Cookie Books

Every year around this time, just before winter break, I think of the grandest giving idea. Maybe I’ll bake cookies for them, I say to myself. Them, the people outside of my immediate family to whom I’d like to extend a small token of gratitude. But, every year the pressure of finishing up a course and finalizing the menu for Christmas dinner (amongst other things) takes precedence over baking, boxing, and distributing cookies. Miraculously, I’ve managed to keep the tradition of card-giving alive over the years. When the opportunity to bake finally presents itself, I’ll have one of these books at the ready.

Works Sighted

The Cookie Collection // 100 Cookies // Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

Paleo Baking at Home // The British Baking Book // BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts

Dorie’s Cookies // Biscuits and Cookies: A Global History // French Macarons for Beginners

2022 Gift Guide

It’s time to buy something thoughtful for everyone on my list. Here are my highlights of the 2022 gift-buying season.

For Her

wreath subscription // nightshirt // mani-pedi kit

digital paintbrush // foldable yoga mat // shower steamer // shower steamer tray // body oil // book // lip gloss

Masterclass subscription // candle // matches // instant camera

red wine glasses // book // red wine stain remover // knife rests // travel belt

……….

For Him

tea and coffee alarm clock // eyeglass holder // book lamp // press vessel // point & shoot camera phone converter // table cornhole

gaming console // cashmere beanie // rapid beverage cooler // warming stone

digital photo frame // rain jacket // radio // dinner decision dice // magnetic bike lights

shaving kit // book // mini fireplace // flask flashlight // mechanical puzzle set // self-watering plant pots

Wrapping Paper from A Thing Created + Ruby Stripe on Etsy

Pretty Wrapping Paper

I came across two Etsy shops during my search for Christmas wrapping paper: A Thing Created and its sister store Ruby Stripe. I spent an hour perusing the shops’ virtual aisles filled with notecards, notepads, gift tags, watercolor prints, and the most beautiful wrapping paper I’ve ever seen. The artist, Erisha Rubingh, has designed a few covers for local South Carolinian publications Pink and Paisley Magazines. Erisha’s brief bios that appear on the sites reveal that she only took one art class in high school and was mainly self-taught. What an inspiration! (Proof that monetizing one’s craft is possible with persistence.) These are nine of my favorite wrapping paper designs across both Etsy shops.

Works Sighted

1. Blue Fair Isle Sweaters // 2. Blue Pinstripe // 3. Christmas Ginger Jars

4. Paris Apartment // 5. Bright Bookshelf // 6. New Year’s

7. City Sidewalks // 8. Champagne // 9. Navy and Red

Further Reading

About the Artist – Erisha Rubingh (Pink Magazine)

About the Artist – Erisha Rubingh (Paisley Magazine)

Ruby Stripe (Instagram)

Paris: 20 In-Person Airbnb Experiences

Hugging a poster for Brassaï exhibition in a Paris metro station (2014)

I’ve been to Paris many times online, in books, and through movies but only once in person. While I believe in armchair traveling, I must stress that it isn’t a substitute for first-hand experiences. I’ve noticed that a few of the Airbnb hosts I met via Zoom in 2020 have dispensed with some or all of their virtual experiences and are back to conducting them in person. I was left with no choice but to book a trip to Paris. My anticipated arrival date is March 3, 2023. Surveying in-person experiences is a pivotal part of the planning process. Here’s my curated list of 20.

Work Sighted: Expressing my love for Brassaï (January 2014)

Books About French Fashion Houses

Coffee table books about French fashion houses

I’ve seen Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (2022) twice thus far, but I foresee that number increasing over the holiday season when I have time off from work. Ada Harris becomes familiar with the Christian Dior label quite literally when she sees it in the gown of one of her clients. (She cleans houses for a living.) When Ada travels to Paris to buy a Dior gown, the fashion house reveals itself to her in unexpected ways. “Dior, it’s not just a gown. It’s all the elegance…” she says during one of her fittings.

One should not shop at French fashion houses for clout. An engaged shopper understands the values, aesthetics, and history of historic maisons. For me, learning almost always starts with a book. Here are nine for the coffee table.

Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Hermès

Lanvin, Christian Dior, Givenchy

Chanel 2, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent

Advent Calendars

Advent Calendars

I’m not the type to purchase an advent calendar every year, but I decided I could use the extra cheer. I’ve narrowed my picks down to six.

Works Sighted

organic tea advent calendar (Kusmi Tea); 12-day candle advent calendar (Voluspa)

24 Nights of Wine (Vinebox); 2022 advent calendar (Dandelion Chocolate)

spice advent calendar (Williams Sonoma); chocolate confectioneries advent calendar (Fauchon via Bergdorf Goodman)