Tag Archives: williams sonoma

get gifting: foodie finds

If there’s anything I love as much as shopping, it’s food. Eating out, cooking in, buying totally unnecessary specialty equipment (wait, that’s technically shopping…) – however you slice it, I have a serious culinary side. So I like to think I have a special knack when it comes to picking out gifts for the foodie on your list. Believe me when I tell you there’s not a thing on this list I wouldn’t swoon to see under my tree. Except possibly that Shun knife, but only because I already have one (trust me: it will change your life).

Read on

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the how-to: easter for grown-ups

I’ll be traveling for Easter this year, but it’s a crying shame. Lately, I’ve been seeing so many ideas for an adult-friendly Easter fête that I’m wishing I had the chance to host a swanky brunch soirée.

It all started when I spied these fantastic egg-shaped placemats from Chilewich (who else?). They say Easter without screaming it from the rooftops, and  would be the perfect nod to seasonal décor without going overboard: elegant, easy and still right on message for the season. Plus, they’re subtle enough to be useful throughout the summer, instead of being relegated to the back of a drawer.

I’d add an oversized bunny – in deep dark Vosges chocolate studded with pink Himalayan sea salt – as a centerpiece (just be prepared with a tiny hammer when it’s time for dessert)…

And maybe a grown-up version of an Easter treat for your guests (sold out online, but still plentiful in stores)…

That’s it – a celebration that’s perfect for all of your childless friends. To make my life even easier, I’d pick up a spiral-sliced ham, soft-boil some eggs (leave them in the shell, and they’ll also look gorgeous on the table), whip up an easy hollandaise (I spilled all my secrets at Shelterrific last year), and have everyone make their own Eggs Benedict. Add a bit of roasted asparagus and some bakery-grade English muffins, and you have the world’s easiest party in the bag.

Of course, if you’re up for a lower-key version of the festivities, you might consider wrapping up one of Creature Comforts’ spot-on Easter basket ideas for grown-ups. They’re exactly what I’m hoping the Easter Bunny brings me!

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get gifting: the foodie

For the friend who reads cookbooks like they’re novels, thinks Dean & Deluca is the mother ship, and is always dragging you to the new fusion restaurant in town or making you her guinea pig for the secret ingredient du jour (this month, I hear it’s harissa).

  1. Foodies rarely need an excuse to party, but a subscription to a champagne club should secure your seat at his next dinner party. Henri’s Reserve champagne club, from $600
  2. Who isn’t chasing the next best caffeine fix? For tea drinkers, Harney & Sons makes my favorite holiday blend – warm and cozy, with just a hint of holiday spice. And for coffee lovers, choose a bag or two from Ristretto Roasters (based here in Portland) – it’s simply the best I’ve had. Holiday black tea blend, Harney & Sons, $15; Ristretto Roasters, from $14 for 12 oz
  3. Nothing transforms ordinary cooking faster than good salt and great olive oil. Get them one of each, and they’ll eat well all year (or until they run out). Olive Oil – 2011 Blend, McEvoy Ranch, from $22; Finishing salt starter set, The Meadow, $38
  4. I’m always looking for rectangular bakers in just the right size – this set gives you all the options you’ll need. 3-piece potluck baker set, Crate & Barrel, $30
  5. Maybe more of a stocking stuffer than a full-fledged gift, but I’m on a perpetual quest to find the perfect spoon. These two are high on my wish list this year. Silicone batter whisk, Tovolo, $12; Acacia wood paddle, Michael Ruhlman, $25
  6. Vosges Haut Chocolat is the gold standard for foodie treats. Their exotic truffles are perfect for a gourmet, but my heart belongs to the Toffee Trifecta hat box, packed with 3 varieties (including bacon caramel!). Vosges Toffee Trifecta, $58 and Exotic Truffles, from $26
  7. A cookbook is a no-brainer gift for a foodie, but you need one that suits their style to a T. For casual home cooks, I love me some Paula Deen, but hardcore food lovers will be more enamored of Michael Ruhlman’s latest. Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible, $17; Ruhlman’s Twenty, by Michael Ruhlman, $22
  8. Hands down, the most stylish way I’ve ever seen to BYOB. Felt wine tote, Graf+Lantz, $79
  9. Adapted from an illustration in a 1927 Parisian book on wine appreciation, this apron is the perfect addition to any foodie’s kitchen. L’Art du Vin apron, The Met Store, $30
  10. Foodies are forever chasing the “next big thing” in culinary creativity. A set of exotic spices will get their creative juices flowing, and keep them ahead of the pack. Spice kits, Williams-Sonoma, from $40
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gift guide: all about dad

ah, father’s day…maybe the most stress-inducing gift-buying holiday outside of christmas.  men are notoriously hard to shop for, and unless your dad’s addicted to golf or bad ties, the usual suspects for men’s gifts are, well, lackluster.

with that said, i’ll freely admit that my ideas here aren’t exactly groundbreaking.  for the most part, i think guys are happiest when they get the coolest, latest toy in the genre they like best, whether it’s sports, tech, tools, or whatever else they’re into. so, assuming you’re not shelling out to get dad an ipad for father’s day (the ultimate way to ensure your name gets to the top of the list in his will), here are a few suggestions to keep dad on cloud nine this father’s day:

haffstreuner watch, by hlaska ($200):  i can tell you that choosing one thing to feature from hlaska for father’s day was no small feat…honestly, i could have written this whole guide from their site.  but if i have to choose, i think a hip new watch is the ultimate dad gift.  if you’re up for a splurge (or, more likely, going in on something with your siblings), my favorite is this super-sized haffstreuner watch, which is sleek and simple, but destined to remain perpetually stylish.  the face actually reminds me a bit of a compass, so it’s sure to bring a flash of nostalgia to dad’s eye, and make him feel like a serious wilderness trekker wherever he roams.

iHome app-enhanced alarm clock ($99):  for the seriously gadget-addicted dad, this is guaranteed to keep him occupied for hours on father’s day (and beyond).  it’s an iphone dock and charger, plus alarm clock – but it works with a (free) iphone app to let dad take his naps to a whole new level of tech-supervised sophistication.  he can fall asleep to james taylor and wake up to the beastie boys (your mom should love that).  it will even update dad’s facebook page when he beds down and wakes up (in case you haven’t managed to convince your ‘rents to avoid facebook entirely).  plus, the display is super cool.  i’ve been testing it for a week or so, and while i’ll admit that it may be a little more high-tech than i can handle, that should thrill any geeked-out dad beyond measure.

pizza grill stone, by williams sonoma ($99):  if your dad’s the stereotypical grillmaster, ditch the titanium-cased set of grill tools, and spring for something to really help him up the ante at his next barbecue.  my hubs swears that the only way to make a good pizza at home is with a minimum 800-degree oven, this pizza stone built for the grill seems like a much safer option than dismantling the auto-lock on the oven’s cleaning cycle (an ongoing battle in our house).  if nothing else, it will save you from a summer full of only burgers and hot dogs.  (a very close runner-up here is this smoker box for the grill. at an extremely wallet-friendly $40, it’s virtually guaranteed to banish dry chicken from dad’s grilling repertoire.)

bucket boss tool organizer, amazon ($16):  don’t laugh.  okay, you can laugh…it totally baffles me too.  but i honestly haven’t seen my hubs get more excited about anything he’s bought lately (with the obvious exception of his new ipad) than this weird bucket boss.  it’s basically a tool belt that you attach to, yes, a bucket.  for some reason, it’s as enthralling as a new power tool…especially in my house. throw in a bucket, and maybe even this “super cool” bucket lid seat thing to go with it (also a big hit), and you’ve got yourself one very happy, handy dad, all for about $30.

here’s hoping one or two of these help you add a little creativity to your gift-giving this year.  something tells me your dad has enough neckties.

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what i’m giving today: on the cheap!

that’s right – today’s guide is for the last-minute, budget-conscious shoppers among us.  whether you’re in desperate need of stocking stuffers, hanukkah gifts or just a quick, thoughtful idea that will preserve your credit balances, here are a few of my favorite ideas:

gifts from benefit cosmetics are such an easy, no-fail option for any girl on your list…and the price is always right.  plus, you can score free overnight shipping with code LASTGIFT, so you’ll have these in plenty of time.  i’m thoroughly addicted to their itty-bitty creaseless cream shadows ($19) – you truly can’t go wrong with any color, and these apply and last better than any i’ve tried.  but my personal favorite is their 24K sexy gold set, which is absolutely perfect for a new year’s eve date – the set includes a gorgeous gold lipstick, a light shimmer powder and a cute little gold clutch…all for $32 at your friendly neighborhood sephora.

olio united is one of my favorite local stores, and they happen to be offering free overnight shipping as well, so i can’t help sharing a little love.  if you didn’t buy anyone a set of TOMS from when we talked about them a while ago, consider a one-of-a-kind, handpainted pair designed by fab artists like amy ruppel and jill bliss.  all are marked down from $125 to $55, so for about the same price as a standard pair, you can score a pair that’s a work of art.  i also love these amazing little laser cut earrings ($15) made of the coolest foam matboard material, and don’t even get me started on their gorgeous notebooks and other paper goods – all perfect, creative last-minute gifts!

reusable shopping bags are all the rage right now, and these from rume are some of the prettiest and most functional i’ve seen.  each can be folded up and secured with a velcro strap, and the set of three can also be secured together with velcro.  plus, they’re stylish enough that i’ve taken to stowing one in my purse at all times for impulse buys.  tip:  these are also great to protect your designer handbag from sudden inclement weather.  order today, use code “holiday” and they’ll guarantee 12/24 arrival.  they run $30 for three, and i’m not at all above splitting up a set to give one to three different people!

and, when all else fails, my no-fail sources for last-minute gifts are old-school…everyone loves a retro classic.  so, i inevitably head to williams-sonoma and restoration hardware.  pick up an old-fashioned toy for the child in all of us at restoration hardware, or grab one of a dozen different overpriced-but-delicious treats at williams-sonoma.  who could say no to a canister of amazing hot chocolate (which also happens to make amazing fudge) or a wooly willy game?

happy procrastination shopping, everyone…we’re nearly done!

update:  for even more, quite possibly better ideas, check out the fantastic stocking stuffer gift guide from my lovely friends over at orangebeautiful!

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