Welcome Back Everyone!

I hope all of you had lovely holidays! I was here and there, busy traveling and seeing family. Some gift-giving highlights from my holiday:
I got crafty this year and refinished a desk chair for my mom’s office. She’d been eying the Bungalow 5 bamboo one in black and so I took the bamboo chair I got at Brimfield this year and painted it glossy black and had it re-upholstered in a great stripe fabric I found at Zimman’s! It came out PERFECT!

(before and after)
For my Dad I took I few of the really old family photos we found at my grandmother’s house and had them matted and framed. We are going to create a photo wall going up their front stairs using these as a starting point. They are such spectacular pictures that are so rare for a family to have!

And speaking of craftiness and great photography, my brother Sean set up these great shots of each of us based on pictures of us already taken or using parts of our lives as inspiration. I almost DIED when I saw mine- a Lego people replica of my famous wedding shot!!! How fantastic is it?
(Side note: He just had a book published of his photos of toys taken with his SX-70 Polaroid camera here– he also is the founder of SavePolaroid.com)

The others of the family are fantastic as well:
My parents in front of their house with a big ol’ pile of mulch (a running family joke- my dad seems to ALWAYS be mulching somewhere…)

My brother and his fiancee in the Turks and Caicos (where they are getting married in the spring!)

And my youngest brother Connor in Boston with his new Mini Cooper (which was hit by another car over the holiday- sadness).

Sean will do photos like these on comission so be sure to contact him through his site for pricing. Such a great gift!

Oh, and if you feel so inclined, Apartment Therapy is taking nominations for “The Homies” awards for best design blog… hint, hint. :)

I have boat loads of work to do to catch up, but sure am glad to be back!

Holiday 2008 Gift Guide: For Him

Shopping for the guys in your life can either be really easy (Wii + Guitar Hero) or really hard. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Update your guy’s business attire by getting him a nylon messenger bag to replace the staid leather briefcase. There is a great selection on Zappos.com, where I found these A. Testoni and Patagonia versions that are clean and classic but hip.

How about framing a gig poster for one of his favorite bands? These are by Aesthetic Apparatus and are definitely wall-worthy!

This would be a perfect stocking stuffer for my husband, who always gets ticked off at people who park badly- a set of cards with “Nice Parking” on them by Jack Spade- ready to slide under any windshield anonymously!

No guy isn’t gonna have this on his list this year.

Going all out and getting him a watch? Here are three of my favorites in different price ranges: High- the classic and restyled Rolex Oyster Perpetual. Medium- The Tag Heuer Carrera. Low: The Swiss Army Classic Alliance (on Overstock!)

I *love* this sweater and want it for my own hubby-a bit of a departure from the typical V-neck/half-zip but polished enough to wear business casual. For a more preppy look, one I think is flawless on any man, get him a classic blazer to pair with dark jeans and an open collar shirt.

Perhaps your guy digs funny t-shirts- these from Rumplo are pretty darn funny.

(this Princess Bride one cracked me up…)

A Blackberry Storm– the iPhone-esque version for the business guy who’s on the go.

A super charging station for all his gadgets!

A great book for any golfer with a title that’ll make him giggle.

For the handy man, this Black and Decker power screwdriver is compact enough to fix anything and even has a screw holder!

Maybe you don’t want a big foosball table in your house, so get him this table top version.

More X-mas Decor

I put my Scroogey feelings aside the other day while in A.C. Moore craft store when I saw a slew of turquoise and brown ornaments for 60% off. Taking a hint from Domino, I used satin ribbon and tied them to my chandelier.
I also am pullin’ out the moss wreath I made last year for myself. I spent days covered in moss pieces and hot glue making this and one for my friend below. I love moss though, and of course Pottery Barn now offers a moss wreath and even a garland (awesome).

Something that made me feel more happy this week was finally getting the perfect deep, dark brown hair color yesterday at my new salon. :) Hey, it’s never happened before!

Gift Guide 2008: For Kids

This is a good one, if I do say so myself! Enjoy, and I hope you get some ideas for buying for the little ones (and their parents) in your life!

Encourage good ol’ outdoor time (bye bye Xbox) and give the gift of fun in the snow! An LL Bean sled and snowball maker kit would do the job, and to aid in the post sledding/snowball war glow- mugs with each kid’s initial on it and some gourmet hot chocolate and marshmallows. A great gift for a group of kids in one family!

Ahh, the gift of good design- even on the small scale! Kartell’s Lou Lou Ghost chair is a mini version of the Louis Ghost chair coveted by design addicts the world over. A set of four around a simple IKEA play table allows you to maintain good design, even with little ones running around!

Have new parents to buy for who probably cringe at the sounds of anything Barney-esque? Help them out with Rockabye Baby CD’s– each has songs by great modern rockers turned into lullabyes. Introduce your little ones to great music early on!

I’m kind of obsessed with these teepees. I would have LOVED to have one when I was little to play house in. The cool retro inspired fabrics won’t create an issue decor wise either (hey, it matters sometimes, right?)

While the teepees above are amazing, they ARE pricey. For a gift that has a similar function but is under $60 (and inspires more creativity) there is this cardboard playhouse. Your kids can decorate it to their hearts content using paints and markers and gloodies and glue!

Hate having big, ugly plastic toys in your house (a decorator’s nightmare), but want your kids to be able to have their kitchen play set? Fear not- in comes PB Kids with their Gourmet Kitchen for kids! So not an eyesore like most play kitchens, this one may leave you wishing your kitchen looked the same! Please note the bridge faucet and ice dispenser on the door-hello!

Now this is my kind of dollhouse- the Westport Townhouse– complete with optional barn (looks like guest quarters to me), schoolhouse oh, and tiny replica PB furniture!!! Talk about setting expectations high while they are young! ;)

Some great books for kids a bit older- fantastic pop up books on Beasts and Sharks and for the mini fashionista, a children’s book about Coco Chanel.

I love these Wry Baby onesies– each one holds a prediction about the baby’s future! You don’t get to pick, it’s a surprise- and a funny one at that!

A gorgeous growth chart to check the kiddies progress (and not mess up your trim)

A giggle worthy gift for the baby with an uber-glam Mom- Heelarious, baby’s first high heels.

Is this not the most gorgeous baby sling you’ve ever seen? I want one to carry Baxter around in, it’s so damn pretty! :)

Speaking of Baxter, if your kids just happen to be of the very furry persuasion, some gifts for them (because I know you buy them gifts. Baxter has his own stocking).

one of these gorgeous beds from Modern Tails.

Sweet little sweaters from CrewMutts.

Holiday dog treats from Boston’s own Polka Dog Bakery (love, love this place!)

Holiday 2008: My So-Called List

This is obviously not a big gift year, but here are some dream list items just for fun (and to torture myself.)

Letterpress business cards. How sweet are these ones below with their detailed edge?

Ridiculously awesome custom bedding and table linens by Leontine Linens (never. ever. ever. gonna. happen.)

The Hermes H blanket– ideally in camel and white (it may not even come in those colors). Classic. Ridiculously overpriced. Lovely.

but in reality I think a lot of us would actually like to have a blanket that said this:

The Colette Bed. On my list every year.

Some yumminess from Jonathan Adler– still the best faux bamboo chair out there, and a tripod lamp for the living room.

This delicious DVF wrap dress. Because I can never have enough and there is no other article of clothing on the planet that makes me feel as unconditionally foxy. ;)

Another Havanese– preferably a cream and apricot sister (like these) for Baxter. Pretty please!

Quite possibly a stand in for the perfect brown boots? Maybe even better (with a better price!) With skinny jeans tucked in, these would be amazing.

Pack of 10 yoga classes with David Magone at Exhale Spa so I can be zen, look fierce in a bikini and someday do this without falling over and getting a bloody nose.

And for after class, some new stemware to fill with red wine- this shape is really interesting.