One downside of starting a new job in December means I am expecting to be really busy with learning the ropes of my new role and therefore likely won’t have nearly as much time to shop for holiday gifts as I normally would, so I’ve actually gotten a head start this year and have several gifts not only purchased, but even wrapped. No, I don’t know who I am either being this prepared.
Needless to say, my mind has been focused on finding cool stuff for all of the people in my life (and OK, definitely a couple of things to put on my wish list) and so I wanted to share some of the cool things I’ve found recently that I really love. (Note: this is not an excuse to post a bunch of affiliate links or anything–I just really love these products and thought you might too.)
So without further ado, please find my 2015 guide to cool stuff you might like for your kitchen and home or to give to someone else:
Agate coasters (mine are from the MoMA Design Store, but you can also find them at west elm): I bought a set of these years ago as a wedding gift for a friend and I loved them then, but never got around to getting a set until this year when I asked Michael for one for my birthday. They look awesome on a dark coffee table whether they are brightly colored or more neutral (my set has both kinds of colors included but each set will vary) and wipe clean extremely easily.
Bormioli Rocco Bodega Modern Red Wine Glasses, set of 12 from west elm: Of course, you need some glasses to go on those coasters and I absolutely love these. I’m a huge fan in general of the stemless wine glass and specifically of the juice-glass-as-wine-glass, and these fit the bill nicely with their clean lines and sturdy construction. They can even be used as dessert serving dishes if you so choose. At full price they aren’t a bad deal but if you can get them on sale you’re really getting a steal.
Antique botany lithographs from Crescent City Books: When we were in New Orleans, I happened to pop into Crescent City Books to see if I could find any interesting used books. While I was browsing Michael started flipping through a selection of matted prints that they had up front, and after showing them to me we decided to get one as a housewarming gift for good friends of ours. We then started chatting with one of the clerks at the shop and he explained that these were roughly 200-year-old lithographs from old botany magazines that were colored by hand, and what was really special about them was how vibrant the colors still were, especially the violet tones. Not only did we go back the next day to get the other print we had liked for ourselves, but then a week or two later I called them up to order two more as gifts. The store was super-helpful in sending photos of each print they had available in the sizes I had in mind, and we were able to find two that fit into our budget (they start at $65 and go up from there) that were both exquisite. They’ll ship anywhere so if you’re at all intrigued, definitely contact them to find out more.
iSi Gourmet Whip siphon: it’s not only great for making all kinds of foams, but you can also use it to infuse flavor into various liquids. I’ve already done some experimenting with infusing fruit flavors into alcohol, and next year I want to expand to making infused oils, vinegars, and maybe even dabbling in making our own bitters and (gasp!) vermouth.
Giorgio Locatelli’s Made in Italy: While I have received several awesome cookbooks this year as birthday gifts, I think this might be my favorite to give to someone else if they are Italian food enthusiasts. It’s beautiful enough to just sit and page through, but I would keep a pack of small Post-Its handy in order to mark off all of the recipes you’d like to make. It’s also interspersed with stories of his upbringing and his musings on Italian classics which keeps it from being simply a fancier version of The Silver Spoon.
Puglia: Speaking of The Silver Spoon, this is the cookbook I would give to anyone who loves Italian food but has exhausted the usual channels and is looking for something different. Brought to you by the people who edit The Silver Spoon, it’s part of a series of books that dives into each region of Italy and its cuisine. I’ll be writing about this book at length soon, but in short the recipes are not only delicious, but give you a nice departure from all of the classics that you’ve seen done over and over again both in books and on the internet.
Wireplay candle holder from CB2: I eyed this for ages before I finally pulled the trigger and bought it to celebrate our new place, and I couldn’t be happier that I did because it really creates a delightful lighting scheme thanks to the strategically placed tealights. Unless you have a very crowded table it doesn’t seem to really get in the way of hands and wine glasses, and it works very, very well to dress up a buffet-style spread as evidenced from our New Year’s Eve celebration from last year. The playful light definitely helps in nurturing that sense of hygge that is so important starting this time of year.
Vintage Style Coupe Stemware from west elm: Most of the products here are things I’ve personally either bought and/or used, but this is probably the one thing popping up on my really-shouldn’t-but-want-to-anyway list. During our NOLA trip we went to the Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel, and many of the fabulous cocktails we had were featured in gorgeous glassware that if it didn’t come from west elm directly, west elm was able to get a very close facsimile. Don’t get me wrong–I adore my martini glasses and all of the other beautiful pieces we have…but part of me would love to have these to sip a Vesper or Manhattan out of every once in a while. This is one where I’m going to see if the Black Friday gods actually want me to have these; if I can get a good deal on them you might see them popping up either here or on Instagram.
With that, happy shopping and (more importantly) have a fantastic holiday season!