But Not All Plaids Are Tartan

So I am completely sold on the whole plaid thing this year. Bought a blackwatch dress, now I probably need a little plaid clutch. Might as well wrap up this book, too. I must admit that last year I was tempted to buy a full length plaid taffeta skirt from J. Crew, but unfortunately, I do not own the English estate it needed to go with it.


Sweet Little Gifts: Stylish Books

Mom, Dad, Trey--they're easy. They give me lists. It's the friends, favorite cousins, nieces, that make Christmas shopping so, um, fun. So this year, stylish books for stylish friends: The Goddess Guide (fashion and beauty here and across the pond), The Little Black Book of Style (love the Ruben Toledo drawings), Slim (who doesn't love Cynthia?), and Put On Your Pearls, Girls! (is there any better advice?).
P.S. To those favorite cousins: don't worry, you're still getting silver ornaments.


Holiday To Do #4

Back in the day when I had two (high), four (undergrad), or six (graduate) weeks of school vacation, making a gingerbread house was one of my favorite holiday traditions. Mom and I made those suckers from scratch. Since those vacations are long gone, it's a good thing you can buy ready-to-assemble (or even already assembled) gingerbread houses that seriously cut down on the baking time (zero). Or just slap some graham crackers together with icing, and call it a day.
{images: martha stewart, red envelope}


Holiday To Do #3

New soap in the bathroom is one of my favorite things. These are perfect choices for the holidays, whether you like sweet, spicy, or citrus. Too bad I only have one bathroom.


Museum Quality

Somewhere along the way, holiday cookies went from being child's play to being a canvas of true artists.
{images: eleni's, epicurious, martha stewart}


Holiday To Do #2

Paperwhites have got to be one of the most elegant flowers around, and their heady scent can quickly fill up a room. Martha had a good idea: assemble all the items needed for growing (bulbs, pebbles, vase) and give as a gift.
{images: smith and hawken, martha stewart}


Holiday To Do #1

Want to keep an 8-year old busy during the holidays? Give her a bag of oranges and a box of whole cloves. That's what my mom used to do. I guess that's why today I cannot imagine the holidays without the scent of pomanders.
{images: martha stewart}


I Heart Laundry

I am not one bit embarrassed to admit that I enjoy doing laundry. Can't explain it; maybe it's because my house is so cold and the clothes are so warm out of the dryer. So of course I have some favorites: Woolite to keep my jeans dark, Forever New for my unmentionables (it smells soooooo good), and Tocca Laundry Delicate just because it looks so nice on the shelf.


Merry Merry

I could not find this wreath anywhere in the catalog, but I want it. Maybe J. Crew should start a holiday decor line. Or maybe I should just get crafty.
{image: j.crew via le coterie}

French 101

In Paris, I was obsessed with the Monoprix. I wanted to go in every one of them. Forget wine and perfume, I wanted to buy toothpaste, detergent, dishwashing soap, cookies, lipbalm, shower gel--I wanted it all. With the dollar the way it was (and is), good thing I didn't. But it's nice to know you can find many of these things at the charming website Basic French.


Chemistry 101

While science was definitely not my thing, I do have a taste for laboratory inspired housewares. Mrs. Ridenhour would have been so proud. Riedel decanter from Williams Sonoma, spice rack from Dean and Deluca, and glass storage jar from Bodum.


All of My Problems Solved

Went to the mall today, and it was a zoo--felt like the middle of December. In Sephora, I found these two essential oil sets by Philosophy. They can be added to the bath, or just inhaled on a tissue. I'm probably going to need "for the stressies" to get me back to the mall for my holiday shopping.


Through the Looking Glass

Never been to Venice, but I sure would like to go. Obviously the other person who uses this computer has been, and his pictures inspired this post. In the meantime, I amuse myself with good books set in that magical city. Like these, by Sarah Dunant and John Berendt (the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil guy).

One Sad Kid

So this is how I feel at work lately. Can't view blogs (well, I can read them but no pictures, so it's not really the same). Can't post comments. Can't even view pictures on things like Shutterfly. As you can imagine, it makes for a very long work day.


The Search Has Ended

Who knew it would take 2 1/2 years to find the perfect coaster? But we finally did, called Coaster Notz by modern-twist. Mine look like a beehive, and you can even write (and erase) on them with a ball-point pen. Some other pretty cool things on their site, like these little "boxes."


Ready, Set, Go

Even though I'm terrified of flying and rarely travel outside of three (car) hours from home, I like my beauty products petite and ready to go. As if I could grab my passport and my one quart Ziploc bag and be on a plane by tonight. Trish, Bliss, and This Works fit the bill.
{images: top, middle, bliss; bottom, this works}