Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holiday helpers

This year, I've been making a big effort to accomplish one Christmas-related task every day, so that I won't be overwhelmed and frantically ordering things on December 23 whilst wrapping into the wee hours of the morning like a crazy woman.  Even so, Christmas is just plain busy, even though most parts of it are lots of fun.  A few things that I keep around to help make getting things done more enjoyable and less worrisome:

Sharp scissors (wrapping gifts and opening boxes is so much easier if you're not attacking packages with your kitchen shears or car keys, and having pretty scissors doesn't hurt either).

Pop-up tape wrist dispenser.  It is incredible how amazing this makes wrapping (and how irritating you will start to find wrapping gifts without it).  
Gold sparkle nail polish for hiding nails chipped from all the aforementioned wrapping and other holiday tasks.

A Frasier Fir tree -- the absolute best-smelling and best-looking Christmas tree, in my humble opinion.  (My husband refers to them as "The Cadillac of All Christmas Trees.")  And if a tree isn't in the cards for you this year, this Thymes Frasier Fir candle is the best substitute!  The smell of Christmas tree makes me really happy.  
Christmas means mailing lots of things: holiday cards, thank you notes, and gifts.  Mailing means you need postage, and at Christmas time, the post office is typically a madhouse.  Save yourself the trouble and order your stamps online, ahead of time.  My favorites are these Love stamps (illustrated by Jessica Hische) and these holiday ornaments.

Keep a huge roll of baker's twine and plain hang tags around for dressing up little gifts and baked goods.
Love Actually never fails to put me in the holiday spirit.
And last, but most certainly not least: keep a couple of bottles of wine on hand.  You won't regret it. 
Do share, because I really want to know what helps you so I can steal them: what are you holiday lifesavers?

(Christmas tree photo by Tall and Salty; image from Love Actually via here; wine picture by Kate Mathis via The Seattle Times.)

A Christmas laugh-break

Hi readers!  I am taking a break from the gift-guiding for today, so you'll have to carry on your online shopping adventures without my counsel.  If you're like me, you could use a deep breath and a little break from the holiday mayhem.  In that spirit: enjoy the following.
I'm just dying.  The xylophone.  The kids.  Mariah.  Hilarious.  Merry Christmas!

(via I Suwannee.)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gifts for fellows

For Day Two of the Tall and Salty holiday gift guide bonanza, it's the gentlemen's turn.  I always have the most trouble with the dudes on my list, don't you?  For your difficult-to-shop-for husbands, boyfriends, dads, brothers, and brothers-in-law, fifteen suggestions for things he might actually like:

Classic Ray-Ban sunglasses that fold up to fit in his pocket.
For the man who hates the actual process of shopping: a subscription to Trunk Club, the service that sends him a trunk of clothes to try on, and a promise to get him the first thing he loves.  You pay only for what you keep!

A shiny gold holder for his razor or toothbrush so you'll quit bugging him about leaving it out all the time.  And isn't peace and quiet one of the greatest gifts there is?
Hilarious needlepoint keychain for your favorite chick magnet.
Needlepoint Key Fob (more colors)
A cashmere forever sweater with elbow patches.
Cashmere Crew Sweater with Suede Patch
A 007-esque chrome lighter for starting fires (or, you know, lighting the Duraflame log wrapper, whatever the case may be).
The Chrome Bond Lighter available at
A grown-up looking backpack.
A set of plain, heavy, old-fashioned glasses for getting his Don Draper on.
A cool bottle opener.

Puppy bookends.  Because who doesn't smile at puppies?

Lambswool stripe hat
Naval-stripe socks
A new shirt for his team's national championship game (or perhaps tickets to the game -- a pair is only $2,400!).
Notre Dame Fighting Irish '47 Brand Fall Navy Vault ND Vintage Scrum T-Shirt
Membership in a wine-of-the-month club (or this service, if he's more of a whiskey man).

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Gifts for hosts and hostesses with the most(ess)

At long last, it's time to kick off the first series of Tall and Salty holiday gift guides.  To start things off, let's begin with the first people you'll want to buy for: the hosts and hostesses who invite you over for dinners, White Christmas viewing parties, tree-trimming, wassailing (we did in fact get invited to a wassail this year; I had to Google it to find out what it was!), and other forms of holiday revelry.  Some great ideas for gifts to have on hand so that you don't end up ducking into a 7-Eleven for a bottle of wine that you have to scratch the $9.99 price tag off of on your way over to the party:

A pretty cheese knife and spreader set from France.
Delicious seasoned salt (that you might recall from here).
Festive cocktail glasses so your hosts can enjoy a relaxing beverage . . .
. . . or a book of cocktail recipes for intense de-stressing!
Cleaning spray (it's great for countertops) that smells like a Christmas tree (Thymes has a whole line of Frasier Fir scented candles and home items -- they're all wonderful).
A gilded leaf tray for holding keys, soap, or other little odds and ends.
A board game (my favorite: Cranium).
A cool bottle opener.

(Mrs. Lilien Cocktail Swatchbook image via Oh Joy!; pickle ornament image via here.)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas plaid for all occasions

I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas style (I know, it's blasphemous). I love pretty, classic decorations, but the cheesy, over-the-top stuff I could live without. A foolproof way to look festive without embarrassing yourself: tartan plaids (or as my friend Jeanne cheerily calls it, "Christmas plaid"). Some Christmas plaid for everything on your list:

For trimming the tree and addressing Christmas cards, a tartan shirt.
For parties and cocktail hours: fancy pants (in regular, petite, and tall)!
Pinned Image
For your tree: a tartan Christmas tree skirt. (I've been looking for a simple tartan tree skirt for YEARS.  I'm so excited about this one!)
For making any boring outfit holiday-party-appropriate: a darling plaid clutch.
Christmas Plaid Clutch Purse Bag
And finally, for your gifts: tartan wrapping paper.
Red Plaid Wrapping
Merry merry!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Incredible images

The National Geographic Photo Contest ends this week, and some of the entries are just amazing.  (I can't get over the giraffes.) 
Enjoying the sunlight
You can see all the pictures here, and editors' picks are here.  Who gets your vote?

PS: Remember these amazing travel photos?

Giraffes by Niklas Passman; Japanese commuters by Phillippe Bouthiere (do you see the "speak no evil, see no evil, hear no evil" reference?); deer on train tracks by Callum Snape; jumping dog by Santiago Belaunzaran; bride by Matas Jūras; biker on pier by Mohd Nadly Aizat Mohd Nudri; Paris by Mario Porchetta

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Stocking stuffers

I'm working on a few Tall and Salty gift guides to help out with your holiday shopping, but in the meantime, a few ideas for stocking stuffers to give before Christmas:

For the fellow (or whisky-loving) woman in your life, the Whisky Advent Calendar is cheekily - although unfortunately, not cheaply - awesome.  For every day leading up to Christmas, there's a shot of whisky behind the little door.  How fun is that?  (Order soon -- Advent starts this Saturday!)
Whisky Advent Calendar
And for your ladyfriends, sisters, moms, or anyone else who sends out Christmas cards, a beautiful calligraphy address stamp will make her life easier and a little prettier.  (Throw in a bottle of wine for card-addressing purposes and she'll really be grateful.)  Lots of pretty stamp options here, here, and here.
Self Inking Custom Rubber Stamp - 3 in x 1.5in - Calligraphic Stamp

Monday, November 26, 2012

Holiday pieces for work and play

With the holiday party/cocktails/gatherings/visits/trips season upon us, two pieces that will see you through all of them, even if you're dashing there from work:

A black watch blazer.  Three important items of note: 1) it's got a fun pop of red under the collar; 2) it is a total steal; and 3) it comes in regular, petite, and tall.  
Holiday away.  

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