Monday, April 30, 2012

Graduation: Work It

Good morning, and happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. I had such a fun time dancing the night away in Newport, Rhode Island on Saturday night—the weekend passed much too quickly! Plus, any occasion that gets my handsome husband into a tuxedo is automatically a good one in my book.

While I do have a gift pick for today, I first want to take a moment to applaud and congratulate my amazing sister for her work in the San Francisco Decorator Showcase this year! She designed a room as an upscale fashion blogger’s office, and I am not exaggerating when I say that I was just blown away by her talent. San Franciscans, I recommend that you go see it in person, but in the meantime, here are some photos of the space. It’s simply wonderful. You should also all check out her newly-launched website, especially if you are in the need for an interior designer!

{Interiors images © Bess Friday Photography 2012}

If only all bloggers had a space like this to call an office, right? Sigh… Maybe one day, I will have a house that she can replicate this in!

Anyway, moving onto the gift pick, graduation season is upon us (including my own!) so I thought it would be nice to venture into that territory. While briefcases are kind of stodgy and boring, I think that a work/computer bag makes an excellent graduation gift, especially since it’s so common to have a work laptop these days. I love this one from Coach in the steel color:


{Crosby Leather Commuter, $548}

While this is classified as a men’s bag, I think it’s very chic for guys and girls alike. And with quality leather like this, it’s the kind of investment piece that only gets better with age!

Images courtesy of Bess Friday Photography and Coach

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mother’s Day: Ride On

She was there when you first learned how to ride a bike, so why not get Mom a sweet ride of her own this Mother’s Day? I adore this green bicycle from C. Wonder:


{C. Wonder city bike, $249}

Isn’t she lovely? It comes with all the basic features of a comfy cruiser: medium-sized tires, a leather seat, handbrakes, rubber handlebars, and a kickstand. I think this is a very fun and cheerful gift that will also encourage Mom to take a relaxing cruise through the neighborhood once in a while. Also comes in fuchsia, navy, and orange.

Have a great weekend, everyone! I am headed out for a black tie event tomorrow, and I am super excited for that. Should be a fun night of dinner, dancing, and ball gowns!

Image courtesy of

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mother’s Day: Best Buds

Good morning! I have gotten a couple of requests for two gift categories: Mother’s Day and graduations. For those of you who aren’t already clear on this, Mother’s Day is on Sunday, May 13 this year. So this gives us a couple of weeks to kick things into gear! I’ll be alternating between gifts for moms and grads over the upcoming weeks—hope this is useful and fun for everyone!


{Kate Spade bud vase, $60}

Celebrating Mom with flowers is nothing new, but what if you presented the blooms in this elegant bud vase? This 7-inch vase is made of quality crystal and would look absolutely lovely with a peony in it. Mom will love it so much more than the cheap glass vases that flowers often come in. For those of you with other gifting occasions on the mind, it’s not a bad wedding or housewarming gift, either!

Image courtesy of

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Party in the USA

Good morning, everyone! I hope your week has been good so far and that hump day passes quickly. Today’s gift pick celebrates travel and the good old US of A:


{USA Scratch Map, $29.95}

This is similar to my previous post about the world scratch map, where you can use a coin to scratch off the places you have been to. I love the design of it—definitely has a retro/Americana sort of feel, don’t you think? This would be a great gift to kick off a cross-country road trip!

Image courtesy of

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Love this.

BPPF (Best Pen Pal Forever)

Yesterday, I received the most thoughtful present ever from my friend and pen pal Christina. Christina and I met this past summer and immediately hit it off—it was one of those situations where we saw each other and immediately knew we were destined to be friends. Platonic love at first sight, perhaps?

Anyway, Christina lives in Chicago and I live in Boston, but we manage to stay in touch via snail mail—both of us LOVE writing and receiving letters. Sure, that’s pretty archaic in this day and age, but then again, my friend Charles recently described me as “very old-fashioned, like Jane Austen,” so there you go. Christina sent me a belated birthday gift of the most amazing custom postal stamps ever:


{Customized postage stamps, price varies}

Anyone who has talked to me for more than five minutes knows that I just LOVE Nashville, Tennessee! So I was absolutely tickled when I opened up the package and saw these beauties. These brought back such good memories of the month I spent in Music City last summer. I thought it was so sweet of her to think of getting part of a vintage Nashville map printed on these stamps as my birthday present!

You can pretty much get custom stamps made of any images you want, with the exception of copyrighted stuff that doesn’t belong to you, and any likeness of a celebrity. My friend Allison had ones done of her dog, and I’ve seen wedding invitations with a photo of the couple on the postage. The possibilities are endless.

Christina, thank you SO much for the wonderful gift! I love these stamps so much, I almost don’t want to use them. But that’s silly. I’ll be sending you a bit of Nashville love in the upper-right corner of my next letter to you, lady!

Image property of The Present Perfect

Monday, April 23, 2012

I Left My Heart in San Francisco

Good morning, friends! Today’s gift pick is in honor of San Francisco, as my lovely and very talented sister has been selected to be a part of the San Francisco Decorator Showcase this year. It is a huge honor, and I am SO proud of her! If any of you are in the SF area between April 28 and May 28, I urge you to check it out. I am certain that it will not disappoint! Ticketing information is here. If you want to check out some of her designs, you can go to her newly-launched website.

In thinking about what would appropriately represent the City by the Bay, I decided to go with a San Francisco treat. No, I’m not talking about Rice-a-Roni (though that is pretty amazing in and of itself)—I’m talking about Blue Bottle Coffee:


{Blue Bottle Coffee beans, price varies}

So, you can buy this from Gump’s, but it seems like it’s cheaper through the Blue Bottle website. Gump’s only offers two blends, but if you click directly to Blue Bottle, you have a whole variety of beans to choose from. However, if you want this delivered in a beautiful box and gift personalization options, go with Gump’s—they will be sure to get the presentation down beyond just right. 

I don’t drink coffee, so I can’t really personally attest to the alleged magic of Blue Bottle, but I have seen people actually go crazy over the stuff. And by crazy I mean wait in line for 30 full minutes just to order a cup. So I think that for any coffee fan, snob, or aficionado, this just might be the perfect gift!

Image courtesy of

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hippity Hop

Easter may have come and gone, but I still have a soft spot for most things bunny-related. Check out this whimsical, handmade resin twist on the covered presentation dish:


{Lapin covered presentation dish, $150-$176}

Added perks: the resin is lead-free and FDA approved, and this item is dishwasher safe. And it’s adorable. It’s a nice little piece to add to one’s home, whether it’s as a wedding gift or a very generous housewarming present!

Image courtesy of

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

No gift pick today...

But I figured I could at least share the awesome manicure I gave myself! Back to business tomorrow, my friends...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Paris, Je T’aime

Good morning, and happy Monday! In about one month, I will be en route to PARIS! As the trip gets closer, I am spending more and more time fantasizing about the beautiful City of Light. Most of these daydreams center around the idea of ham and cheese baguette sandwiches, strolling along the Seine with my girlfriends, amazing art and architecture, and lots of shopping.

My friend Jenny (who is going with me) gave me this book for my birthday, and as the excitement for our travels builds, I can’t help browsing its gorgeous pages on a regular basis:

image {Taschen's Paris $26.39}

This hardcover beauty consists of great photos of hotels, restaurants, and shops all over Paris. While pretty much all of the hotels are out of my price range, it’s still fun to look at the photos—no harm in dreaming about staying at the Ritz or Four Seasons in the most romantic city in the world, right? I am so excited to eat at some of the featured brasseries and see the iconic Chanel headquarters on rue Cambon. I can’t wait to start packing for this adventure. Just four weeks until I’m snacking away at LadurĂ©e and checking out the latest trends at Colette!

Image courtesy of

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Seeing Spots

Does anyone else have those friends who are just effortlessly fabulous? You know, the ones that are just so stylish and perfect all the time that you would probably hate them if they were so… nice? I happen to have a number of friends who fit that description, but this gift pick made me think of my friend Logan in particular:


{Sequen Tennis Leopard Print Balls, $22}

Logan and I went to high school together, where she was a star on the tennis team. Incidentally, she also loves all things leopard print. Needless to say, this can of tennis balls has her name all over it!

Image courtesy of

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Yesterday was my mother-in-law’s memorial service, and while it was incredibly sad, it was also a very beautiful celebration of her life. I thought it would be appropriate to feature a gift pick inspired by her today.

She truly loved traveling, exploring other cultures, and learning new languages. She’s always loved all things Italian, so when she became very sick and bedridden, my husband and I got her this:


{Drive Time Italian: Beginner Level $13.81}

We thought it would be a nice way to keep her stimulated and take her mind off of being sick. She put up such a fight over the past year and a half, and it has been such an inspiration to see that she wouldn’t let anything, not even cancer, get in the way of continually broadening her horizons and living life in the fullest way possible.

You’ll be missed, Mom. We are sending you much love and will be carrying you in our hearts every day. Arrivederci… e viaggio sicuro!

Image courtesy of

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Love at First Sight

I haven't even met this baby, but already, I love her so much. Big kisses to you, little Eloise! Can't wait to be a part of the wonderful life you have ahead of you.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Welcome, Eloise!

This week has been a fairly intense one, with such a strange mixture of tears and smiles. It saddens me to say that my mother-in-law passed away on Wednesday, which has obviously been difficult. Just one day later, one of my closest friends gave birth to a healthy baby girl. At the risk of sounding cheesy, I can’t think of a better manifestation of “the circle of life.”

I am so thrilled for the proud new parents of baby Eloise, and I think it’s only appropriate to dedicate this blog post to their little bundle of joy—I can’t wait to meet her in person!


{Eloise: The Ultimate Edition $26.39}

This hardcover gem contains four Eloise titles: Eloise in Paris, Eloise at Christmastime, Eloise in Moscow, and The Absolutely Essential Eloise, which is a scrapbook of photos, drawings, and memorabilia. As Eloise herself would say: “Love, love, love” this! You can also get the original Eloise book here.

Have a great weekend, everyone… be well and go do something you enjoy. Life is too short not to!

Image courtesy of

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ride the Line

I’ve always liked artwork that features cities I’ve lived in (such as these Ork map posters I featured last year), so you can imagine my delight with this one:


{NYC Lineposter Screen Print, $28}

They have a bunch of variety in terms of locations and color combinations, which you can view on the main Etsy page. What I find hilarious is that some of the cities have stellar public transport (such as New York and Paris), where as some of the featured locations are clearly places where you need a car (Los Angeles). I really like how the graphics and font are clean and understated. Perfect piece to frame and hang on the wall of any stylish abode!

Image courtesy of

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Jet Lagging

Ahn yeong, friends! I am SO sorry about the little posting hiatus that was last week. I was traveling to Taiwan and South Korea, and I think I was a little ambitious in my expectations of how much I’d really be able to sit down and write. The Taipei trip was a bit sad but meaningful, as I had to pay respects to an important family member who is no longer with us, but I was glad that I had the opportunity to say goodbye. Korea was packed with much activity and loads of fun—tons of amazing food, lots of great shopping, attending a live, televised StarCraft competition, and even a little jaunt to Jeju Island (an hour-long flight from Seoul) that involved hiking, horseback riding, and consuming live octopus!

One of my favorite activities was the horseback riding on Jeju Island, so I figured that an appropriate equestrian-inspired gift pick just had to come from Hermes:


{Clic H gold-plated enamel bracelet, $610}

Isn’t it gorgeous? I adore this chestnut color against the yellow gold plating. Someday, people… someday. I know a pair of sisters who are very fabulous in all sense of the word, and between the two of them, they have a little Hermes bracelet collection going on. I’ve seen them rocking these on their wrists, and it always looks so chic!

In case any of you are interested in photos from my travels, here are a few from Taipei. I’ll continue updating with more Korea photos throughout the week!


{Visiting ancient Chinese treasures at the National Palace Museum}


{Cruising through the city at night}


{Hitting up the night market for some shopping and eating}


{Hello, kitty. Not sure why this guy brought his cat to the market!}


{Hello Kitty! Yes, this is actually at the airport. I would love to fly Eva Air’s Hello Kitty line someday.}

Top image courtesy of All other photos property of The Present Perfect.

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