Baby gifts from Uncommon Goods

COMMENTS: 5

New baby gifts

“From small beginnings come great things.” I remember spying those fortune cookie booties when I was pregnant with Hudson and thinking they’d make the sweetest gift for a friend who’d just had a baby! They even come in a Chinese take-out box! (Better yet, bring over Chinese food and sneak the booties in alongside dinner when visiting your friend.)

Revisiting Uncommon Goods over the holidays reminded me: they have a host of great gifts for new babies (and new parents). And the site has some handy gift guides if you’re lost for ideas (check out this one for kids)!

Here’s what I’d pick: 1. A cuddly penguin, large enough to rest a little head on. // 2. a 2014 birth-year box, for stowing booties and other mementos from baby’s first year—the year of the Horse // 3. I definitely recognize the scratch map, but these sweet, wool animal booties (representing each continent) are new to me! // 4. Love all the prompts in this fun baby book // 5. Fortune Cookie Booties // 6. Fun socks that actually stay put // 7. For rounding out a sock-monkey themed gift // 8. A wooden fish rattle and teether for little hands and soft gums // 9. Taxi and Metrocard: I actually bought the taxi for Hudson on the day I went into labor! He loved it. // 10. And a friend gave us the Mysterio T-shirt. (He’s destined to be a Fortune Cookie Writer.) // 11. High-contrast, pull-along bobblers // 12. And we LOVED using a strap-on chair when traveling. This one looks slick and equally handy.

P.S. Registry essentials.

This post is sponsored by Uncommon Goods, but all opinions expressed are my own. In fact, I’m especially happy to support Brooklyn-based Uncommon Goods, who endeavors to support rigorous business standards; sustainable handcrafted goods, made without harm to people or animals; and who includes fair wages in their mission-statement. Thank you for supporting Hither & Thither! 

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Catbird Alphabet rings (and a Friday link list)

COMMENTS: 5

Catbird, a jewelry shop in Williamsburg, has lovely little gift guides—including one for new moms. My favorite are the delicate little alphabet rings.  So many of my friends are (also) pregnant with baby #2; wouldn’t it be sweet to wear stacked rings, one with each child’s initial? Of course they’d make a great gift for anyone who want to keep a romantic someone’s initial close at hand, too.

More links for your weekend…

Are you done with your holiday shopping? I almost am. If you’re too late for on-time shipping, maybe consider donating to a charity—or to public radio or television in someone’s name (to say thank you for This American Life and Downton Abbey)! But if you’d like something you can wrap, here are my gift guides: For Her, For Him, For the Kiddo, and For Everyone Else.

Also, Our Common Mug, a sweet gift to share with a friend who is too far away. (Thanks for the tip, Allie!)

This send-up of Instagram clichés is hilarious. (Guilty of too many to count. Whoops!)

On a slightly related note: remember our dining room pics and my hunt for a new dining table? We got one just in time for Thanksgiving.

We just got a Christmas card from Aron’s aunt, who made a painting based on one of my photographs and used the image for her cards. So awesome to see! Here are the snowy images of Manhattan after a big storm, taken mostly in Central Park. (They’re still some of my favorite!)

A brilliant paper-snowflake-cutting tutorial, if you’re in the mood to get fancy.

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Hither & Thither Gift Guide: For the kiddo

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  1. We love this Classic Balance Bike at our house.
  2. Personalized photo games by Pinhole Press: memory, puzzles, and more… (We made this one.)
  3. Max the Raccoon (or another handmade cutie) from BRIKA
  4. This all-wood Fold-and-Go farm reminds me of the one I had in the ’80s, by Fisher Price.
  5. A playful wink in their bedroom—the Howkapow dog lamp.
  6. A Larry Gets Lost book about your hometown or someplace you’d like to visit—the pup gets lost everywhere from Los Angeles to Seattle, New York City to San Francisco…
  7. Stacking blocks that kids will love and that look good, too.
  8. Eco Dough, the closest you’ll get to the homemade playdough alternative, rumored to be less likely to dry-out.
  9. The Brio Pull Along Dachshund does an incredible job of staying upright, no matter how much he’s jerked around. No other brand of pull-along toy has compared.
  10. This Skootcase looks to be a case of “everyone wins!” at the airport. (I’ve been intrigued for a while.)
  11. Janod Story Box Farm. The French company makes various themes of these sweet boxes of wooden figures (which are perfect for travel). We picked up the Firefighters Story Box in Paris, and Hudson loves it!
  12. Mahalo Ukulele makes a great gift for kids, precisely because it’s not designed to be a toy.
  13. Such a great price point for a classic moccasin: Minnetonka for JCrew Baby.  (The entire new collection for babies is adorable!)
  14. An attractive Playmat—for under a baby’s play gym or a toddler’s train set.
  15. Who wouldn’t love The Original Slush Mug?
  16. Ubbas bath cups, to match their family’s form. (Here’s Hudson with ours.)
  17. Playskool Digital Camera and Projector. How fun to get a glimpse of the world through a little one’s eyes!
  18. And, not exactly for the child, but new parents would love this beautiful Baby Milestone heirloom set.

P.S. Last year’s Gift Guide for Kids. Those Connectable Drinking Straws were (and continue to be) a verified hit with our then 4- and 7-year-old nephews!

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Hither & Thither Gift Guide: For him

COMMENTS:

Hither & Thither Gift Guide: For him

Thanks to Aron, who wrote this gift guide for guys!

  1. Ashley and I love Apple TV, but Chromecast is a great, new, cheaper alternative—and it lets you cast anything you can watch on your computer in Google Chrome to your television… like Amazon’s huge collection of streaming video.
  2. A handsome BRIKA Handmade Leather Key Fob  to replace the carabiner.
  3. This bike kit, to keep his running perfectly, and to let him know you’d like to keep him safe.
  4. If you already bought the nice shoes, try getting him a Fine Footwear Kit.
  5. If only… 
  6. This camera takes the best photos I’ve seen from a compact point-and-shoot—AND it’s waterproof to 3o feet and drop-proof to 6 feet. I’m sure Hudson could destroy it, but he would have to really try. (We used it a lot on this trip.)
  7. Simple, but sweet. Something to remind him of his other best friend.
  8. Tools are commonplace on gift guides for guys, but there are only a few that I find that I really need. This drill is handy for so many different home projects.
  9. And, speaking of which, it’s a small gift, but if he doesn’t have one already, an all-in-one screwdriver is incredibly convenient.
  10. This timepiece is timeless.
  11. The original Astronaut Space Pen writes upside down, in unearthly weather, and is guaranteed unconditionally for life.
  12. The Wes Anderson Collection, in-depth overview of one of his favorite filmmaker’s work.
  13. You can’t have the perfect drink without the perfect ice cubes. Skip the stones.
  14. Attractive Coin storage .
  15. dopp kit used to be given to GIs during WW2—and still make a classic gift. Fill it up to personalize it.
  16. If your guy has a commute, think about getting him an Audible.com gift membership—you can pick any one book for free each month—it’s a great deal.
  17. If your camera will accept a remote (many do), they’re awesome to have for family or group photos (or selfies, if you prefer).
  18. I’ve been really enjoying The Rip Tide by Beirut recently.
P.S. A few more good ideas on this (now past) giveaway. And last year’s Gift Guide for Him. More gift guides coming up throughout the week.
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Cleaning up with iRobot

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Aron and I have debated putting a robotic vacuum-like gadget on a wish-list pretty much every holiday since we moved in together nearly 10 years ago and joined our mutual dislike for household chores. So when iRobot offered to let us try the new iRobot Braava floor mopping system? Yes, please. Sign us up!

At first I was a little wary. The iRobot is a wet/dry sweeper, not a vacuum. Aron set it up while we watched an old Tom Cruise movie (you know, that one where he runs everywhere) and the jokes began. Me: “Oh, can you remember to do X and Y?” Him: “Sure—and I’ll clean the floors at the same time!” Pager goes off. Aron comes back from phone call to hospital. “I’m on call AND I’m cleaning the floors!”

There are two cleaning modes: damp and dry cleaning (you can use disposable cleaning cloths, including Swiffer brand, or Braava’s microfiber cloths). We ran it dry first. And because it was nighttime, we couldn’t immediately see the difference between the clean and dirty floors the way you can when the sunlight hits at those afternoon angles—and I worried it wasn’t working. But then it was so satisfying (and kind of gross!) when we picked it up and looked at dirty microfiber cloth. Sort of that icky satisfaction you get when you use one of those pore strips on your face, if you know what I mean. Kind of awesome!

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Personalized gift books for kids

COMMENTS:

While we’re jumping ahead to Christmas…

Hudson has been reading a Santa book from last year’s Christmas pretty much year ’round. He even does a little dance-wiggle when he points to the snowman, recalling perhaps how there’s some magic in that old silk hat he wears? I am so curious to see how he takes to all of the holiday tradition this year (particularly Santa, as he was not a fan of the fellow in person)—and am more excited than ever to start new family traditions with him (and, eventually, his sister) in mind.

First order of business? A new Christmas book for us to read together.

The always lovely Chronicle Books has a division called MyChronicleBooks that makes a customized version of the classic poem, The Night Before Christmas: Hudson’s should be arriving soon—with his name included throughout, as well as ours and Sawyer’s and where we live (important details for Santa, of course), so that we can read it together leading up to Christmas eve.

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After all, he has to know the story so that when my dad one day tells him the naughty-ish version of the poem (from memory no less), he’ll know the difference.

There are some great alternatives to this Christmas tale, however, if you like the idea of a personalized gift book but this isn’t the right one for your family’s holiday traditions. Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site are both huge hits around here. And they have the Petit Collage Baby Book that we got for Hudson when he was born, which would make a nice gift for new parents.

Thank you to MyChronicleBooks for sponsoring this post and supporting Hither & Thither.

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Vilac toys and Le Bon Marché

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A few months ago, at the Alameda Flea, Hudson fell in love with this vintage pedal car, Vilac’s Fire Jeep. Look at that determination!

I found myself admiring all of the Vilac toys while we were in Paris this past week. While expensive, the beautifully painted, all-wood toys seemed like such well-made little treasures. The company has been making toys in the Jura mountains of France since 1911.

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The children’s floor in the grand, old department store Le Bon Marche had me looking for excuses to bring home presents. If you’re looking for a fun place to shop in Paris with a little one (a place where you’ll be equally enchanted with the adult sections), I recommend a stop.

[The above were all sourced on Amazon, however: Vilac Race Car Toy; Vilac Large Garage; Vilac La Petanque Balls with Stripes; Vilac Mini Wooden Bus; Vilac Old Fashioned Sports Car Toy; Vilac Baby Car with Handle; Vilac Metal Car; Vilac Balloon Powered Wood Boat; Vilac Harmonica; Vilac Pull Toy, Dog]

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Mother’s Day Gifts

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mother's day

Shopping for Mother’s Day? There’s no one perfect gift for the grandmother, mother, sister, wife, and expectant spouse… Maybe a simple handwritten card or some flowers will do, maybe she’s hoping for the moon!

Here are a few ideas…

Quality, French Cheese Knives that look pretty atop her cutting board.
The most decadent cookies, straight from New York. (Or you could bake a batch, because she’d love those too!)
A classic Breton striped shirt (the new staple).
Pajamas she could stay in all day.
Lamy Safari Fountain Pen in a color she’ll love, because she still prefers handwritten notes.
But she shouldn’t have to waste precious time on the return address, so a custom Calligraphy-style stamp would be sweet.

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A gorgeous new cookbook for her collection: Vegetable Literacy
A luxurious (and beautiful) Turkish Hammam Pestemal
Repeat after me: Keep Calm.
A set of stacking rings. (Perhaps pricey for the occasion, but aren’t they gorgeous?)
Gemstone Meaning Earrings (I’d choose the Aqua Chalcedony for endurance—something about marathons versus sprints?)
Friday Night Lights: The Complete Series, because you know she’ll love Tami Taylor and this is ideal summer-time, nursing on the sofa, binge-watching television.

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Nespresso Milk Frother, for the perfect latte, even if she never makes it out the door.
Cenitfolia Robe from Anthropologie: that place between comfortable and sexy.
An Air Plant: simple to care for, lovely to look at
Zoku Quick Pop Maker, because she really wants a popsicle, too.

Not pictured:
A brag book with her favorite photos from Pinhole Press. She’ll love it forever.
Well-crafted with a story behind it: something pretty from BRIKA.
A book of essays written and illustrated by women: Equals.

And of course:
Anything made with love.

An offer of help. (True story: A few months ago, I happened to be at an event with the founder of Pinterest, Ben Silbermann. His wife, infant, and mother-in-law were along with him. I got to talking with the last of those three—who was visiting from across the globe—and I’ll never forget it: I said something to the effect of “it must be so nice to be here with your grandson.” And she replied “Oh, no. I’m not here for him. I’m here for my daughter. Everyone wants to take care of a baby; I’m here to take care of my daughter.” Amazing, right?)

P.S. My wedding anniversary falls on Mother’s Day this year, by the way. Just saying. Wink, wink.

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Mother’s Day gift idea

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Last year, for Mother’s Day, we gave each of our moms a personalized 8-photo brag book from Pinhole Press. They were a big hit and we’re making them again.

The thing is, we had them shipped directly to their homes and so I didn’t see them until much later–when I realized how badly I wished that I’d ordered one for myself for that very first Mother’s Day!


This is the one that I made for my mom, with pictures of each of us holding our newborn baby on the day she and he came home from the hospital. (By the way, I think Hudson looks so much like me as a toddler, which of course makes me unreasonably proud… as if it’s some sort of big surprise or something I could control.)

Fortunately, Pinhole saves your previous orders for you, so I was able to simply push “re-order” on this one and then create three new ones. The hardest part was choosing which photos to include out of the entire year’s.

I’ll keep the rest a surprise.

Can you believe we’re already talking about Mother’s Day? Order by the end of April to get a gift to yours in time! Update: 25% off all photo books through April 16 with the code booklove. 

More gift ideas to come…

NB: Pinhole Press is a featured sponsor, but all of the opinions expressed are my own.
Interested in sponsoring Hither and Thither? Contact me at amuirbruhn [at] gmail [dot] com.

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To & From

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My new shopping habit, Luvocracry, asked me to suggest a Valntine’s day gift I’d like to receive for the latest issue of To & From–they just released their 2013 Valentine’s Day gift guide. You can find the feature, here, on pages 10 and 11.

Here are a few other things I’d be happy to have on any gift list…

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Teuscher Champagne Truffles (my favorite chocolates)
A bejeweled clutch (and somewhere special to take it tucked under my arm)
Something shiny and delicate with my loved one’s initial
Something shiny and less delicate (ideally with a romantic inscription)
Anything with “A Love Story” in the title (but especially this book)
A preview of summer (with plans for somewhere warm to wear it)
A bouquet of sharpened pencils (because you know I love that movie)
Body glow oil (because I’d never buy it for myself but would probably like to)
Underwear both of us can appreciate
A honey jar (even though I’m already so sweet–ha!)
Classic, valentine red drop earrings
Or A bouquet of paperwhites and a romantic movie.

P.S. Request an invite to Luvocracy.

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Gift Guide: For Her

COMMENTS:

(1) I’ve had these bags by Valhalla pinned for ages now. A very Brooklyn bag. (And P.S. Did you know you can buy Etsy gift cards now?)
(2) The Gilmore Girls Complete Series on DVD–because they’re not on Hulu or Netflix, darn it!
(3) Round out her collection with still-relevant, out-of-print issues of Domino Magazine.
(4) A beautiful Turkish Towel.
(5) Classic riding Boots will be a huge hit. It’s a thrill to open the giant box and get that whiff of leather. And these will last forever.
(6) These will come in handy when the weather warms up: A set of waxed canvas Panniers for riding bikes together.
(7) The new Eames coffee table book.
(8) I think the LemLem Split Scarf is gorgeous. But it’s the sort of thing I would never splurge on myself. I’m guessing there are many others out there who would love this just as much as I would.
(9) A gold-dotted dish for keeping her earrings in.
(10) Gorgeous coasters. I don’t actually like to make people use coasters, but for these might require an exception.
(11) A perfectly simple, gold, Michael Kors Women’s watch (that’s big enough to fit on a man’s wrist).

(12) All of the best cafes in New York seemed to use these Classic Italian Cappucino Cups.
(13) Cashmere socks  Completely decadent.
(14) Swedish Hasbeens 877 Zip It Emy Boots. These might be really for me.
(15) A trendy necklace for wearing with t-shirts and jeans.
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Gift Guide: For Him

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(1) These aren’t cheap, but he only needs one great, classic pair of jeans.
(2) I really like the looks of these super-slim  J Fold Wallets.
(3) Who wouldn’t like a pair of wingtips? These from Frye are awesome, but Penguin has a good version too–for less!
(4) This helicopter may not last forever, but it’s crazy fun! Think obstacle course through your pendant lights… or maybe don’t… (I’ve actually wanted one forever.)
(5)  Timeless.
(6) Gin is undergoing a resurgence and this has long been one of my favorites. We recently had it over ice with sparkling grapefruit juice from Trader Joe’s and a sprig of rosemary. If he’s an independent sort of fellow, try this homemade gin kit.
(7) Because you never know when he is going to need a pen.
(8 & 9) I really enjoyed the new Babel by Mumford & Sons the first time I heard it, and I’m liking Grizzly Bear’s Shields more with every listen.
(10, not pictured)Ashley gave me this wonderful calendar of our family, it would be great any office.

And by the way, I get teased by Ashley that every link I send her lately is from the online flash sale site, Touch of Modern.

P.S. Last year’s guide for guys. And I stand by my (cheesy) tip: if you give anything to him with love, he will love it.

Coming up next… For Her.

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Gift Guide: For the Kiddo

COMMENTS:

(1) This Connectable Drinking Straw is such a simple gift, but it was a huge hit with my nephews
(2) The first thing Hudson did when he saw his new Petit Collage Acrylic Mirror was to kiss it. The second was to bang on it. I’m happy it’s acrylic.
(3) The Onion’s Great Escape: Fun and beautiful (for K and up).
(4) Battat Take Apart Crane. Because what’s better than a toy crane? A toy crane you take apart. With tools.
(5) These Kid O Floating Ducks are the best. They of course float, they’re practically indestructible, and they stay gunk free (especially nice since the little one seems to get carried around and sucked on from time to time). Oh, and they’re super attractive.
(6)Cheeky! A onesie from the New Museum for the new baby.
(7) For patient stacking or displaying: Croc Pile
(8) Sleepsacks are the best. I sort of wish I could use one myself. We have ones by aden + anais and Baby Deedee (so cozy!), but this Woodland DwellStudio Night Sack is awfully pretty.
(9) This cute Wheely Bug is low to the ground and easy-to-maneuver. It was tough getting Hudson off of the small one.
(10) It may be really for mom and dad, but wouldn’t a custom silhouette be nice? (Or you could try your hand at your own.)
(11) Charley Harper’s illustrations are my favorite.
(12) If they’re old enough for their own deck of cards, get them two sets of these limited editon (but super affordable) Tim Burton cards–from his retrospective at MoMA last year.

 

P.S. Coming later today: Aron’s gift guide for him and mine for her.
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A calendar for dad’s office

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Aron just moved into his new office at work–which he described as a process of “picking up my Kaiser hat, Kaiser camel pack, and Kaiser lunch pail and moving down the hall.” Soon I’ll make sure he puts up a copy of the doctor typeface, but until then I was very pleased to send him back with a calendar full of family photos. It arrived, along with his new business cards, at the perfect moment.

He’s going to put it up in the exam room, so I thought it would be nice to be able to point out dates for return appointments and such and then–“Oh hey, have you seen my adorable one-year-old son and loving (clever) wife?” And who are we kidding… Aron would never write on an actual calendar. (Though this one comes with an acrylic frame and you can use dry-erase on it.)

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It’s so pretty. I’m a little jealous.

As ever, Pinhole Press makes the most beautiful stationary products. We made this photo book for Hudson last year and used the site to work on a wedding album. I treasure our baby announcements and the Christmas cards we made last year, too, and we’ve bought framed photos for gifts.

Now that we have Hudson, I’ve fully come around to sending photo cards at the holidays. (Especially because I LOVE getting them.) These are a few of my favorite ones this year. Can you believe it’s time to think about this again?

Shop Pinhole Press.
Interested in sponsoring Hither and Thither? Contact us at amuirbruhn [at] gmail [dot] com.

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American Folk Art Museum

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Often I’ll take a bunch of photos on an outing with the intention of posting them, and then just forget. (Other times I decide the experience is one not worth your time: Hello this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.) Then, by the time I return to them, the season has changed and it is too late. And now there’s Hudson–who is growing into a boy with changes by the hour–to add to the anachronism. But I’m just going to have to ask you to ignore the big, puffy winter coats in these few photos of a visit to the American Folk Art Museum.

A very small museum with a turbulent history of relocation and funding struggles, the American Folk Art Museum now sits across from Lincoln Center and is free to visit (though a donation would be much appreciated). I had been wanting to visit for a while, having meant to go over the summer for a quilt exhibit. Now I’d like to go back and linger in the gift shop. There were so many beautiful books and interesting accessories.

However we left instead with a cate & levi handpuppet. Not so much because each is handmade and unique (though that’s pretty cool), but because it made Hudson laugh. This was early in the “Hudson laughs!” excitement (it had maybe happened a handful of times), and moments after hearing him laugh Aron was at the cash register. Only then did we learn it was $32. Yowza! But oh that sweet sound.


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Hudson’s first Christmas present

COMMENTS:

We made Hudson a photo album for Christmas, and it just arrived! I’m so over-the-moon with how it turned out and can’t stop flipping through it. I can’t wait to look through it together, with him on my lap, and tell him stories about all the people inside who love him.

We ordered it from Pinhole Press (the wonderful stationary line from whom we ordered our announcements, and one of our sponsors), their “Names and Faces” book, and it feels and looks wonderful. They are sharing gift ideas on their site as part of their “12 days of giving” and our book is featured in their idea gallery! You can see more images from Hudson’s present there (a safe gift to share pre-Christmas, as I’m confident he won’t look). Also, those who comment on each of the 12 days has a chance to win a gift certificate that day! (And though our idea posted yesterday, they let me know that you can still comment there and a second $50 winner will be announced here Friday.)

We’re also getting our Christmas cards from Pinhole Press (on my to-do list), but I think those will have to stay a surprise so that they’re a special delivery for our family. It will be our first time getting photo cards for the holiday, but I figure a new baby gives us license–right? Do you send out holiday cards?

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It’s the thought…

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While I’m on the subject of how much I love Partners & Spade (Seriously, can they do no wrong?), this is brilliant.

My best friend Chris and I, back in high school, had actually decided that it would be just as good if you knew what someone wanted to get you as if they actually got it for you–provided that it was truly thoughtful and specific. We were going to give each other cards with our very thought-out gift idea on birthdays from then on out.

I wish I could say that we followed through (or that I really don’t want any presents this Christmas). I think it’s time for visiting the 99 cents store, i.e. Partners & Spade.

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