Gift Guide – Mom

Mom...Love you
With Mother’s Day a little less than 2 weeks away, I thought it would only be fair to share a few gifts ideas for those special ladies in our lives… our dear mothers.

For the New Mama
I love this diaper bag that is a result of the collaboration between Oh Joy! and Feed. A gift that gives back. My favorite, of course.

For the Mama on the Go
For that mom in your life who is always on the go, I think gifts to help her stay organized are key. This bag from Anthropologie is a sort of updated Mary Poppins’ tote. Everything will fit in it! And, to help with all the lists and notes, I just love this notebook set from Tory Burch.

For the Working Mama
Juggling work and kids… seriously, I don’t know how moms do it. For the working moms, I like gifts to help her unwind. This bubble bath from Philosophy says it all, “to find peace, you must first quiet your mind and open your heart. abandon the pulls, pushes and obligations to see beyond. beyond the deadlines. beyond material wants. beyond impulses. to find peace, you must look beyond the turmoil of life and balance your spirit. in the absence of activity, you will find the only thing that matters, the gift of living in the present moment. become peace personified.” And while she is in the tub, a candle to add some ambiance is a must. This one, part of the Mara Mi travel collection, will remind her of past and or future travels. They are available for Copenhagen, Paris, New York and St. Paul.

For the Mama Chef
For the mom who loves to cook and entertain, these kitchen letters are genius. This exclusive-to-Provisions (one of my favorite on-line shopping sites) subscription includes two recipes and two letters a month for a year. And what about these bowls from Wisteria. I may just take a set myself.

For the Hip Mama
What mom out there wouldn’t love a new piece of jewelry. This bracelet is simple and oh so hip.

But really, all our moms really want to hear is that we love them. So don’t forget to tell them next Sunday and as often as you can. Mom… if you are reading, I love you!

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Found

Found
While scrolling through my Instagram feed yesterday, I saw this photo of Liya Kebede, founder of LemLem in a fantastic dress and thought to myself… there it is. My found item for the week. The color, simple lines and versatility… a great summer piece. I was quite pleased to find out, after a bit of research, that this dress was designed by LemLem for the exclusive Vogue + Born Free Collaboration, which includes fashion pieces from 22 top designers (including LemLem, Tory Burch, Prada, Carolina Herrera, and Isabel Marant) that are available for purchase on Shopbop. 100% of the profits from this collection will go toward Born Free’s mission to end mother-to-child HIV transmission at birth. Shopping for a cause always make me feel good. Take a look at the collection. Beautiful pieces indeed.

And can I just say, Liya and her company. Inspiring. A supermodel, actress and former World Health Organization’s Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, Liya founded Lemlem in 2007 as a way to inspire economic independence in her native country of Ethiopia after learning that the craft of weaving was fading away. By designing beautiful woven tops, beach cover-ups and dresses, Liya is not only preserving the art of weaving but helping those in her native country to be financially independent and successful. Doing good by doing well. So good.

#BostonStrong

Boston
Boston. What a place. This city is like no other. The architecture. The people. The landscape. Home.

My heart aches that I can’t be there today to watch my city come together for the running of the Boston Marathon. So many incredible stories have come out over the last year. Stories of tragedy and triumph. New beginnings. Bravery. Community. One such story is from my sweet church Old South located at the corner of Boylston and Dartmouth. The finish line.

In February, members of the Old South Knitters Club came up with a beautiful idea: the Marathon Scarf Project. A simple idea really. To wrap runners in marathon blue and yellow scarves knit by hand. The group thought they could complete a few hundred at best. But like all good things, news of this project went viral and as of this weekend more than 7,000 scarves were handed out to runners. What an act of love. Now that’s what I call Boston Strong!

Boston Marathon

Good

Magic
Good Friday has always held a spot near and dear in my heart. You see, it was on this day many year ago I received my acceptance letter to Mount Holyoke. The story is actually quite funny.

My Mom went to the mail and saw the package: an express overnight envelope. For anyone who knows a thing or two about college acceptance, a big package is a very good thing. She was so excited she quickly made her way to Beautiful People, a little boutique I worked at my senior year of high school (my shopaholic tendencies started early). Since it was one of those first gorgeous spring days and we had a half day of school, my boss said to take the afternoon off, which meant I could join my friends for lunch. I must have missed my Mom by no more than 10 minutes. Now remember, this is well before cell phones so I didn’t give my Mom the courtesy call that plans had changed as I figured I would just head home after lunch. The magical part of this story is that there were two Mount Holyoke alums in the shop at the precise moment she was relaying the good news to my boss… that a large envelope had arrived for me. They wouldn’t possibly send a rejection letter overnight, would they? The exact question my Mom asked. Love her.

I decided to walk home that afternoon as I wanted to take in every moment of the arrival of spring. As I turned into the driveway I saw my Mom in the garden and she told me I had received a letter from Mount Holyoke. I said “big or small” and she didn’t answer. I ran in, saw it, opened it and in that moment knew my life would change forever. Earlier that week I received the dreaded rejection letter from Davidson, my top choice. This acceptance quickly eased those wounds. I ran outside with tears in my eyes and was beyond words. In those moments I knew that Good Friday was always gonna be a good day in my book. As I shared before, my years at Mount Holyoke were some of the best. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. It turned out exactly as it was meant to. My mom later confessed that she may have opened the package. I guess she is as impatient as me at times.

And friends, on this Good Friday I am more hopeful than ever that life is revealing itself to me just as it should be. Have faith. Trust yourself and believe in magic for as Roald Dahl reminds us “… watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

Found

Pillow
Let’s just be clear. The last thing I could possibly need in my life is another throw pillow. But this morning our ever so handsome sales rep from one of my favorite fabric lines stopped by the shop to introduce some of their offerings. To say I fell hard would certainly be an understatement. The Black Edition is a collaboration with contemporary British artist Jessica Zoob. What a talent!

Jessica-Zoob

The collection includes 6 paintings, from Jessica’s Passion series, that reflect the seasons of a relationship. Spring brings a sense of anticipation; Summer is full of energy and color; Autumn can bring tempestuous storms; and Winter feels crisp and still. ‘If you’re lucky’ says Jessica, ‘Spring will always come around again’. The finished fabrics were achieved by using state of the art digital printing, which brought the paintings to life on pure linen. Works of art.

It was hard to decide on just one. While turning each page and falling more in love, I stopped when I saw this one and thought this captures me completely. Two pillows are on their way to me. Happy early birthday, May!

Gratitude

Thank you
When I read this piece in the Times, a happiness filled my heart. The art of the handwritten thank you note is something I have always loved to send and receive. I have my stepmother to thank for this. After Christmas or a birthday, we weren’t allowed to enjoy a gift until our notes were written. There is something so personal about taking the time to write to that friend or special someone who has gone out of their way for you. And receiving a note in the mail, one of the best feelings. Don’t you agree?

Here are just a few of my favorite thank you cards as of late, for as you know, I love all things paper.

– 1 Canoe 2 is certainly raising in the ranks as one of my go-to stationary sources. The simplicity of this card will make your written words shine.
– Sugar Paper has done it again with this cheery yellow gratitude card. Spot on.
– Of course I am obsessed with these… gold, French and from one of the coolest collaborations.
– The shape of this thank you card also makes me smile.

And as always, know I am thankful for you for stopping by. Needing a little pick-me-up or words of gratitude, drop me a line and perhaps a little something will find its way to you.

Picks

Easter Basket
Happy Friday! A week from today is Good Friday, which means you have exactly one week to get all the elements to create the perfect Easter basket. I don’t know about you, but I always love getting a bunch of little gifts no matter the holiday. Some practical, some funny, some delicious. My grandmother had a special talent for finding those little items that always came together and were so much fun to open. Inspired by her, I thought I would share my picks for an Easter basket that is sure to please those nearest and dearest to you.

First and foremost, you need a basket. I think this lunch box from the ever so talented Lulie Wallace will do the trick. And will certainly serve as a reminder to bring your lunch to the office and save a few extra bucks for your next getaway.

I am sure it comes as no surprise, but I have a sweet tooth. I’ve had to curb my addiction just a bit as I recently had my first cavity filled but I will allow myself to indulge for these holidays. My sweet picks include these candy bars from one of my new favorite sites Provisions, these sour gummy eggs and my all-time favorite mint candies that always remind me of my Nana.

I love introducing friends to new products or lines that I adore. A few that I know would be well received and fit the occasion perfectly include: a market pad from my all-time favorite stationary company, an egg-shaped soap from the one and only Fresh, my new favorite spring scent, and a travel book for one of my favorite cities.

I hope you have a lovely weekend and I look forward to seeing you back here next week!

Found

Found
I woke up this morning with the sun streaming into my bedroom and it made me happy. Happy because the days are getting longer. Happy because I might finally be able to put away my winter boots, my down jacket and my mittens. And happy because I can soon switch over the closet to my spring/summer wears. I tend to keep things basic during these seasons but add a punch with an accessory be it a statement necklace, scarf or a great clutch. This week’s Found item is this Clare Vivier number. It was certainly love at first sight. I envision wearing it with my go-to white jeans, a black tank (note to self: get on that plank challenge and buff up your arms) and my Millie’s for a night out at The Box. How many days till summer?

Places

Alden & Harlow
As we know, I love food and nothing brings me more pleasure that reading a recent issue of Food & Wine and planning my next getaway around where I’m dining. I’m one for the details and thus love to find a place that has it all – great food, great décor, great vibe. I love sitting down at a table and instantly noticing how much attention went into every detail of the place setting… the weight of the water-glass, the curve of the knife, the napkin itself. And let’s not even get started on menu design. My all-star list of places that just nail it include: Island Creek Oyster Bar, ABC Kitchen, Gjelina and Founding Farmers. I can now add Alden & Harlow in Cambridge to this list, and you should too. I went on a Saturday night a few weeks back and had a 9:30 reservations. Coming from island life, dining after 8 pm made me feel very hip! The space is subterranean (in the former Casablanca space on Brattle Street) with beautiful exposed brick, great lighting, an open kitchen, a killer wrap-around bar, vintage signs adorning the walls and shelves filled with things you would have in your home kitchen.

This is the first solo project for chef Michael Scelfo, who wanted Alden & Harlow to be representative of the food he would serve at home. And what food it is. Since opening earlier this year, this Harvard Square gem has become what many refer to as a “food-industry darling.” My friend and I started with the ubiquitous kale salad, featuring thin slices of fennel and an ever-so-delicious creamy pistachio dressing. The menu is meant to be shared so we decided on four plates: the golden corn pancakes drizzled with maple syrup and pop corn (interesting indeed); the rye pasta with confit chicken thigh and fig-liver butter and topped with crispy skin; the crispy Berkshire pork belly with grits, roasted kumquat and bergamot cure; and the highlight of the evening… the beef neck that was slow roasted and served with a parsnip puree, radishes and vinegar. For a selectarian (I try to stick to a mostly vegetarian diet), I must say it was to die for and worth every bite. Did we keep it to the basics, most certainly not but wow, what a meal.

The cocktail list was impressive and a bit overwhelming so we both decided on a great craft beer. Unfortunately dessert was not an option (my friend gave up sweets for Lent… who does this?) but I can tell you, the next time I’m in Boston, I’m heading back to Alden & Harlow for cocktails and dessert. Let me know if you want to join.

Collect

Elephant
I come from a long line of women who love to collect things. My Nana, fondly named Nana knickknack, had quite the collection of hummels. And my little sister went through a phase of collecting salt and pepper shakers. What do I collect, you might ask. Elephants. Little statutes of these amazing creatures make me oh so happy. I remember the first one I ever bought… it was a few years back and I was in San Francisco celebrating my sister’s 28th birthday. There is just something about their strength that has always captured me.

In doing a bit more research, I learned that elephants have amazing memories. They show us that by supporting and loving one another, our own ability to thrive in the physical world is enhanced. What a beautiful thought. And those nearest and dearest to me know my memory is one of my greatest assets. A kinship perhaps with these magnificent creatures. I dream to one day meet one face to face. Until then, I will continue to add to my collection. This one may just be on its way to me.

So, what do you collect? Would love to know.