Saturday, November 19, 2011

PK Holiday 2011: My Favorite Things...for Little Ones

Oh, how I love the kiddies! I don't have any of my own but I have about a dozen in my life that I would happily take a bullet for...ranging in size from baby to teenager! I love spending time with them and am regularly on the look-out for unique gifts for them! I found a few for the holidays so check out some of my ideas below!

Satin Bow Ugg Boots ($120; from Chasing Fireflies)

When I first saw these, I audibly gasped with joy! Anyone who knows me well knows that I would fight a duel to the death over my, admittedly ugly, brown Uggs. I even conducted a world-wide search for my dark purple Uggs and absolutely would not give up until I had a pair. (I eventually found them at a store in Hawaii and now they're mine. This is a true story.) The fact that Ugg is smart enough to get the young ones hooked early on their wonderful boots is a stroke of genius. I'm very tempted to buy these and save them for the future Baby PK but I do that a lot and it's sort of a habit I need to get out of...especially now that I'm in the middle of a small financial crisis. How about YOU buy them and send me a picture of your little sweetie in these??? I also have to say I'm super sad that they don't make these cute hot pink boots in adult sizes! Um, rude. (Note: This is a great catalog/website to get if you have kids. They always have such stylish things. It's a little pricey but it's fun to look, I always say!)

I love clever and this is a fabulously clever idea for your fussy little food monster.  The plate is divided into ramps and has "parking spots" for each of the utensils, which are shaped like various construction vehicles. The fork is a forklift (get it?), the spoon is a front-loader (I think I'm going to start calling spoons that in general; the analogy made me giggle) and there is a "food pusher" that is a bulldozer. The "food pusher" is a great addition in my opinion because I think it allows your little one a little independence while learning to feed themselves...sort of helps them along, pushes them if you will. (Note: This is another great catalog/website that features toys and games that REALLY encourage a child's creativity and imagination. I love that...get those babies away from the video games and TVs and get them learning and playing, old-school style...wheeeee!)

Little baby slippers shaped like fortune cookies that come in a Chinese take-out box...I just...I mean...I can't say anything else.

I loooooooove this little book. It's a sweet story, that your little reader can easily read aloud, about how you're already a special treasure by just being you. Precious. And the little monkey stuffed toy? I want to squeeze the hot cakes and sausages out of it...I'm sure you'll feel the same...I mean look at him!

A couple of weeks ago, I had a pure joy moment courtesy of two little angels (boys) while they danced their hearts out to "Just Dance 2" on their Nintendo Wii. I about fell out. I have all the "Just Dance" games myself and they absolutely so super fun (not to mention, they're an unbelievable workout). I'm glad they have a kids version of this game. It shows little muffins like themselves dancing and also has some more appropriate songs for your mini muffins to enjoy. While I prefer to give children gifts that get their imagination going, I think this game is wonderful because it gets them MOVING...and it's something you can play as a family. Perfect.

Your little man can be a fashionista too... can I get an amen! Chuck Taylors are a classic that will NEVER go out of style (there great for the gals too). If future Baby PK is a boy, he'll definitely have a pair! (If it's a GIRL, she'll have a pair!) I think a great gift idea would be to get a pair for Dad (or Mom) and a pair in the same color for the little one...boy, do they love to have something their parents have!!  Also, think about pairing their mini Chucks (and some mini jeans) with this FABULOUS Tie & Suspenders Shirt ($48), also from Chasing Fireflies. This little outfit is something I envision a young Tom Ford wearing...very stylish!

I give this book frequently as a gift (to gals, young and old). Coco Chanel is one of my most favorite people ever and her life story is one I NEVER tire of hearing. It's a wonderful story. This book tells it for the younger reader and tells of how Coco's imagination and determination shaped her into the legend she is today. It tells your little princess that it's ok to be different, to be themselves...something they should know from Day 1.

Some of my most precious treasures are a colorful drawing on a plain white piece of paper or on the back of simple. And it really is the simple things in life that bring the most joy, am I right? I currently have hanging on my fridge a beautiful "Barbie" in a green and yellow dress complete with a tiara and a flower in her hair. Perfection. I too have been known to get out my drawing set and's very relaxing and I'm really no artist. Give it a try! Note that at The Crayola Store you can customize your box of 64 for just $10.99 but you can pick up the original at any mass market retailer for less, I'm sure.

This is a great gift for "Baby's First Christmas" and a wonderful way to commemorate the arrival of a new bundle of joy. My mom has little plaster molds of my little PK paws and they're the cutest thing...I can't believe I was ever so tiny! I'm so glad she has them. These molds are so easy to use (and completely not traumatic) and you're also giving your favorite new parents a pine tree seedling to plant...and it's always a good thing to do something "green" as we all know! (RSH is a great new discovery for me, as well...sign-up to receive their catalog!)

I love love love love The Land of Nod! This is another "go-to" gift that I love to give the little ones. It's simple. It's a big plastic jar FILLED with fun art supplies like googly eyes, pom-poms, pipe cleaners, glue pens, construction paper, wavy craft scissors, wooden buttons, spools, beads, craft sticks and a lot more. The possibilities of creations are endless!! This gift is for sweet peas aged six and up but there is also a junior version for $24.95 for sweet peas three and up in case you're interested. I could spend all day looking at all the fun things The Land of Nod has to offer! (I'm currently wishing I could buy their Triple Play ($169), a table that has ping-pong, Foosball and air hockey in one package. All three games are ones I could smoke anyone in, I'm confident to say. Haha!)

Oh! I received a note from a reader who loved the taffy hostess gift suggestion but asked me if there was perhaps a cheaper version that I'd recommend. Of course, and here it is:

Fralinger's/James' Salt Water Taffy is absolutely my favorite brand of taffy, hands down! This gift set allows you to pick six "satchels" of their famous taffy, as well as their mint sticks and peanut butter chews (also delicious).  Thinking of our budgets, this works out to under $4.00 per gift...good work! I think the satchel design is very festive and fine to give as is but to make it more formal to give as a hostess gift, break out the ol' cellophane bag, shreds and bow combo and you'll be just fine. (For your reference, I make a yearly trek to The Container Store to buy all of my standard gift wrapping supplies.)

Coupon Alert: Save 20% on ALL orders until December 12 with the code 21HS20

And remember, if you're pressed for time this holiday season and need some help getting your gift list together, I am always available to help with gift ideas, shopping and wrapping so shoot me a note if you need a little PK in your life (for a small fee, of course...I'm forced to be a recessionista at present)!

Next week, My Favorite Holiday Things for Guys and Gals...and an "If Only" list for those of you into the high-end luxury myself!

Monday, November 14, 2011

PK Holiday 2011: My Favorite Things...for Hostesses

Once upon a time, several years ago, there was a good-time gal named Princess Kitty who wrote a weekly newsletter filled with all sorts of silliness...and she had a faithful following who fully accepted her and all that super silliness. Bless them all...those were some fun times! She also put out special gift lists for the holidays filled with her favorite things in the hopes of providing her peeps new and creative ideas to give to their favorite peeps! It was one of her favorite things to do yet it's been a while...a long while. So, without further chit-chat, here are PK's Favorite Things for the Holidays...2011! Whoo!

This edition will feature 10 great ideas for host/ess gifts or any last-minute gifts you may need for the holidays...I swear!

Olive & Cocoa Holiday Taffy ($44)

Olive & Cocoa is one of my favorite catalogs. They have such unique and classic gifts. I am always able to find a gift for any occasion and the holidays are no exception! If anything, check out their website and order a'll love it. They really have such a wonderful selection of gifts. Sweets are always a great last-minute gift idea and/or host/ess treat. I have a ridiculous sweet tooth and taffy just happens to be one of my favorite sweet treats! This set has 12 sticks of old-fashioned pulled taffy in holiday flavors such as cranberry, peppermint and vanilla and is packaged in their signature wooden box...all ready for giving!


Vosges Haute-Chocolat is my favorite boutique chocolatier. Everything from this shop is positively delicious! (Check out their line of bacon & chocolate treats!) This is a fun and stylish little gift set that includes four cameo-shaped silhouette chocolates flavored with four different holiday "parfums", as the lovely and talented owner, Katrina Markoff, calls them. Flavors are peppermint candy cane + 45% cacao deep milk chocolate (Vixen), gingerbread spiced toffee + 65% cacao dark chocolate (Mrs. Claus), peppermint candy cane + 62% cacao dark chocolate (Esme the Elf), and sweet butter toffee + walnuts + pecans + 45% cacao deep milk chocolate (Ebenezer). You won't be disappointed by any chocolatey gift from me!


I wish that I could buy everything that Jonathan Adler designs! His "Happy Chic" style is so fun and clever...and happy! For this holiday season, he has designed a whole line of cute ornaments that you simply must check out on his website. Unfortunately, a lot of his products are a little bit pricey BUT, for the right recipient, there are many items that are worth the price...including this kitschy ornament set. It includes a jet plane and suitcase, both adorned with fun and colorful retro travel graphics. In addition to livening up a tree, these can be displayed year-round as unique tabletop accessories, like in a guest room or office. (Also check out the Jet Set Coaster Set ($48) as another great gift idea for your favorite world traveler!)

If you have a music lover in your life, this is the perfect gift for them! Recycled vinyl records are made into drink coasters (clever!) and part of the fun in this gift is the surprise of what albums you'll get to give (that's right, you can't select what you'll get but I really think that's part of the fun)! With all hopes, you'll get a combination of the Bee Gees, John Denver, KC & the Sunshine Band, Def Leppard, Michael Jackson and Grease...or is that just me? Note that you can also order other items made from recycled LPs, such as a mirror or do some exploring and check out this clever line!


I really don't have words to describe how much I love Stonewall Kitchen! I obsess over Jonathan & Jim (the owners) and their good friend, Ina Garten, and their impeccable style in the kitchen. If I could spend freely, my whole pantry would be filled with Stonewall Kitchen products (some of my favorites are Tequila Lime Cocktail Sauce, Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Mix, Raspberry Peach Champagne Jam, and Barefoot Contessa Coconut Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting). Just buy, no further asking.

They are very well known for their award-winning jellies and jams and their Hot Pepper Jelly is positively delish! As you may or may not know, over a block of cream cheese, Hot Pepper Jelly is super yummy spread over crackers (like Stonewall Kitchen's Simple White Crackers) and is a very simple snack idea. This gift comes with a tree-shaped ramekin that your host/ess friend can use for serving (although don't get offended if s/he doesn't serve it at the party you're attending...that's pushing it because it just may not jive with the evening's menu...I'm just sayin') plus it comes all ready for giving, wrapped in a cellophane bag with a red grosgrain ribbon.

Tiffany Dragonflies Correspondence Cards ($23.95)

I just returned from the Biltmore Estate and got to view an exhibit of Louis Comfort Tiffany's stained glass works. (Please note that I also got to see Edith Stuyvesant Vanderbilt's monogrammed Louis Vuitton steamer trunks on this visit as well and almost fainted on the spot, much to the tour guide's dismay...I'm serious.) Many of his designs featured dragonflies and the level of detail was just exquisite! Now, I'm totally obsessed. Note cards are a GREAT gift to give ANYONE because, I tell you, the art of writing a good thank you note (or note in general) is dying...and we must MUST try and save it!! It's always good to have some nice stationary on-hand and this is the perfect set for a stylish friend.


For those who are familiar with PK from back in the day, my favorite candle company, Paul Robinett, who made my custom candle gift each year, is no longer in business. (Don't even get me started...) However, we don't need to fret because there are still plenty of great candles out there! Another favorite of mine is Henri Bendel (which used to be sold at Bath & Body Works), which comes from my favorite department store of the same name in New York City. The thing I love about some gift sets is that you can break them up and have several gifts to give from one purchase. This is also usually very cost-effective, if you're on a budget, like yours truly. This set has three candles in ho-ho-holiday scents of Silver Birch, White Spruce and, hello?, Holiday. Give them as is or break them up into three separate gifts by packaging each one up in a cellophane bag with paper shreds tied with a big colorful ribbon. I think it's also thoughtful to throw in some matches with a candle gift so check out these Tiled Mix-n-Matches ($11 for 3). You can choose your colors (From a wide selection) and you don't have to buy 3,000 matchbooks to place a minimum order. This gift idea works out to being a little over $10 per candle (a few dollars more if you factor in your wrapping)...very affordable AND thoughtful!


I know...again with the candy. This selection from the British confectioner available at Williams-Sonoma is so nicely packaged and available in so many fun nostalgic flavors, I can't help but feature it.  My favorites are Gummy Bananas, Root Beer Drops and, of course, Champagne Bubbles. Again, you can buy a set of five jars of these sweets, on sale now for $49.95, and give them as five separate host/ess gifts. The set includes Red Berry Blocks, Strawberry Puffs, Luster Gumballs, Champagne Bubbles and Cinnamon Balls. They are really ready to give as is so that works out to about $10 per gift, which is the perfect price point, I think!


Z Gallerie is another great stop for gifts...and home decor, especially if you are into retro design or like some serious flair and whimsy in your decor. Wine or Champagne is absolutely a perfect go-to host/ess gift so this sock monkey wine cover can add just the right bit of whimsy to your gift for the holidays and is certainly something that will be used again and again by your recipient. I mean, who doesn't love a sock monkey, for cryin' out loud?


You'll need to become a subscriber of UrbanDaddy to take advantage of this special set but I can vouch that this is one of my favorite newsletters and I think you'll really enjoy it. (You can sign up here.) Anywho, brunch is one of my most favorite things to enjoy and what is brunch without a deliciously spicy Bloody Mary (with lots of olives, celery and limes)! Demitri's is an award-winning maker of the perfect Bloody Mary mix and in this special members-only set, you'll get an eight-ounce bottle of each of their special mixes: Classic Recipe, Chilies and Peppers, Extra Horseradish and Chipotle-Habanero. You'll also get a four-ounce tin of their original RimShot Rimming Salt, as well as the Bacon flavor. Um, yum. AGAIN, this is a gift you can give as the full set or break it up as you see fit into a few gifts.

(Stay tuned for my upcoming entertaining book, Princess Kitty's Entertaining for the Fabulous, that will feature some super yum recipes to serve with the perfect Bloody Mary!)


And remember, if you're pressed for time this holiday season and need some help getting your gift list together, I am always available to help with gift ideas, shopping and wrapping so shoot me a note if you need a little PK in your life (for a small fee, of course...I'm forced to be a recessionista at present)!

Next up, later this week, My Favorite Holiday Things...for Little Ones!