11.14.11 Gifted Program

Online shopping 790 xxx
mistress of the (shopping) universe
You can run but you can't hide. I kind of hate to bring it up, but you'll love me when they're all said and done. The holidays, that is. (Hey, don't shoot the messenger. They're on their way whether I announce it or not.) Which is why I'm posting my collection of online shopping resources even earlier than last year. By the way, I still stand by all the suggestions of 2010, so you may want to have a look. Gwyneth already posted hers, and they're worth a gander, too. Because you really, really, really don't want to leave this until the last moment. If you look up hell in the dictionary, there's a picture of a mall on December 23rd. Don't go there. I do confess to feeling a little guilty about the carbon footprint of mail-order shopping, but then I think about the gas I would use to get to the store, and the karmic goodwill I am preserving by not having to engage with fellow humans in combat-shopping mode at this time of year. So make your list, and don't dwell too long on naughty or nice. Save your energy for finding gifts that will leave them all gob-smacked with glee.
Online shopping 790 xxx
Before we get down to it, a few orders of business. I'm not going to be posting quite as frequently over the next couple of months. I'm doing a big push on my novel, not to mention that soon I'll be up to my ears in caramel-making, which each year threatens increasingly to take over my life. But to assuage you I will be offering another giveaway: 2 lucky winners will receive a bag of said caramels, this year featuring salted vanilla and chocolate chile. Stay tuned for a future post with details on how to win. And, in a personal note to my family and friends, the following resources are not thinly veiled hints.Although there are a couple of gourmet suggestions at the end, this list is composed primarily of fabulous online shopping destinations for gifts and household items. For the most part they are small, independent and eclectic companies, rigorously curated by design fanatics. I will call out some favorite items, but I do recommend you click through and explore the entire inspired inventories of these modern merchants.
Bestmade1 790 xxx
everything is best made
My friend and fellow outdoorsman, Peter Buchanan-Smith, has done an incredible job stocking his beautifully designed site, Best Made Company, with the ultimate in function-meets-form. Renowned for his gorgeous axes, this season's must-haves include a brilliant red wool blanket made in collaboration with the venerable Pendleton, and a jumbo 1/2-gallon jug of New Hampshire organic maple syrup that is both a work of art and great on pancakes.
Bestmade2 790 xxx
And now for the LA contingent...
Ar3 790 xxx
wall art that you can write on
A+R Global Design is the creation of British ex-pat Andy Griffith, a former film editor, and Rose Apodaca, a pop culture and style journalist. Their brick-&-mortar store is on Abbot Kinney in Venice (of course it is) but if you can't make it, the online boutique is fully stocked. I love that you can shop by category or by material (rubber, wood, leather, etc.) In addition to the chalkboard sticker wall art, ideal for kids or kids-at-heart, I love this black leather "corner store bag," a very chic riff on the ubiquitous "sustainable" tote.
Ar2 790 xxx
And who couldn't use this magnetic soap holder to prevent that eternal problem of the icky, sticky bar?
Ar 790 xxx
you shove a magnet into the soap and the holder sticks to it
Heath Ceramics is a California institution that keeps reinventing itself, in part with interesting collaborations with talented artisans like Atwater Pottery's Adam Silverman and master woodworker Edward Wohl. They have some unexpected things like this adorable picnic tote that unfolds into a tablecloth/blanket. It's a collaboration with the fabulous Sherry Stein, whose elegantly efficient workbags are designed for real (cool) women leading real (cool) lives.
Heath2 790 xxx
Another wonderful gift idea, especially for friends who have just moved, are their tile house numbers in styles designed by Eames or Neutra. The beautiful linen napkins from Commune Design produced by local LA producer Matteo would also make a welcome gift.
Commune 790 xxx
make a splash with a kilim throw pillow from commune
Or go straight to the source and shop from Commune Design's own online store, put together by some of LA's most discerning tastemakers. The selection is very chic but not especially cheap, though there are some bargains to be had. The Farmshop napkins paired with a great cookbook (my recommendations on those coming this week) would be sweet; or how about a bottle of something interesting (maybe this or one of these) along with Commune's elegant tooled leather coasters? I also love their glass drinking straws in a fab leather case.
Droog2 790 xxx
droog is stylish and practical
Droog is a Dutch design collective that got famous for its provocative work in the 90s but has now settled into a groove of clever, super-functional stuff. I love the whimsically shaped coir doormats (hare and hippo)...
Droog11 790 xxx
Aldo Bakker's ergonomically designed salt cellar
Droog3 790 xxx
strap one on
...and this excellent elastic strap that can hold newspapers, accessories, even rolls of toilet paper.I'm a big fan of Areaware's low-key attitude and charm. They have an eye for enduring design that always feels very of the moment. Download their online catalog just to appreciate the gorgeous styling and photography.
Areaware 790 xxx
the ne plus ultra of piggybanks
Areaware2 790 xxx
a very cuddly puppy pillow
Areaware3 790 xxx
a retrofabulous radio for that hard-to-buy-for hubby
Medina 790 xxx
basket case
I happen to have a real weakness for baskets, and there are plenty of lovely versions to choose from at Medina Baskets. A couple of favorites include the striped jute tote, above, and the classic French market basket, below. These are great as summer purses or for taking to the farmers market, of course!
Medina2 790 xxx
Something exotic but much more affordable than a vacation in Essouira can be found at Beldi, an online shop full of lovely artisanal wares from Morocco.
Beldi 790 xxx
from brightly colored leather cuffs (for the sullen teen)
Beldi2 790 xxx
to recycled glass tea sets (for the hipster hostess)
You may be familiar with Canvas, but I want to remind you that they're a great online resource for gifts. They have a fun feature on the site, too, where they photograph a gorgeous room and then right below you can click on anything in the photo to buy. Talk about instant gratification.
Canvas1 790 xxx
nepalese felt placemats
Canvas2 790 xxx
ceramic canisters with chalkboard strip
Canvas3 790 xxx
tie dye pillows support Aid to Artisans
One of Gwyneth's Goop picks that looked interesting to me was Greenhouse Design Studio. So many places now have a "sustainable" or "eco-friendly" slant, and I'm all for it, especially when the aesthetic remains appealingly sophisticated.
Greenhouse 790 xxx
from indispensable hemp twine (great with kraft paper for wrapping gifts)
Greenhouse2 790 xxx
to these voluptuous vintage wine bottles
Branch is another of these sites that's worth a look. They're very conscious of where, how and of what their products are made.
Branch 790 xxx
bamboo party set: tastefully (& thoughtfully) disposable
Branch2 790 xxx
alphabet crayons made of recycled scraps (waste not, want now)
Schoolhouse Electric, a great resource for period lighting and hardware, has recently expanded to include a more items for the home.
Electric1 790 xxx
not that you're gifting a chair...but if you were...
Electric2 790 xxx
love these terrariums, also great as lanterns
I stumbled across Animalia and fell in love with its quirky animal-themed products; plus, 10% of all profits go to wildlife conservation.
Animaiia 790 xxx
Animalia2 790 xxx
I'm obsessed with this retrofabulous iPhone dock, ever since my friend Andy tweeted about them...
Etsy 790 xxx
It's from Freelandstudio's Etsy store and has a fully functional receiver! At the time of writing they were sold out, but more were promised soon.
Icebreaker 790 xxx
I'm also in love with the excellent New Zealand merino wool activewear from Icebreaker. They believe that nature is better than plastic (who doesn't?) and you will be astounded at how well these sleek, lustrous pieces effectively wick away moisture, leaving you warm in winter and cool in summer. Perfect for a runner, snowshoer or cozy couch potato. These quantum pants are the shizzle and I will be living in them all winter long.Although, as I said, most of my picks have been from smaller businesses, I do want to give Restoration Hardware a shout-out. I have been quite impressed by the changes at this company and although I understand why some people are disturbed by their "reproduction vintage" aesthetic, I covet quite a lot of their handsome industrial pieces. Their printed catalogs—from the enormous Resource Book to the well-edited holiday gifts piece—are useful and so well done. And they've also done a great job with their Christmas tree ornaments this season...
Restoration 1 790 xxx
from traditional sparkle
Restoraration2 790 xxx
to more rustic charm
And because I just can't resist sharing, a few more gastronomic gifts to give and receive...Legendary meat purveyor Pat LaFrieda has teemed with Mario Batali at Eataly to compile a truly impressive butcher case, and they're offering free shipping to select states on orders over $50. Much of the beef is from the Piemontese breed of cattle, known in Italian as “Razza Piemontese” and considered among the best in the world. A Montana farm now raises this iconic Italian breed and the cows' diet follows the guidelines set by Sergio Capaldo, founder of La Granda Razza Piemontese in Italy. For just shy of $115, you can make some carnivore very happy with four enormous Porterhouse steaks (20 oz each).
Froghollow 790 xxx
nectar of the gods
Frog Hollow Farm is an organic farm In Brentwood, CA, near the Sacramento River Delta. It is renowned for its incomparably beautiful and flavorful fruit (served at Chez Panisse, among other excellent restaurants) which you can order whole in season, or as amazing fruit conserves and chutneys. If you haven't made your own, this will more than cover your shame.
Spices2 790 xxx
for spice girls (and boys)
Any cook worth his salt will swoon over the incredible spices crafted by the master himself, Lior Lev Sercarz. I'm going to do a whole post on him soon but, in the meantime, take my word that he is the last gasp in spice sorcery. His buzz-worthy blends, like cocoa powder-orange blossom or sumac-rose-blossom-sesame-seed, are available here, as are his cookies, an epic feat that evolve from season to season. Read about the fall/winter collection, "Human Animal," featuring anise, wild mint, dark chocolate, granola, Szechuan pepper and hibiscus, here.
Biscuits2 790 xxx
And with that, my fine friends, you are off and running on your holiday shopping! Remember it's the thought that counts, so carefully consider your choices (and recipients)—and with that, and all the love in your heart, you simply can't go wrong.


There are some really great ideas here. And thanks for the reminder about Heath Ceramics. I live only a couple miles from their shop in Sausalito and meant to stop by there today to moon over some of their lovely things. And you're working on a novel? How wonderful. Many congrats and good luck with wrapping it up!
The Wimpy Vegetarian on November 14, 2011 at 8:07 pm —
Fantastic post L! Really well done. I see hours of online shopping fun. Great resources for me this year too as I have to shop online for all my friends and family back over in the good ole US of A.
tanya on November 16, 2011 at 3:21 am —
Thanks for such a great list! I cannot help but noticing that Maple Syrup is becoming quite the thing these days. It seems to be popping up everywhere: goo.gl/HNPN5 and goo.gl/Ili6b. Interesting!
Rob on November 16, 2011 at 1:18 pm —
Yes, anything that can be locally produced in small batches is really being fetishized these days—which I think is a good thing. Plus people seem to want alternatives to super-refined sugars. That vanilla and chamomile-infused one looks incredible!
laura on November 16, 2011 at 5:08 pm —
Yes, in that spirit, I'm trying to get my hand on some of the root beer spirits that they are making at http://www.artintheage.com/ The ginger and rhubarb also look very nice!
Rob on November 17, 2011 at 3:11 pm —
Nice. You've got some hot links yourself, Rob! Thanks for sharing.
laura on November 17, 2011 at 4:58 pm —