Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide: True Prep

Good morning, everyone! Now that Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are all behind us, it’s officially time for some holiday cheer. To kick off The Present Perfect’s first holiday season, I’ve decided to put together a gift guide series. I hope all of you enjoy these… many more to come!

 2011.11.29 - Holiday Gift Guide - The Classic Prepster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clockwise, from top left:

Take Ivy hardcover book $16.47

Anchor enamel bangles   $100

Cable-knit fingerless gloves   $24.95

Akoya Pearl Stud Earrings (6.5-7mm) $19

Carpet Bocce   $12.95

J.Crew wool hacking jacket   $298

Kate Spade note card set   $20

Images courtesy of www.amazon.com, www.jcrew.com, www.gap.com, www.zgallerie.com, www.northriveroutfitter.com, and www.katespade.com

Monday, November 28, 2011

What’s the Deal?

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope all of your Thanksgivings were lovely… I spent mine in Reykjavik, Iceland! My husband and I decided to use the long weekend for a little adventure this year, and it definitely was. Within the city, we had a lot of new gustatory experiences—whale, puffin, horse, and shark (which, incidentally, had an after-taste that made me think of paint thinner or something equally toxic). Outside of Reykjavik, we visited a gorgeous geothermal bath, saw the Northern Lights, and froze our butts off while touring gorgeous (though very desolate) landscapes, waterfalls, and geysers. We also walked over the North America/Europe line. I have to say, traveling internationally during Thanksgiving weekend is a total breeze. The security line on either end took no longer than 5 minutes, including the waiting part!

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{The breathtaking Gulfoss waterfall in Iceland}

Having missed all of the American goodness (and madness) of post-Thanksgiving shopping, I’ve decided to round up a few Cyber Monday gift picks for your viewing pleasure, brought to you by Amazon:

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{Canon PowerShot S95 10 MP Digital Camera $291}

With a listing price of $399, this 3.8x wide angle camera with a 3-inch LCD screen is at a comparatively good price. It’s gotten a lot of good customer reviews, and its small size makes it very convenient for traveling and holiday party-hopping.

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{Bridesmaids $5.99}

This movie is freaking hilarious. I have seen it three times. And at $5.99, it is at the perfect price for stocking stuffers or office gift exchanges. Laugh-out-loud funny for both guys and girls.

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{The French Laundry Cookbook $27.64}

Eating at The French Laundry often requires a magical combination of being in Napa and actually being able to get a reservation. However, with Thomas Keller’s hardcover cookbook ($22 off of its list price) you can bring it to your own home!

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{Fisher-Price Bubble Mower $14.99}

I had one of these as a kid, and it is AWESOME. It blows bubbles as you “mow” the lawn. Pretty easy way to keep a kid entertained (and acclimate him/her to the idea of doing yard work for you). It’s normally $25.

Hope you enjoy these picks and find some great deals online today! If you’d like to take your time browsing on your own, here’s the link I used:

Images courtesy of www.amazon.com

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Day Special

…decided to post these photos because I secretly hope that people like my blog enough to read it over the holiday weekend!

Last Saturday, my husband and I hosted a “Friendsgiving” dinner for some close friends before everyone heads out of town. While our apartment is small, we managed to squeeze a good number of people in, with the help of folding chairs and an extra extension leaf on our dining table. Here’s a peek at the festivities:

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{Yep, we had sugar cookie place cards.}

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{…and “inside out” turkeys. Homemade turkey-shaped bread bowls with turkey pot pie inside.}

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{Of course, let’s not forget the real bird.}

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{Or the fact that I love birds and had to incorporate them into my table setting…}

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{…such as here, with a $5 bird from a Nashville Cracker Barrel atop some orange books}

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! I hope y’all have an amazing holiday with lots of great food, fun times, and plenty of relaxation. See you on Monday!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hey, Hey, You, You…

One of my favorite things about writing this blog is getting responses from readers—for example, the rare comments left on my posts TOTALLY make my day. It’s just nice to know that people actually read this thing!

One of my friends has requested a new category, and I think it’s probably high time: “For the Girlfriend.” At first, I argued with him, stating that he could just look up the items listed under “Girly” or “Romantic,” but his response was that he can’t be giving out girly gifts to the lady he is trying to woo, and that girlfriend gifts are not always blatantly romantic. So, congratulations to you, Brian… and cheers to the start of a new category! Since the holidays are upon us and I’m “behind” in this category, I’ll start with several very classic “girlfriend” gift picks:

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{Tiffany Venetian Link bracelet, $185}

Ah, Tiffany. That little blue box has such magical powers over women. This bracelet is a beautifully designed piece of jewelry that comes with the Tiffany cachet but doesn’t completely break the bank (relatively speaking). And it’s always romantic to receive jewelry from a significant other.

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{Kate Spade Mikas Pond Stacy wallet, $100}

Simple, understated, but slightly designer-y. And something she can use every day!

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{Old Navy Sweater-Knit Slipper Boots, $17.50}

I own a pair of these and they are SO DARN COMFORTABLE! And now they are on sale (the original price was $22.94; what a weird number to land on). The only criticism I have is that they sometimes make my feet sweat. But seriously, SO cozy to wear around the house. Also, not sure if you are supposed to do this, but I throw mine in the washer and dryer when they get gross, and that hasn’t ruined them yet.

And that’s all for this week, folks! I’ll be back in full force on Monday, but in the meantime… happy Thanksgiving! And in the spirit of Black Friday, I present you with the following… the deals have already begun, and they last until Saturday the 26th! Now you can shop from the comfort of your own home, rather than lining up in the cold outside of Best Buy.

Wishing all of you very happy holidays and safe travels! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pen Pals (Part 2)

Good morning, everyone! As Thanksgiving looms ahead of us, I have reflected a bit on things that I am thankful for. One of those things is the fact that I have some pretty great pen pals—yes, the old-school, snail mail kind. Some examples are: an old friend (the college roommate), a new-ish friend (the summer internship buddy), and the friend-I-have-yet-to-meet-but-exchange-little-paper-gifts-with-via-USPS (my wonderful stationery designer and fellow paper fan, featured here).

In the spirit of pen pals, I wanted to feature this lovely book:

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{Handmade Hellos  $15.01}

Just looking at the book cover makes me smile. There is nothing more delightful than receiving a hand-written note or postcard in the mail, and as someone who writes letters on an almost-daily basis, I have to say that the creatively-decorated notes are particularly special. Handmade Hellos is a great source of inspiration for giving that already-awesome note an extra something!

Image courtesy of www.amazon.com

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cocktail Hour

Happy Monday, friends! I hope that everyone had a fun and restful weekend. Can you believe it’s almost Thanksgiving?! I am relieved that this will be a shortened week and am looking forward to some downtime.

As Turkey Day looms and the malls start decorating for Christmas, my mind goes to Christmas gift ideas—really excited for The Present Perfect’s first holiday season! I’m trying to think of creative ways to create gift guides for your reading pleasure, so please stay tuned for those.

Today’s gift pick comes from none other than Kate Spade—leave it to this great retailer to think of adorable ways to package fun items:

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{Cocktail Rings: Gin Daisy, Mint Julep, Martini, Manhattan; $78 each}

I absolutely love these! I think they are packaged in such a fun way. I think my favorite one is the Mint Julep (the green emerald stone). As if this box design weren’t cute enough, the back looks like this:

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Some bling, lots of cuteness, and a cocktail recipe… sounds like all of the ingredients you need for a good time!

Images courtesy of www.katespade.com

Friday, November 18, 2011

Make Your Mark

A solid wine and cheese night is one of those things that can really remedy a long day or kick off the weekend properly in a low-key way. Here’s the perfect gift for the host or hostess of the next wine and cheese party you are invited to (or maybe a gift for yourself to use at the next one you host):

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{Writeable Cheese Markers, $21}

I found these little guys to be incredibly cute and clever. The set comes with six plastic markers (2 goat, 2 sheep, 2 cows)  that tell your guests which animal the cheese came from. The dry-erase marker (included) allows you to label each cheese with its name!

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Such a simple concept but excellent design. I love it! And works with the other cheese-oriented items that I’ve featured previously, here and here.

And the weekend is upon us! I’ll be cooking up a storm for some dinner party action, even venturing into the territory of making my own pie crust. What are your weekend plans? Anything fun and exciting?

Image courtesy of www.shop.peppersproutdesigns.com

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mom, I’m Bored!

When I was a kid, I would occasionally lapse into “Mom, I’m so bored!” mode. My clever mother would quickly resolve this issue by suggesting a whole host of activities that included cleaning my room, practicing piano, and memorizing my multiplication tables. Nothing like some chores to make a kid change her mind about feeling bored…

The Land of Nod has a cool item that allows you to help with the boredom without turning into a task sergeant:

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{I’m Not Bored Anymore Art Jar, $29}

This giant jar is filled with fun art supplies like beads, pipe cleaners, buttons, glue, pinking shears, googly eyes, glitter, popsicle sticks, and much more. All you need to add is a kid (preferably one who is old enough to not eat/choke on the supplies) and lots of imagination!

Image courtesy of www.landofnod.com

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Journal for the Jetsetter

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{Travel Journal, $24}

Good morning! In about one week, I will be taking a fun and exciting trip (more details surrounding that to come). Thus, I thought it would be fitting to feature this lovely travel journal as I figure out what to pack for my upcoming adventures!

The journal comes with a clipboard cover, an outer elastic band, and a re-sealable inner pocket to stow ticket stubs and other mementos. There’s also space to map out your day-to-day itinerary and to take notes on your observations and anecdotes. Here are some photos of the inner workings:

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I am tempted to get one of these for myself to start documenting my future travels. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Images courtesy of www.poketo.com

Monday, November 14, 2011

Herbal Tea

… for the bathtub!

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{Relaxing Tub Tea, $3.85}

My friend Shannon gave me one of these and I used it over the weekend—it was awesome! You just run a hot bath and then drop this giant “tea” bag into the water, releasing the soothing scents and making a very relaxing bath.

This particular one allows you to add a personalized label (at an extra charge of $1 per bag) for a minimum quantity of 12 tea bags—perfect for bridal shower favors, no? The bags are handmade and filled with lavender and chamomile. These are the perfect remedy to a long and stressful week!

Image courtesy of www.candlesandsuch.com

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Guy Thing

Happy Friday, everyone! … and a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my wonderful husband! We started the day right with a breakfast of icing-and-sprinkles donuts. Yum.

Naturally, today’s gift pick is inspired by the man in my life:

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{Blacktop 360 Grill-Fryer $239.99}

Unfortunately, this is not his birthday gift, because we would probably get evicted from our apartment building if we had one of these in our unit. However, how cool is it?! This combines a deep fryer, grill, griddle, and warming plate into one gas-powered device. Basically, an all-in-one machine to grill burgers, crisp up bacon, fry up some chicken (or, even better—fry some sliced pickles), and heat up your hamburger buns all in one place. Someday… when we have a house with outdoor space, I am getting this for him!

Have a great weekend, everyone! And happy birthday, man—I love you!

Image courtesy of www.uncrate.com

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Oh, Honey…

Some of the best gifts come out of nowhere. When my friend Krissy sent me a birthday package this past year, I didn’t expect it to contain a life-changing kitchen item—but it DID.

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{Rhododendron Honey, $6.97}

I’ve never been a huge fan of honey, but this stuff is THE JAM. It’s so awesome. It’s a delicately fragrant honey with floral undertones, and it’s SO delicious. My favorite use for it is to drizzle some on top of my grapefruit half in the morning. It nicely complements the sharp citrus flavor of the fruit—yum.

At $6.97, it is a great little item for a gift basket or Christmas stocking. It also comes in cherry, lavender, sunflower, and acacia flavors. I think it would be ADORABLE to package these in a little planter box with crinkle paper as the “dirt” and a construction paper grass fringe as the backdrop!

Image courtesy of www.caviarmore.com

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chalk It Up

Anyone who has ever been to my apartment knows that I love candles, especially ones that come in cool-looking or pretty containers. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw these on the West Elm website:

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{Chalkboard Candlepot, $25}

Chalk is not included, but that’s an easy find at Staples or probably even CVS. The fun part is that you can easily wipe off your designs with a damp cloth and get creative all over again! This is a fun item that you can personalize to make the candle-gifting a lot more interesting.

The candles come in the following scents: Cucumber Citrus, Ramsey Apple, and Vanilla Fig. I think I’d go with the first two, and definitely not the last (I sort of hate the scent of vanilla). Which scents would you pick?

Image courtesy of www.westelm.com

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

All that Glitters

Good morning, and happy Tuesday! This past weekend was a complete whirlwind and SO much fun, leaving me too exhausted to blog yesterday. My parents came to visit, which was delightful, and I had parties to attend on both Friday and Saturday nights. Friday was a fancy formal, and Saturday was a Speakeasy party at a friend’s home—so of course I busted out my flapper best for the occasion! I had a BCBG dress covered in beading and a feather skirt from over a decade ago, and it ended up being a great costume.

Anyway, all of the festivities this past weekend, combined with my husband’s upcoming birthday this week, have left me with parties on the brain. I love any excuse to dress up and have a good time, and I thought these jeweled shoe clips would be great for upcoming holiday celebrations or just for fun:

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{Color Block Shoe Clips, $25}

Aren’t they cute? I personally think that shoe clips are a fun and easy way to dress up an otherwise-plain pair of footwear. With these, you can turn your sensible work pumps into party heels!

Images courtesy of www.shopbando.com

Friday, November 4, 2011

In Hiding

Happy Friday, readers! I thought I’d cap off the week with these fun mugs—who wouldn’t love finding a little bear at the bottom of her coffee cup?

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{Hidden Animal Mugs, $21 each}

These fun mugs are sculpted with a fox, owl, or bear figurine perched inside. Made of ceramic, these are microwave and dishwasher safe.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! I am pretty stoked for mine—a formal night of dinner and dancing with my husband tonight, and then a weekend of hanging out with my visiting parents. My husband will be accompanying my dad on a visit to a historical armory/firearms museum, which is probably going to be both interesting and moderately terrifying for him (my husband, not my dad. My dad enjoys guns and riflery, which is the part that is probably a little weird for my husband).

What fun things do you have planned for the weekend?

Image courtesy of www.uncommongoods.com

Thursday, November 3, 2011

With the Greatest of Ease…

Good morning, everyone! I’m sure all of you Sex and the City fans remember the episode where Carrie learns how to trapeze. Well, one of the coolest gifts I have ever received is a gift certificate to learn at the very trapeze school featured in the show! (Which happens to be on a rooftop in downtown Manhattan—such a cool view). My husband gave it to me as a birthday gift when we were dating, and it was SO much fun… and learned how to do a catch! Here’s a photo of my lovely husband from one of our last nights in NY:

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And here is me during my first trapeze lesson a few years ago:

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While this is a regionally restricted gift idea, I do think that many of my readers live in one of the following cities that Trapeze School is located in, which makes this gift pick relevant. If you live in New York, DC, Boston, Los Angeles, or Chicago, you should look into this for your next gift-giving occasion. It is a really fun activity to do with friends—the classes are done in groups, and it’s always nice to have people cheering you on and taking pictures to remember the experience by. And for those of you who don’t particularly enjoy heights, their motto is: “Forget fear. Worry about the addiction.”

Depending on which day and time you sign up for a lesson, a 2-hour group class will cost around $45-$65. Check it out today!

Images property of The Present Perfect

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