My favorite things: hostess gifts

I'm back! If you're wondering where I've been, I successfully underwent ACL reconstruction surgery last week. On the road to a LONG recovery. Take care of your knees, especially if you're heading to the slopes for the holidays.

Last year during the holidays I shared some of my favorite things. Here are my picks for items any host or hostess would be delighted to receive:

Let's start with the most obvious -- a bottle of wine.

I'm not a chardonnay fan. I simply don't like the flavor of oak. When I ordered a glass of Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay this summer at George's in Alys I was hooked. This wine is fermented and aged in cement tanks, which sets it apart from oak barreled varieties. Tasty and comes in a cool ceramic bottle too. A bit of a splurge at $25 a bottle.


Block Nine Pinot Noir continues to be my favorite red. I just served it at Thanksgiving. At under $15 a bottle, you can't go wrong.


And speaking of red wine. Back by popular demand -- Tech Stain Remover. An unexpected, yet practical gift. Be creative. Package it with a bottle of red wine. Trust me, every hostess needs a bottle in her arsenal. Available on and most local hardware stores like Intown Ace.

Speaking of stains, do you all know about The Laundress? I think we all agree that doing laundry is a tedious and loathsome task. The Laundress products can add a bit of style to your otherwise dull laundry room. I like the Apres hand cream and soap duo. On sale now for $34. Okay, a bit of a luxury, but every laundress deserves something special. Why spend money on the living room, when we spend most of our time in the kitchen and laundry room? If you have a question about a mysterious stain or truly terrible laundry quandary, just ask the laundress.

Chic And Clean
{For a small fortune, you too can stock your laundry room with The Laundress products}

There's always a lot of food around for the holidays. It's nice to receive baked goodies, but why not gift something that can be enjoyed after the holiday season? As you know I'm quite smitten with Jeni's ice cream. Her salty caramel sauce is to die for! A steal at $22 for a two pack.

Scented candles can be a tricky purchase. A candle scent -- like perfume -- is a personal preference. I continue to stand by my fave Seda France "Japanese Quince." For something more subtle, you can't go wrong with "Cutting Garden."

Note to the hostess: You do know not to burn scented candles near food, right? They are meant to be used near an entrance to your home or in the powder room. Burn non-scented candles on any surface that has food on or around it.

Pagoda Candle by Seda France

I love these signet mugs from Anthropologie. Perfect for tea and coffee drinkers alike. Mug + small treat = $10!


I stumbled upon the Canadian company Chive last summer. Chive has an extensive collection of vases and pots -- not to mention gnomes -- for all of your floral needs. Styles are definitely more on the modern side. My fave is the simple frog cube. At less than $10, it comes in a rainbow of colors. Cut a flower, herb or piece of greenery from your yard -- holly would be nice this season -- pop it in a cube and present it to your hostess. Go ahead and order a case. You will have to pay a small shipping fee, but I received a free gift with my order. I do love a little surprise. White is an obvious choice for its versatility, but silver would be nice for the holidays.

 {I always have one in my powder room.}

Enough for now. What will you be giving as hostess gifts this season?



A Wise Old Owl
A wise old owl lived in an oak
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard
Why can't we all be like that wise old bird?
-- The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes

Curious about the wise old owl, I did some research. In Greek mythology the Little Owl was a messenger of Athene -- the the goddess of wisdom. This may explain why owls symbolize wisdom today. The Greeks used owls as decoration for their army as they believed it offered them protection. If a Little Owl flew over the army during battle, it was an omen of victory. During World War II, the US Army used the rhyme on a poster tweaking the ending line with "Silence means security."

Has anyone else noticed that owls are trending big time this holiday season? I'm seeing them everywhere. And they are really cute. Let's take a look.


{flannel wreath}

{fluffy ornaments, accessories and more mugs than you can shake a stick at}

Star Provisions is filled to the rafters with holiday decor. Owls abound, including this owl adorned tree…

{The silver owls are my faves.}

{Love this vignette. The white porcelain guy is a piggy bank -- cute idea for a child's bedroom.}

Jonathan Adler added an unglazed porcelain owl ornament to its "swanky swag" menagerie...

Here's the wise guy hanging on a gilded tree...

Last, but certainly not least, what a fun way to plate your eggs Christmas morning and store your contacts before bed. Ace is the place.

It was pretty obvious what to order with my delicious dinner at Sobban last weekend.

{Hitachino Nest beer from Japan}

Restaurant review coming soon.

My holiday tablescape...

Thanksgiving was an exciting day here. We celebrated Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and my sister's birthday.

Remember my blue and orange mood board? Here's how it came to life:

Hope you all had a good one, and for those of you who are still enjoying the festival of lights...

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