And finally, here are all of my very favorite things from the past year; perfect for a gal with varied tastes and complex sensibilities. Everything here I know well and use regularly, and each of them brings me great joy. Here goes….
1 Slip-on Chucks I’ve mentioned them before but they’re so cute and easy. They’ll get so much use, I promise.
2 Champagne coupes My very favorite drinking vessel. I prefer to buy vintage on Etsy, but they are just as nice new.
3 Gretchen Kelly art If you’re tired of over-used prints try adding original pieces of artwork. Gretchen’s one-minute pose series is just lovely, and would be such a meaningful gift.
4 Wilder magazine This lovely quarterly magazine is for anyone fascinated with our natural world. Past issues have included features from gardeners, foragers, farmers, chefs, fashion designers, and artists. A truly eclectic magazine that’s a welcomed departure from mainstream media.
5 Josie Maran eyeshadow This is a great neutral palette, but the other sets are great too. And as always, it’s formulated free of chemicals.
6 Sorel boots Stylish all-weather boots? Seriously, these are kinda hot. I love them for our outdoor adventures or for rainy days around town.
7 Alexander Wang tank I literally lived in these tanks all summer. So incredibly sleek and sexy, they are the perfect closet staple.
8 Burberry London trenchcoat An investment piece for sure, but probably the most versatile and timeless pieces I own. It’s one of those special garments that make you feel instantly chic, even when paired with slip on Converse. And what gal wouldn’t love a timeless trench under the tree? (One thing we like to do for our gift-giving is to pool resources and all go in on one big piece.)
9 Belvoir Elderflower cordial We all love elderflower liqueur (think St. Germaine), but this guy is organically grown in the UK and contains no preservatives. It has a beautiful aromatic fragrance and taste that makes it the perfect addition to the barcart. I love a small amount with vodka and soda and a squeeze of lemon.
10 The Flavour Thesaurus book Less on the prescriptive side and more on the informative and fun, this is the coolest book to have on hand if you’re curious about why pairings work (or don’t). Think peanut butter and chocolate or lamb and mint. I particularly like the section on cheeses.
11 A Martha or four I know this isn’t an actual gift, but my kooky little chickens have been such a big part of my year and they bring me so much joy…and the most beautiful eggs. It’s not a decision to be made lightly as it’s a huge commitment, but if you’ve got the time and energy, knowing more about your food is priceless. And the entertainment value is better than anything on television. Here’s one of my favorite online sources for chicken info.
In the midst of the holidays our family also had my birthday last week, Mari’s birthday this week, and mom and dad’s 33rd wedding anniversary next week. It sounds crazy but somehow we manage to keep it low key; and really, it’s all part of why I’m such a sucker for this time of year. I got some fun b-day goodies last week and got a few questions when I shared them on Instagram, so I figured I’d share some details here.
– The winterberries, pepperberries, and cotton blossoms are from Marigold and Mint, and I have to say that I am fascinated with the cotton. I love the billowy, softness it’s added to its little nook in the house.
– The mini tote is from Pioneer Square Pantry, who is responsible for some of the coolest events and products happening in Seattle right now. This handmade little guy also comes with a jar of their killer granola (remember when I first mentioned them?). You can pick this up at Stumptown Coffee Roasters on 12th Ave in Seattle, and grab a bag of coffee too.
– The sexy gold plated jigger has already gotten quite a workout, and brother got it from Umami Mart in Oakland. They have a great online shop too, and I also use them for barware for the restaurant.
I had my guys chime in on this one so I would be sure to include their favorite things from this past year. As with the home guide, these are only things they know and love, and use all the time. I’m really proud of this guide because they are all products of character, and are so reflective of the wonderful guys I have in my life (with nary an electronic). Enjoy!
1 Heston Blumenthal at home Andrew’s (and one of my) favorite cookbooks, it’s a cool take on traditional dishes with an added dash of new-age techniques. For the experienced cook it would be a great way to add a new dimension to their cooking.
2 Whiskey shaving products Brother Thani loves these products from the Portland General Store. Hand crafted products made from vintage recipes, and without the use of chemicals or artificial fragrances. Since Andrew has gone beardie I’ll be adding some of these into his gift mix.
3 Opinel pocket knife Andrew had gotten one of these for me to use in the yard, and his friend Steve had coincidentally gotten one for him. I always wondered what you actually use a pocket knife for, and now that I have one it turns out you use it for everything! This is a great knife, and all the guys love it.
4 Tajika copper scissors I’ve gushed about these before, and still they are quite special. There’s an interesting shift in seeking out and adding artisan elements into the home. Each time you go to use it you’re handling a gift, a piece that someone has made with their hands, imparting their care and energy into an artform. Even something as simple as cutting a piece of paper becomes different. A very special gift.
5 Best Made Kevlar Gear bag This bag is badass. And sexy too. Andrew uses it as a travel bag, a tool bag, an outdoor trekking bag…it’s good for anything, really. And sexy too.
6 Tomii Takashi wood bowl Since we live off salads throughout the year, and since Andrew makes the best salads ever, I got him this wood salad bowl for his birthday. Like a well-cared for pan, a wood salad bowl will naturally season over time and help elevate your leafy greens. This hand-turned bowl from Japanese artisan Tomii Takashi is simply beautiful, and the perfect reminder that the energy embedded in an artisan craft is priceless.
7 Best Made Lumberlander blanket I got this for Thani on his birthday last year and it gets lots of use on his San Francisco picnics in the park. He said he gets a lot of blanket envy, but still won’t let anyone sit on it while they’re eating. A successful gift indeed.
8 Quadrago We all have, and love this game. It’s Connect Four on crack! And really, we could all use a little more (non-video) game time in our lives.
9 Porlex coffee grinder One of the greatest let downs is seeing a pretty apparatus and then finding out it works like crap. This is not one of those things. Good-looking and one of the best coffee grinders you can get. Andrew knows his coffee, so you can count on this one.
So far I’ve mentioned my adoration for the sensible and clean decor of a Scandinavian Christmas, but now I’m going in the complete opposite direction and adopting a different ideal into our first Christmas at the Treehouse. We have decided to BAN ALL GIFT WRAPPING and go with the Japanese art of the furoshiki, which uses cloth as a wrap for packages (and lots more). I just can’t bear to see all of that garbage at the end of gifts so this new tradition is going to be a pretty badass solution.
Andrew found these tenugui cloths at Best Made and ordered them to use as all-purpose towels in the kitchen and around the house, but before they get too well-loved I’ll be trying my hand at different styles of furoshiki wrapping from this guide here. And once the holidays are done it’ll be great to see these working around the kitchen.
Tenugui cloths | $6
I always struggle with the onslaught of gift guides this time of year, not because they aren’t pretty to look at, but because there often isn’t much meaning behind the picks. Anyone can go online to find things to lust after, but I guess I want more: things that aren’t just pretty, but also functional and reliable. So, after some encouragement from friends and taking inventory around the house I figured a nice compromise would be to share a selection of some favorites that I know and love, but also use regularly. Today I have home and kitchen goodies that I think would make great and meaningful gifts. Enjoy!
1 Marble Pastry board. A beautiful slab of Spanish marble that makes pastry dough easier to work with by remaining cooler than room temperature. So pretty too, even just sitting on the counter it brings me joy.
2 Askinosie Chocolate Hazelnut spread. Never again will you find Nutella to be acceptable! My favorite is to warm slightly in a double-boiler and pour over ice cream. But really, the applications are endless.
3 Yarai Mixing Glass. A beautiful and, more importantly, functional addition to a barcart. I get many of my cocktail supplies from this source.
4 Curry Easy by Madhur Jaffrey. A gorgeous cookbook that makes Indian curry and cuisine so accessible. A UK published book that’s somewhat hard to find online, there are a few available and it is worth every penny of shipping across the pond.
5 For Life Stump teapot. We use these at the restaurant and at home and they’re so sturdy and cute. The pot comes with a basket for steeping loose leaf tea, so it’s perfect for a tea routine. Lots of colors to choose from too.
6 Salt from The Meadow. Part of our holiday tradition is to travel down to Portland just to stock up on supplies from The Meadow. But even without a trip to the fabulous shop, online shopping is just as rewarding. If you’re unsure about what to get, try a Salt Set.
7 Ikea PS cabinet. I love our PS cabinet for the extra storage it offers, but also for its industrial-sexiness and overall neutral look so that styling is easily made your own.
8 Le Creuset braiser. So versatile in the kitchen, these french ovens will get lots of use by the cook on your list. This braiser is a great gift because its the cooking and the serving all in one.
9 Glassybaby votives. These are the colors we have at the restaurant (and a few that I stole at home) but any color from this local Seattle company would make a girl happy.
10 Vic Firth pepper mill. These were Vic Firth, and now they’re directly from the maker? I don’t know what the story is but I do know they make a kick ass mill. Lots of shapes and colors, our set gets lots of use and still works and looks like a million bucks.
11 Lucite nesting tables. I’ve had these for a few years now and I never tire of seeing and playing with them. A sexy gift with an aesthetic that will last beyond the trend.