Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry & Bright

Stationery Card
View the entire collection of cards.
Merry everything!  Peace, love, and happy holidays.  From my family, to yours.

My first blog post for a new publication, Fig Columbia, was posted on ther site yesterday.  Check it out if you're so inclined :)


Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Local Gift Guide for the Sassy (and Classy) Woman in Your Life

(Clockwise, from top left)

So, let me be very honest: this gift guide is all things that I want.  And, I think, things your girlfriend or wife or mother or sister or best friend might want too. Here we go:

1. You can't go wrong with an Amsa Yoga class pass.  You can buy 5-class, 10-class, 20-class, or 1-month unlimited class passes, and the first class for new visitors is free.  I've waxed poetic about my love for Amsa before, but truthfully, there are lots of great local yoga studios in Columbia; find one and hit the mat.  It's like therapy and exercise in one.  (Photo courtesy of Amsa Yoga).
2. This necklace by local artist, January Jewelry, has the sort of vintage-boho feel that I adore.  It is so reasonably priced, and supports a local artist and a local shop, as it can be found at Nest, the new all-local maker's market inside the Marriott on Main Street.

3. I have a new favorite store in Columbia: Jack & Jane Sport.  I stopped in the other day to get some ideas of things I want the hubs to get me for Christmas, and this Oiselle top is definitely on the list.  Not only is it a pretty color and the perfect weight for running in Columbia right now, but you have to feel it to believe how soft this top is.  Susannah, one of the owners, helped me; she was genuinely friendly and not at all pushy.  They have great-quality athletic gear, and for men too.

 4. How about a bottle of bubbly?  Anything sparkling is my drink of choice, and a nice bottle is without a doubt one of the best gifts you can give, I think.  Kaitlin Ohlinger, a friend, and the General Manager of Cellar on Greene, and author of the wine snob, is happy to help you pick out a unique one.  This Evolution Sparkling from Oregon has a pretty sweet label.  I'm partial to Oregon wines in general, and this one is delicious!  (Sold out on-line, but Cellar has it!)

5. The Gourmet Shop is a great place to shop for gifts, especially for the foodie or chef on your list.  They have awesome gourmet candy, wine, cigars, prepared foods, and so much cool kitchen stuff!  And what lady wouldn't be happy with this daily reminder?  The You Rock ceramic catch-all is a perfect gift for any woman on your list. 

6. How about a membership to the Columbia Museum of Art.  There's not much classier or more fun (and affordable!) than a year's pass to this beautiful and hip museum.  Besides the amazing art from renowned and classic artists, the museum also hosts cool events, and the museum shop is super-chic.  This gift would please so many people, and you'd earn some "class" points for giving something cultural and useful.  (The photo above is of Jones honing his skills in the CMA children's room).

So, here's the not-so-subtle hint for anyone looking to buy a gift for me this Christmas, and hopefully this helped you with something for the lady on your list!  Shop local!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Local Gift Guide for that Special Man (Hipster, Dad, or Both!)

Clockwise, from the top:

1. I don't know about the men in your life, but my hubs likes to cook, and that is something I can always get behind.  So, how about encourage his kitchenry with a gift from The Crescent Olive?  The traditional balsamic vinegar is delicious.  I ate some just the other night with my pizza.  Weird, I know, but it's the perfect thing to dip the crusts in!

2. This is by far one of the cheapest, yet one of the best-received and well-loved gifts I have ever given my husband.  Seriously, it's cool, functional, and under $10.  A wall-mounted bottle opener from Mast General Store makes a great stocking stuffer.

3. And here's another less-expensive item upon which any Dad would love to rest his glass--a work of art coaster by Frank Heflin of Columbia, SC.  These really cool, unique graffiti art coasters are available at Nest, the newest all-local shop in downtown Columbia.  See that "Dad" coaster in the front?  It may or may not already be wrapped under my tree...

4. This next gift is an item that can be found locally at Non(e)such, a high-end specialty store on Devine Street.  My husband has actually received two of these Barrington wallet/money clip/card holders over the years, as he lost his original one and could not find anything he loved quite as much and had to replace it.

5. OK, so not everyone knows a man (or woman) who wants a tattoo for Christmas, but in case you're in the market, Shavon's Purple Lotus is a great place to go.  Her website describes it as "a place you can take your grandmother to get tattooed."  The photo above is of the tattoo my husband got with his Christmas tattoo gift certificate last year.

6. Looking for a one of a kind functional art piece for the kitchen?  Look no further than Reaves Woodworks.  A Columbia local, Larry Reaves describes this beautiful handmade edge grain cutting board as made from Maple, African Mahogany, Canarywood, and recycled skateboards.  Very hipster-chic, if you ask me.  (Photo courtesy of Reaves Woodworks.)

And, if you're in the market for something pretty cutting-edge and up-to-the-moment, how about a gift certificate to Bourbon, Columbia's newest (not-quite-open-yet) creole-cajun eatery and bar.  Just message them on Facebook, and they'd be happy to sell you a gift certificate for that lucky guy.

Happy shopping; only 8 days left before Christmas!  Buy local!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Toddler Date

On a recent Saturday morning, Jones and I set out on a mommy-son date to new local store, Provisions, and to The Mad Platter.

This was my first venture into Provisions, and Genevieve made us feel more than welcome, which is to say she was very sweet about the fact that Jones wanted to "sample"  Provisions aims to sell local bulk food and spices, as well as locally produced and farmed produce, eggs, dairy, meat, and bakery items.

And there were plenty of local food items for sampling that day.  Nuts, candy, chocolate covered pretzels, blue cheese with Sallie's Greatest Blueberry + Lavender Jam.

My friends know--and laugh about the fact--that I am usually a strict no "fruit in weird forms" kinda girl.  Meaning, no dried fruit, no hot fruit, no fruit in sauce or liquid, and especially no jelly or jam, typically crosses my lips.  Seriously, it usually disgusts me.  But, because I am an adult and I am all about trying to get my toddler to try new things, I set the good example, and tried the offering of blueberry + lavender jam on blue cheese.  Suddenly, my life of not eating fruit-in-weird-forms flashed before my eyes with a pang of regret.  (Not really).  But, I conceded to the fact that I really liked the jam on top of blue cheese.  I even bought a jar.

We also bought a bag of apple rings candy and some DiPrato's Pimento Cheese.

that's my card, right on top...fingers crossed.
After snagging some cool local food, and vowing to come back closer to Christmas to put together some gift baskets for family, we headed just down the street for the artistic portion of the date.
The Mad Platter pottery-painting studio is totally catered to accommodate kids.  Jones had a blast picking out his items to paint, then picking the colors, and then painting.

I mean, with a potty-training toddler, half of our time is spent in the bathroom, and Mad Platter even makes that easy with a family-friendly bathroom!  (If you have ever potty-trained a child, you get it).

We painted 2 nativity scenes for Jones' grandmas, and he also picked out one small train to paint for himself.

I'm pretty sure Jones' grandmothers were thrilled with their special gift, and Jones & I had an awesome time painting together.  Thanks, Mad Platter!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Local Gift Guide for that Precocious Toddler

 Clockwise, from the top:

1. This modern, unique, and eco-friendly belt made from recycled fire hose has already made its way from KD's Treehouse under my tree this year.  Jones will be getting the purple; they also have them in red, green, & blue.  The manufacturer, Gallo en Fuego, donates a portion of the proceeds from sales to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation! 

2. A membership to EdVenture Children's Museum is like a present for kids and parents.  There is always something new to see, and it is incredibly refreshing to take your toddler to a place where they are actually expected to run around, make noise, and touch everything! (The picture is of Jones playing in the ship at EdVenture a year or so ago).

3. How about this amazing handmade corduroy vest from Owlette.  I mean, this vest is over-the-top adorable, right?  She makes them in a variety of sizes.

4. Or, for the toddler girl, this precious handmade skirt, also by Owlette. Hounds tooth and corduroy...I kinda want this in my size.

5. I am obsessed with Charley Harper, and the Columbia Museum of Art Museum Shop indulges me at every turn.  This colorful puzzle-of-art would be an awesome one to Mod Podge and frame for a child's bedroom after it's completed, (if one were so craftily-inclined).

6. And a puzzle-of-art to beat all others, check out this handcrafted wooden dinosaur puzzle!  This thing is large and beautiful and perfect for a toddler or young child, (or child-at-heart-husband).  There are multiple dinos to choose from, and they're available locally at Nest, the new maker's market inside the Marriott downtown, selling only SC-made goods.  Handcrafted in the Midlands by Chris Salmon of Knifefish.

In addition to a few of these items, Jones will also be receiving a gift certificate to Columbia Children's Theatre.  He loves a performance, and I am all about giving experiences instead of things when possible!

Shop local, shop handmade!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Word for Wednesday: Ethos


thos: the fundamental character or spirit of a culture

As in: (from Denby's review of new movie, American Hustle): "Like “Goodfellas,” this movie uses voice-over to swing us into the action, offering first Irving’s view of the world, then Sydney’s, then the two in alternation, as the characters expound on their up-from-the-bottom ethos of survival."

This review of American Hustle by David Denby of The New Yorker gets me more than a little excited to experience this film.  I am already a little swoony over Jennifer Lawrence these days, after her impeccable performance in Catching Fire.  And really, I've loved her since witnessing her humility and humor at this year's Oscars.

Can't wait to see this:

Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische.

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Local Gift Guide for the Bouncing Babies in Your Life

Clockwise from the top:

1. A Hape Little Drummer drum is the perfect gift for a baby who likes to bang on things--channel that energy musically!  Available locally at KD's Treehouse.

2. Columbia is lucky to have so many creative-types selling handmade and often one of a kind items, and I would be remiss to leave Nana by Sally off of such a list.  These adorable bibs are available on her website, at Soda City Market most Saturdays, or at KD's Treehouse.  (I also recently spotted some of her beautiful bags at Mast General Store on Main Street).

3. And speaking of handmade, this unique bonnet with little ears by Columbia-local Owlette is on my wishlist for baby Birdie.

4. Columbia husband-wife duo, jellykoe, creates amazing "Wonky Dolls" and handmade plushes, perfect for that discerning and local-supporting little lad or lass. 

Stay tuned for more local gift guides that will be coming on the blog!
Buy local (and handmade) this holiday season!

Monday, December 2, 2013

What's Better Than Drinking On a Weeknight for a Good Cause?

Not much, am I right?  St. Lawrence Place, (the amazing non-profit for which I have worked for going on 8 years), is hosting a fun, holiday-themed fundraiser on Wednesday, December 4th from 6-8 PM: Sip for St. Lawrence Place.

There will be 3 wines to taste, mucho hors d'oeuvres to be eaten, (some by Southern Way Catering!), and some cool local vendors and artists selling their wares--all to support the families experiencing homelessness who are living at SLP.  AND, the tickets are only $20 each.  Win, win, win, win, win!  And, every attendee will be entered to win the door prize, a $25 gift certificate to Cellar on Greene.

Vendors include C & S Gifts, a local duo (sisters, Cindy & Sarah) who sell perfect gifts for any occasion--hostess gifts, stocking stuffers, and holiday decor.  

Reaves Woodworks (a husband-wife duo, Larry and Mary) will be selling beautifully-handcrafted cheese boards, cutting boards, and wine balancers, as well as one of a kind recycled wood jewelry.

cheese board photo via here

And Dolly Patton of Knitwits will be selling her signature ruffle scarves.

ruffle scarf by Knitwits
And when you buy an item from one of these vendors, you're not only supporting a local business, but they are going to give a portion of their proceeds to SLP, so you're also supporting a local non-profit!

So, I think you should come.  It's at my sister's gorgeous home in Columbia, the wine will be flowing, there might be a fire roaring, (as long as it's actually cold on December 4th--we do live in Columbia, so one never knows), and I'll be there, so introduce yourself if we've never met!

You can buy tickets online here, or by calling 256.3999.