Gifts For The Home Bartender

I really enjoy having a glass of red wine or a delicious cocktail in the winter time (don’t get me wrong, I drink in the summer too). And especially during the holiday season – enjoying time with friends and family, taking some time off of work, celebrating the last year. I was never a big drinker in my younger days – at high school shindigs I was the one who enjoyed sitting in the corner and laughing at other people drinking (usually excessively) and during my college days I preferred doing basically the same thing. How fun was I?! Anyhow, then somewhere along the line I started to appreciate the art of a good cocktail and the quality of a decent wine and I am forever changed. I especially love pretty vintage glassware and all the lovely accessories that go along with them. So I decided to put together a few of my favorite home bartender gifts of the season!


1. Cocktail bitters – Old Faithful Shop $14.95 – For those bittersweet cocktails!

2. Carat glassware – West Elm $24/set of four – I actually ordered myself a set of these because I just love the vintage feel of them!

3. Hex coasters – West Elm $24/set of four – I just love these! If I didn’t already own multiple sets of coasters…

4. The Drunken Botanist – Amazon $15.99 – I bought this book about a year ago and it is full of great recipes and information. Plus, it’s so pretty that you’ll want to leave it out in the open for your guests to oogle and demand drinks from!

5. Grenadine – Old Faithful Shop $21.95 – I love a good Shirley Temple! This is great for your guests who do not indulge in the drink.

6. Brass bottle openers – Mjolk $50.00 – These are a bit out of my price range but I do love the simplicity of them, and I also love brass.

7. Dillon’s spirits – Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers $19.95+ – I first saw Dillion’s in my local liquor store and the lovely packaging caught my eye! They are also a Canadian distiller.

8. Ice cube tray – Williams-Sonoma $29.95 – I’ve had my eye on this tray for a couple of years but I just haven’t splurged yet (I will someday!) – isn’t it such much prettier than a plastic or silicon tray?!

9. Walnut muddler – Williams-Sonoma $24.95 – Perfect for making those basil mojitios we love so much around my house!

This brings my 2014 holiday gift guides to a close – cheers!

As with all of my gift guides, the items are carefully selected by myself and all opinions are my own. I am not receiving compensation for any of these products – I just love them!

Gifts For Coffee & Tea Addicts

My house is divided when it comes to morning beverage of choice. My husband loves his coffee and I love my tea. Tea is a must for me and I drink it all day from the time I wake up until my evening cuppa. And I’m very particular about the tea I drink (I imagine most tea-enthusiasts are the same way) – I have a cupboard in my kitchen dedicated just to tea and tea accessories (I will admit there is actually some accessory spillage to other areas of the kitchen, it’s that out of control). So in honor of my fellow tea drinkers (and coffee drinkers), I put together a few gift ideas that are sure to win you some points this holiday season:


1. Hario drip pot $69.95 – Crate & Barrel – Even though I am a coffee hater, I would love to use this for tea and I really like the idea of a reusable filter for the finer teas like rooibos.

2. Cream & gold tea cup & saucer $24.00 – Anthropologie – I have a huge thing for vintage teacups & saucers (you know how I mentioned above that I have an entire cupboard dedicated to tea & tea accessories? Yeah, I have another for my vintage china, including tons of teacups & saucers). Although this one is not vintage, it reminds me of some in my collection. Perfect for afternoon tea!

3. Brass tea strainer $15.00 – Purl Soho – I have one of these and it is so beautiful. The brass also gets a really nice patina on it after awhile making it age beautifully.

4. Sencha green tea $19.00 – Bellocq – I’m a huge green tea snob and I’ve only found a few that I really, really love. Bellocq sells one of them and my other favorite is Smith Teamaker from Portland.

5. Japanese porcelain mug $35.42 – Kaufmann Merchantile – I love the simplicity of this mug and I can totally picture myself in a wool blanket cocoon by a wood burning fire drinking hot tea from this mug.

6. Theo chocolate holiday pack $20.00 – Duchess Bakeshop – Dark chocolate is such a pleasure of mine and this holiday themed pack looks to die for!

Now I really want to go drink a pot of tea in/on/around a pile of blankets and/or cats.

As with all of my gift guides, the items are carefully selected by myself and all opinions are my own. I am not receiving compensation for any of these products – I just love them!

Gifts for Someone Special

Every year my husband and I have the same conversation that goes something like this:

Me: “So what do you want for Christmas?”
Him: “A good wife.”
Me: “Good luck with that. What do you really want?”
Him: “I don’t know. Nothing. You?”
Me: “I don’t know. Nothing.”
Him: “Okay, it’s settled. We’re getting nothing.”

Which inevitably turns into something. I’m sure that most couples have a similar conversation. Trying to find something meaningful is like pulling teeth – you’re probably at the age where you don’t really need anything because you have everything. But I usually look at it as an opportunity to buy something nice that the person would not normally splurge on for themselves. This year we have actually agreed to stick with the nothing gift as we’re going to put the money we would normally spend towards buying new appliances (how exciting! Can you detect the sarcasm?). Regardless, I thought it would be fun to put together the things that I would love to receive from my special man or things that I would love to treat him with:


1. Mast Brothers Chocolate $11.95 , Old Faithful Shop – We love good quality chocolate in our house, especially dark chocolate. Mast Brothers has some unbelievably good chocolate and the packaging is amazing (I’m a sucker for great packaging).

2. Mushroom foraging knife and case $75.00, Mjolk – My husband and I joined our local Mycological Society this last year and really enjoyed going out to forage for morel mushrooms in the spring. We’ve often joked about getting the special mushroom foraging knife and I think this is the perfect time of year to splurge on it.

3. Cedarwood soap $9.95 , Old Faithful Shop – We love tree scented artisan soaps (that sounds comical), but don’t buy them very often because they are usually pretty pricey. A few bars of this would be great in a stocking.

4. Leather & brass keychain $55.00 , Makr – Classy and functional. My favorite part of these key chains (or any leather & brass keychain) is the way that they age – they really do only get better in time and will last forever.

5. Wings & Horns Robe $150.00 , Ace Hotel Store – My husband loves Wings & Horns and fell in love with this robe when we stayed at the Ace Portland a few years ago. These robes really are the most comfortable things ever.

6. Horse Cuff $80.00 , Steven Alan – I’ve been coveting this bracelet for awhile now, it’s so simple and pretty. And horses.

7. Bath Soaks $34.00, Fig & Yarrow – I’m a big supporter of natural beauty products and these look wonderful, plus the packaging is so attractive.

8. Earrings $118.00, Leif Shop – I love the combination of black stones and gold, it is so simple and classy but with a little sophisticated goth thrown in. I’ll take a pair of these, please!

What are some of your gift ideas for that special someone? I’d love to hear them. Maybe you don’t exchange gifts – tell me about what you do instead!

As with all of my gift guides, the items are carefully selected by myself and all opinions are my own. I am not receiving compensation for any of these products – I just love them!

Gifts For Kids

Many people don’t know this about me, but I actually started off my adult life training to be a preschool teacher. That’s right – the awkward-around-children person actually wanted to spend every day around the tiny humans. And then I realized that wasn’t my path in life (for various reasons, but mainly because those people who take care of your kids make less money than the folks serving you at Starbucks). Regardless of my career path and contrary to popular belief, I do like kids. I think they’re weird and funny and generally honest (unless they’re lying, but you can usually tell and it’s usually hilarious). Anyhow, one of the best parts of gift giving to kids is the endless possibilities of adorable things you can buy for them. It was pretty hard for me not to make this whole gift guide cat-themed, but I somehow got through it only including one cat item.


1. Books are one of my favorite items to gift kids. I loved books as a kid and I could probably even recite a few of them. I especially like books for younger kids because it is an activity that they can do with their parents. I chose “Manners Can Be Fun” because it looks like a total passive-aggressive approach and no one likes a rude kid (luckily all the kids in my life are well mannered, most likely because they already own this book).

2. Tin duck on a bike wind-up toy $14.98 – Tin Toy Arcade. I love vintage replica tin toys – they are so neat and remind me of the toys we played with when we visited Grandma & Grandpa’s house.

3. Arborist Onesie $32.00 – Drake General Store. So adorable! I know so many people who have the tradition of getting pajamas on Christmas Eve. THIS ALSO COMES IN ADULT SIZE! You could get matching onesies for the whole family!

4. Paper Puppets $34.93 – Furze Chan. I just love these! Build a cardboard puppet stage and let the imagination run wild!

5. Wooden Dog $40.75 – Friendly Toys. I love wooden toys and you can personalize this one with any name you want. This one reminds me of the plastic version everyone born in the 80’s had with the flapping ears.

6. Veggie Rattles $20.00 – Anthropologie. I’m dying from cuteness overload here.

7. Cat Dolls $34.00 – My Sweet Muffin. These are so adorable in a weird sort of way, I especially love their neckerchiefs!

If you’re on the prowl for non-material objects to give to a kid this Christmas, consider an annual pass to your local science centre or museum (I loved the museum as a kid – mainly the taxidermy section. Yes, I was always weird), a coupon book of IOUs (For example “IOU one trip to the ice cream shop” or “IOU one movie night”), or if your kid is an animal lover, make a donation to your local shelter to sponsor an animal and create some art for your sponsored animal’s crate.

As with all of my gift guides, the items are carefully selected by myself and all opinions are my own. I am not receiving compensation for any of these products – I just love them!

Gifts for Kitchen Dwellers & An Easy DIY Gift

I don’t think it is any secret that I love food. I also love to be in my kitchen cooking – and sometimes baking. And having amazing kitchen tools is essential for me. I’m definitely not one of those home cooks who has to have every gadget – there are a few deciding factors when it comes to bringing tools into my kitchen: 1) They need to be totally functional. Multipurpose is a plus. 2) They need to be really good quality and most likely last forever. 3) They need to be beautiful.

So with all of that said, I put together a round-up of my favorite kitchen must-haves that meet all of my high kitchen standards:


1. Rolling Pin $105.00, Herriott Grace – I absolutely love everything that Herriott Grace does – they are truly one of a kind pieces. I’ve been pining over one of these rolling pins for quite awhile as a replacement to my Ikea one (which has served me just fine, but the handmade ones are just swoon-worthy!).

2. Beeswax Wrap $21.31, Kaufmann Merchantile – I love the idea of this re-usable wrap and I’m a sucker for anything made in part by busy bees!

3. Iron Utility Scissors $18.00, Anthropologie – I splurged on a pair of these scissors last year for my birthday and I do not regret it one bit. I used to have a pair of kitchen specific scissors but they were awful (Cuisinart – their products keep failing me). I love this pair so much. Plus they are one of the prettiest pairs that I own (I have a bit of a thing for beautiful scissors).

4. Callebaut Dark Chocolate Pepins $6.00, Duchess Provisions – This is some of the best baking chocolate on the market, in my opinion. Did you know you’re not supposed to store chocolate in the fridge or feezer? Store it in a dark, cool location away from the elements, it will keep the true flavor preserved and prevent the chocolate from discoloring.

5. Marble & Wood Boards $54.00, Drake General Store – These are some true beauties! They would look beautiful hung on a pretty hook in the kitchen when not in use.

6. Fancy Olive Oil $29.95, Old Faithful Shop – I usually select my olive oil based on the most attractive packaging (yes, I am one of those people), but I’ve found that anyone who puts effort into an attractive package usually has an equally good quality product. I’m sure it isn’t true for everything, but it has seemed to work for me so far. Feel free to present arguments against me on this one, it is stupid logic, I know!

7. Heirloom Recipe Box $145, Rifle Paper Co – My husband bought this recipe box for me for Christmas several years ago and it is so, so beautiful and good quality.

8. Noble Bourbon Maple Syrup $34.95, Old Faithful Shop – I bought one of the small sampler bottles initially because I didn’t want to shell out for the big size before trying the product, but that little one got me hooked. This syrup is so good in cooking and baking or just poured over top of some fluffy waffles.

9. Little Deer Wooden Spoon $29.95, Williams-Sonoma – We were gifted a couple of Little Deer wooden spoons for our wedding from some foodie friends and I used the gift card that they’d also given us for the Cookbook Co. to buy more of these spoons since I loved them so much. They get used daily in our house and are probably near the top on my 10 favorite kitchen tools list. Even after over 6 years of heavy usage and abuse they have only gotten better within time.

And if you’re looking for an easy DIY that any cook or baker is sure to love, here is my favorite simple and fairly inexpensive gift idea:


Left: Freshly made extract which needs to steep for a couple of months. Right: My supply that is very well steeped, smelling and tasting amazing.

Homemade Vanilla Extract


– 3 whole vanilla bean pods (Shop around for these – some places seem to charge an arm & a leg but I was able to purchase mine for $2 each from Planet Organic)
– Vodka (I use Prairie Vodka but you can use any type of plain vodka you want)


– Use a sharp knife to cut the vanilla pods open to release more flavor.
– Put the vanilla pods (every part) in a clean sterilized jar with a lid.
– Fill the jar with vodka, seal the jar and shake
– Store the jar in a cupboard at room temperature, shaking daily, until you are ready to gift the extract (vanilla extract needs about 3 months to “steep” before it is ready to be used, so just make sure to instruct the recipient of this).

You can fancy up your jar with a pretty label and some baker’s twine.

Homemade vanilla extract will last a really long time – I’ve been using mine for about 3 years. You can add extra vodka and replace the vanilla pods as your supply begins to diminish.

As with all of my gift guides, the items are carefully selected by myself and all opinions are my own. I am not receiving compensation for any of these products – I just love them!