing up any table top and they are kid friendly and easy to clean up. (image dream in plastic)

10. IKEA fusion table - This table is great for small spaces and apartment living. (image IKEA)

11. Goldfish trash bags - Anything to make taking out the trash more fun... and you never thought trash could make you smile. (image perpetual kid)

12. Gaggenau Oven - A ceramic based oven that lowers to counter top level while keeping heat in the oven.

Again, I continue to do a lot of my shopping in the US, simply because I can mail things directly to people there and not deal with wondering if Deutsche Post is going to lose something again. (I apologize in advance to international readers, however some of these companies may ship internationally.)

There will be several more self published gift guides in the coming days or weeks.

Happy gift giving!