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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

2009 Gift Guide: For Kids

The holidays bring out the kid in all of us. It's so much fun to find new toys and and gadgets. Here are a few items that are sure to make any kid happy....and most adults too.
The Small Paul log rocker brings the playground indoors. It's sleek and modern and has Julius, the monkey on it. I used to manage a children's boutique and I can tell you that I've never met a kid who didn't like monkeys, especially Julius. And it's 40% off.
For the budding artist on your list, this Doodlebook Frame from the MOMA Store is perfect. It is an 80 page sketchbook so they can continually create a new look around a favorite photo.

Dear Santa,
Please may I have this Jonathan Adler Collection Barbie for Christmas!!!! I have been a very good girl this year.

I have never been much of a Barbie girl, but I adore Jonathan Adler and could easily create my dreamhouse with his designs. This combo is genius- the dress, the lacquer...I want it all!
Create your own dreamhouse with this playhouse from Cardboard Design. Leave it as is or let the kids go wild and decorate it with paint, stickers, and whatever else their hearts desire. A great gift that will encourage their imagination and creativity, and it's eco-friendly too.

Or you can go with a tent pretty enough for a princess like this one from Haba. Kids love to have a special place they can escape to that is just their size.

Building blocks are a great way to encourage children to explore design. These Haba Medieval Castle Blocks include a lot of unusual shapes that allow kids to get really creative.
People often think you need to have giant play kitchen for kids to really have fun. This is soooo not true. This petit and attractive wooden kitchen by Educo is the perfect kitchen in my opinion because it's easy to move around and doesn't take up a ton of space, and it keeps the kids busy. My son received it for Christmas when he was 18 months old and is still playing with it now at 3 1/2, and my daughter who is 8 months old loves it too. They both play with it every day. It's probably the best toy we've ever owned.

There is just something about the Bla Bla mobiles that you can't help but love them. They are great over a crib to entertain baby or just hanging in a room as decor. They always put a smile on your face. You can't go wrong with anything by the brand. Their blankets and dolls are equally as endearing.

2009 Gift Guide: For the Hostess

Tis the season for a calendar full of parties, but before you dive into the eggnog make sure you arrive with a little something for the kind host and hostess. While a lovely bottle of wine or some christmas cookies are always nice, here are a few little items that will make sure you're on the invite list again and again.
Personalized napkins from Exposures let your host know that you were truly thinking of them, and you know they can always use them. This vintage toasting bell from Napa Style is perfect for the hostess who has everything.

Every hostess needs some lovely soap for the powder room for her guests. I love the soaps from Gianna Rose, and this Faux Bois soap reminds me of snow covered woods so it's perfect for the holidays.
This sweater inspired candle at Anthropologie just exudes warm feelings.

An ornament is always a lovely gift, and I particularly like to give ones from companies that make a signature ornament for each year like the 2009 Pear Ornament from Simon Pearce. A portion of the proceeds goes to charity so you're also doing good with this piece.


Friday, December 4, 2009

2009 Gift Guide: For Her

Oh, what on earth do you get for the woman who already has it all? Here are a few ideas...

1. Nobody makes a more divine throw than Sferra. You can't go wrong with any of these colors. Add a good book and latte and you've got Sunday afternoon perfection all winter long.
2. I've never met a woman who doesn't love fresh flowers or Simon Pearce glass so the Woodbury Vase is a sure thing. And since it comes in four sizes, there is one for every budget. 3. File these numbered wine glasses from Ballard Designs under "Why didn't I think of that?". While anyone who knows me knows I love my wine, those trinkety wine charms really drive me crazy. I can't tell you how many times the phrase "Is that my glass?" is said at my family's house on a Saturday night, but that problem is solved with the simple number assignment on these glasses. They are not the most elegant, but for everyday use, they're great. I would love for someone to come out with them with the number just etched on the base instead. In fact, you could probably find glasses you like or already own and take them to your local glass etcher if you prefer.

4. I just love the Le Creuset vegetable and fruit shaped bakers. They are such a fun accent to any table and will put a smile on anyone's face.

5. This monogrammed recipe box from Jack and Lulu is great for the woman just starting out or the mom who has all sorts of recipe clippings stuffed into a binder. Six tabs for easy organizing and you can make it even more special by adding some of your own favorites.

6. Anthropologie brings us perhaps the most charming herb markers for the woman who loves to garden. A set of three vintage silver flatware pieces with the herb names imprinted on them. Great for pots or inground gardening.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

2009 Gift Guide: For Him

Why does it seem that the men in our lives are always the most difficult to shop for? How many cashmere sweaters and alarm clocks does a person really need? Surprise the men in your life this year with one of these fail proof gifts...even for that guy who already has everything.

1. Sports Illustrated has an amazing collection of recent and vintage covers that you can order on their own or framed for under $100. Pick your man's favorite sport, team or era and find just the right one and he'll be scrambling to find the perfect spot to hang it.
2. Just because he grew up doesn't mean he still doesn't want to play with Legos. Let him channel his inner architect with this grown up version, the Fallingwater Lego Set available at Anthropologie.

3. I'm pretty sure that most men (at least the ones I know) covet a fabulous in home bar where they can pour bourbon and test their home brews. You'd be hard pressed to find a more manly serving vessel than this stag pilsner glass, available at Gorsuch.

4. Ever met a man that isn't proud of his grilling? Me neither. Now he can make sure everyone knows who is responsible for that fine piece of meat they are about to bite into with a monogrammed steak brand from Williams-Sonoma. 5. For a true classic, a decoy from Orvis just never goes out of style and is at home in any room in the house. Plus, there are several in the collection so you can add one each year and that means zero present buying angst next year!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Color Me Happy

There's nothing like quite like the feeling of a crush. Your heart beats faster, you daydream about what you would do if it ever developed into something more, and it's always on your mind. Well, I'm not ashamed to say that I am completely crushing on this Frame wallpaper by Graham and Brown! Ever since I found it last night while searching diligently for the best gifts ever for the C & B Gift Guide I have not been able to stop thinking about it. Where should I put it, who should I let draw on it, what if I ever move...I'll want to take it with me. It's really quite genius. Let your kids color on the walls (within the lines of course) or post photos, loves notes, and found objects within the frames. And the best part is that it doesn't have to be filled in all at once. Watching it evolve over the years would be part of the fun. I think it would be totally awesome to have a housewarming party and let each guest fill in a frame. Or you can even leave it blank and it's still very cool, but I don't think I would be able to contain myself.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Follow C & B on Facebook

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Last Minute Turkey Day Tables

You finally have a total headcount, the turkey is thawing and the pies have been baked, but oops...what about the table? Are you just going to throw down a white cloth and stick your golden bird in the center? Have no fear, there are many quick and simple ways to make your table memorable...and not because the turkey was dry. Nothing says harvest like a simple wheat sheaf....

or find containers of like material but varying sizes and fill them with bittersweet (which you can find on many a roadside-just ask my mother) or any other bloom. Hit your local farmstand or even your grocery store and fill bowls with fruit and nuts in the rustic colors of the season.....

or spray paint them silver or gold for some extra sparkle. For a more simplistic look...

a fresh pear on each plate as a placecard makes a crisp impression, and nothing could be more simple than...

stepping out your back door and gathering some colorful leaves (you may need to flatten in them in some heavy books) that you can scatter under a shear tablecloth.

Lastly....DIG IN!


Serena and Lily has long been the go to source for fabulous baby and children's bedding and furnishings, but I wasn't expecting to find their incredible new offerings of vintage and found objets when I popped onto their web site yesterday to see what was new. They've named this new section the "Bazaar" and you can find everything from Moroccan Kilim Rugs to Chinese Dragon Masks to Givenchy Scarf Pillows. I happen to love this Hammered Metal Chair updated with Serena and Lily's own fabric. Definitely add this to your list of things you must check out.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sweet Dreams

I am the proud mother of a beautiful 7 1/2 month old daughter who has decided the word "sleep" is not in her vocabulary. I am coveting a solid night's rest so I thought I would share some dreamy beds where I would love to be snoozing right now.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What's Shakin'

As the holidays approach, it's time to start thinking about how the table will be set. Most people agonize over having just the right linens, flowers and china on the table, but often the little things are overlooked. Who wants to set a beautiful table and then put acrylic rabbit ear salt and pepper grinders on it? Whether you decide to choose shakers geared toward the holiday you are enjoying like the gourd shakers above, available at Sur la Table, or the pinecone shakers below, available at Saks Fifth Avenue....

or you just make your everyday shakers a bit nicer, a seasoned entertainer never forgets the small details that make a table complete. You can find them in metals like this pagoda shaker set by L'objet at Saks Fifth Avenue or...

this pewter radish shaker set by Vagabond House. You can also find fabulous ceramic ones....

like these Jonathan Adler Whale Shakers that I adore or....

this Shake-A-Leg set by Perch Design. And if you find yourself at the...
last minute without a shaker set appropriate for the tone of your table then pour your salt and pepper in small ramekins or glass bowls with a spoon to sprinkle them. Whether you prefer elegance or something more whimsical, just remember that sometimes the littlest details make the biggest impression.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tie One On

Can you guess what this is? It is a curtain tieback. I generally prefer curtains to hang straight, but there is occassionally reason to use a tieback, like when you find one this fantastic. Each of these Chrysanthemum Tie Backs is hand made of felt in Nepal. This would be adorable in a little girl's room or would stand out in a room with other bold floral patterns.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Roped In

This table is amazing! Hundreds of feet of rope are impregnated with resin and shaped into a cube to create this sturdy table by Josh Urso Designs . His other designs are equally as gravity defying. Think chairs and bowls made of nothing but cloth and resin. I like the table because of it's nautical feel, but it could be just as easily at home in an industrial loft or an artist's studio. No matter where you put it, it's sure to be a conversation starter.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Biggest Fan

Despite the fact that we have no fewer than 30 pieces of artwork or photgraphs in our basement just waiting for us to hang them, not one of them or any series of them is right for above our 9 ft long couch. So for the 2 1/2 years we've lived in our house, I've pondered every day what would be the perfect piece for that wall. It is the first thing one sees as they walk into our main living space so I want it to be right. For a while now, I've had my eye on these Coral Sea Fans from Karen Robertson Collection which are pressed between two pieces of glass. I love their simplicity combined with the aged metal frame that gives them a vintage feel. They come in a variety of colors, although I prefer the white, and I just discovered that there are other options such as starfish and sand dollars as well.

They also come in a variety of sizes, but I think the bigger the better so I would do a series of them in the 24" x 24" frames. Maybe I've finally found "the one".

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ice Capades

Despite the fact that I don't do it all that I often, I love to entertain. I daydream about the amazing parties I would throw if I had the money to do it. It's genetic and the gene was passed on to me by my mother. My mother who has what we call "the party closet". Need 40 matching white dinner plates or champagne glasses? You can find them in the party closet. So I was thrilled to come across the Cordial Sink by Kohler . I think it is genius for home entertaining. It comes with an ice mold that shapes a block of ice that holds 3 wine bottles to covert the sink to a cooler as well as a cutting board that attaches to the sink rim for your garnishes and a tray that sets into it (when not using the ice block) so that if you slightly overpour, it goes right down the drain instead of mussying up your countertop. Once again, I love an item that multi-tasks!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ottoman Empire

I am a big fan of the ottoman. While most of us have seen them as a great place to rest our feet, they are really so multi-functional. I have four of them in my living room. One placed with a big matching arm chair and then a set of three matching cubes in front of my couch. When we aren't lounging with our feet up, we can pull them out for extra seating or use them as a coffee table. I particularly like them as coffee tables when there are little ones running around because they are typically soft with no sharp corners. I find this one (from the fabulous people at the Wisteria catalog) particularly appealing. It is graceful, yet substantial. This could easily be placed in a living room with a tray on top to use as a coffee table or go at the end of bed to rest a suitcase (or clothes that you're just too tired to put away), or it could stand alone in front of a fireplace as extra seating. No matter where you put one, you are bound to get ample use out of it, and if you are tight on space or need to stretch your dollar, you can't find a better piece.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

L-O-V-E Lacquer

I was flipping through the pages of Elle magazine at the gym when suddenly the elliptical came to a screaching halt when this lime green lacquer floor appeared in an article about the inside of Tory Burch's house. L-O-V-E this! While I am partial to all things lacquer, this may be the best use of it I've ever seen. Not everyone may want a lime green floor, but the possibilities are endless as to what color and patterns you could do, and as someone who has a textured tile floor (installed by the previous owners) in my kitchen that I hate because every spec of dirt gets trapped in it and it's impossible to clean, the smoothness of it is incredibly appealing to me. It is officially part of my kitchen re-model (that is only happening in my head right now until I hit the lottery).
Photo by Paul Costello for Elle.