Among my favorite, favorite places to escape into an ethereal world of exquisitely creative sophistication, elegance and beauty are the blogs Home, A Gift Wrapped Life and Beadboard UpCountry.
Jacqueline (Jackie) at Home is a woman I would like to know; no I take that back, I would like to live near her. After she moves to France or we move to England I would then like to ply her with some libation -- her choice, Chartreuse or Champs -- and have her help me decorate for the holidays. I want to know where she finds the things she finds; how she manages to put them all together with such a fairy tale magic touch and if she wanted to re-visit we could go shopping for this and that throughout the year. Every post is more beautiful than the next and then you add her dry, arch wit and well, you have a treasure. Just you wait and see.
Sande at A Gift Wrapped Life makes one realize when slapping on the non-invisible Scotch tape because you weren't paying attention; grabbing some wrinkly old ribbons from Christmases past and scratching out one family member's name to replace it with another because you forgot to buy gift cards that you deserve to have coal in your stocking hung by the fire. She makes the act and the presentation of the cadeau a gift in itself. How lovely is that? You'll see, when you click over to visit her why living a gift wrapped life takes into account that crucial French ethic: Just the tiniest bit of effort to make something beautiful, makes life more beautiful.
Maryanne, in her deliciously charming shop knows instinctively that last minute giving can be every bit as wonderful as those more organized than some of us (ahem). She proves it with her "I wish I could have one of these 'BloemBoxes' ," which she rightly points out have a huge "wow" factor built into them. Do take a tour chez elle.
Here three women of refined taste tell us what to buy NOW!
Jacqueline at Home:
A few of my favorite things:
1.) Vintage corkscrews from Re-Found Objects.
2.) A mercury, "the poor man's silver," stem vase from Cox and Cox.
3.) The Princess and The Pea from Not On the High Street.
4.) The Cinderella doll (also from Not On The High Street.)
Maryanne from Beadboard UpCountry:
The BloemBox would be my first choice. I also like Tea Forte and for elegance there are the new glass and ceramic Juliska pieces gift boxed in gray linen with embossed charcoal ribbon and a seal of bisque stoneware -- stunning.
There are three types of BloemBoxes: White Dazzler Amaryllis; the Red Lion Amaryllis and the Paperwhite Narcissus.
I love Isola Luce Dolce candles. They're smokeless and are made from palm oil. The company is careful never to source from an environment detrimental to animal habitats. They come in four fragrances: Tiramisu, Nights in Venice, Romance in Rome and Tuscan Fields.
(Ed. Note: Click on Maryanne's blog for complete info.)
Sande from A Gift Wrapped Life:
My absolute favorite gift to give or receive this year would be the "Paris" ring box from the new Charlotte Moss Muse Collection from Halcyon in England.
Moss has taken her inspiration for this enamel keepsake from Coco Chanel, one of the four women she used as inspiration in designing her line for the Muse collection. She took her cue from Chanel's love of Chinoiserie when creating the box with 24k gold. (I think it would be lovely if a ring were inside as well, though I would be quite happy to have it filled later.)
(Ed. Note: It's not too late to see if you can last minute shop with Sande for other delights. At least I hope not. . . Extra note, I stole the picture on top, by Sande, to give you an idea of what some lucky gift receivers will be looking at this year before they rip into the surprise beneath.)