It’s hard to believe Christmas is just three weeks away, leaving very little time to shop for those hard to buy for men in our lives. I stumbled across a few unique gifts while hunting for some surprises for my guy who has everything. What I found was pretty cool….
A wood eyeglass holder, reminiscent of the heads found on Easter Island. This statue is hand carved wood made in India. It’s an artistic piece that offers a place to hang his glasses. Price: $18.00 available at Uncommon Goods
Steampunkesque cuff links….. price: $49.00 available at Touch of Modern
And an amazing camera dolley for the iPhone. It’s a perfect gift for the movie maker in the family. Price: $98.00 available at Touch of Modern
Shopping for the perfect gift isn’t just reserved for family and friends. This time of year hostess gifts are important too. A hostess gift thanks the hostess for inviting you into their home whether it’s for dinner, a party or just a simple cook out.
It’s nice to uphold the tradition of the hostess gift. Sadly, though proper etiquette protocol that seems to be going by the wayside just as the RSVP and the printed invite. Yet, those raised with Emily Post and Miss Manners are sure to continue the practice.
This year I’ve sought out a few fun hostess gifts that are a bit of a departure from my usual go to gifts….
1- Velveteen Coasters by Anthropologie
2- Vintage Knob Wine Stoppers by Pier One
3- Color Square Wine Charms by Pier One
So, maybe there’s a bit of a theme here. What can I say, wine and cocktails are what the party is all about, am I right?
The other night I had the opportunity to visit a Tampa treasure, the Oxford Exchange with the Tampa Bay Bloggers group. The owners gave us to a private tour, introduced to us to their food offerings, and treated to a sampling of specialty tea and coffee blends paired with decadent chocolate. We also had the chance to shop. I can’t possibly cover the entire night in one post, so here’s the first of a few.
The building that houses the OE was built in 1891 and was once a horse stable for the historic Plant Hotel. Over the years, it has been a series of offices for doctors and businesses alike. A few years ago, Tampa businessman Blake Casper, after a trip to London, realized Tampa could benefit from a unique place to shop, eat, work and play. He and a team of designers took the building and transformed it into an amazing location to provide Tampa with a one of kind location to gather with friends.
They completely restored the building, buying reclaimed wood for the restaurant floor, and salvaging bricks for the walls. The building’s architectural details were inspired by the dining halls at Oxford University, The Garrick Club and the Napoleon House to name a few. The group of bloggers I was with all commented the building reminded them of their home cities. I felt it could be in the center of Boston while others felt the building was reminiscent of New York or San Francisco.
As you walk in the door, you can see from one end to the other. Your eye may fall on the shop in the front or the bookstore in the back with both filled with curated items from around the world. Walking from the front to the back, you walk through a wood paneled hallway with a barrel ceiling. The hallway empties into the coffee bar and tea bar with a sitting area featuring well-worn and comfortable Chesterfield couches. Stairs lead to the members only Commerce Club, featuring custom desks with leather tops, and gold toned desk lights. As I walked through the space, I could only imagine it as a boys club. I toyed with the idea of joining, just to be able to have a quiet welcoming place to create.
I loved the huge conference table. It was wood imported and sourced at High Point for this purpose. Can you imagine negotiating a contract or hosting a board of directors meeting?
The other part of the club features an array of desks and tables to provide work spaces for members. It’s complete with leather couches.
My favorite piece though is the long piece of wood that washed ashore during the Thai Tsunami. Some one had the amazing insight to send the piece to High Point, where the interior designer spotted it and brought it back to the OE.
I am a sucker for scented candles. I love filling my home with warm scents this time of year, but finding a great candle is a task at times. Lately, I have gravitated toward soy candles. I think soy burns cleaner and holds its fragrance better than paraffin.
My favorite brand for the past few years has been Tyler candles. Based in Tyler Texas, this soy candle brand comes in a wide range of scents. From Mulled Cider to French Market, they are clean burning with a lot of fragrance.
A small shop near me carried a wider selection of Tyler candles, but cut back to feature another wonder candle company- Seventh Avenue Apothecary.
Seventh Avenue Apothecary is a family owned business right here in Tampa. They source the wax from soy bean farmers in the mid-west. The jars are made here in the States too and are recyclable. The factory is in Ybor City, which at one time was a hub for tobacco and cigar manufacturing. Their fragrances are all inspired by the Tampa bay area with names like Tobacco + Vanilla Bourbon, Spiced Rum + Coconut, or Bergamot + Black Tea. They are a tad pricey, but well worth it.
When I was working at the company I was introduced to the line Moooi. As you would imagine, my style is more traditional than modern, but as one who greatly appreciates art I fell for Moooi, hard. From Marcel Wanders to Mr & Mrs Smeets, Front and Nika Zupanc.
It reminds me of a chess rook upside down with an over sized base, or perhaps a King with a flattened crown. While it is reminiscent of a vintage table, its clean lines are rather modern. Imagine this as a side table in a bright coastal cottage, sitting next to white canvas slip covered couch. This piece was designed by Marcel Wanders.
What can be said about this unique lamp? It’s the unexpectedness of it I love. If ever there was a conversational piece for a home, this has to be it. I would even consider it with out the lamp fixture.
Another Marcel Wander’s design, this table offers a lot whimsy. I am not sure how functional it is, but using it as table in an entry way would be magnificent. I love how it has a cane poking up from a leg with the curved handle over hanging the table top.