Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Perfect Hostess/Friend/You Gift

This year, gift the gift of style for the table. Lorcom Lane linens are the perfect way to do it. I just realized the order deadline for Christmas is Dec. 5, so if you're interested get ordering! The stylish linen line is handmade by two best friends who used to live together and loved throwing parties. They craved some trendy, unique linens to freshen up their parties, so they began designing their own. The line includes napkins, aprons, table runners and more made with fashionable fabrics the designers have hand-picked. My favorite part of the line is handmade napkin rings made from colorful fabric that loops around a napkin and closes with a chunky button. They look just as good with a contrasting Lorcom Lane napkin as they do dressing up a plain white table. The fall/winter collection includes browns, oranges and blues. For Christmas, the blue would make a perfect icy table addition (and a refreshing departure from boring red and green).

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Give a Handmade Holiday Gift

Why give gift cards or other generic gifts when you can pick something one-of-a-kind and handmade for all your favorite people? Check several names off your list in one place on Dec. 7 at Richmond Craft Mafia's Handmade Holiday Sale at 4025 Yoga (4025 MacArthur Ave.) from 6:30-9 p.m.

In case you're not familiar with the group, Richmond Craft Mafia is a group of local independent crafters that have banded together to promote buying homemade goodies in Richmond. This event will feature fourteen businesses with jewelry, purses, children's clothes, paintings, pottery, home decor and more.

Christmas at Lane Sanson

Christmas has arrived at Carytown home store Lane Sanson, and you can tell by the rooms filled to the brims with gifts, accessories, decor and more. Owner Valerie Sanson and her employees have been working late into the night, or "elfing" as they call, it for the past month or so hanging ornaments, constructing trees, screwing in shelves and seeking out ways to squeeze all the inventory they can into every nook and cranny. Some of the highlights include modern white dessert plates, serving trays and chargers with metallic silver contemporary designs including crowns, chandeliers and clever rock-inspired sayings like "Rock Pour Life." The selection of Michael Aram is brimming with pomegranate Christmas ornaments, candle holders resembling tree legs and stainless steel bowls standing upon sculptural lacquered enamel coral.

Christmas trees literally dripping with ornaments are sprinkled throughout the store and upstairs the selection of classy-yet-festive garlands, signs, statues, etc., is awe-striking. Must-views are loopy white Christmas trees made from pipe cleaners that come in sizes perfect for decorating a mantle, glitter signs that stand on tables with festive sayings, and glittery, swirly garlands that can be hung from the ceiling or placed on trees.

My personal favorite part of the Lane Sanson inventory, which isn't related to Christmas except that it would make a great gift, is Hotcakes Jewelry. This resin jewelry is hand-cast and inspired by bakelite jewelry. The necklaces, bracelets, pins and earrings are made with chunky resin beads alongside pictures of birds, bugs, flowers and other items that have been set in resin and placed where stones would normally be. The designs are just so unique and funky.

Saks Thanksgiving Sale

So most Black Friday/Thanksgiving weekend sales usually take place in stores, but there are also some great deals to be had online. I think you've still got through Monday to take advantage of Saks Fifth Avenue's Holiday Sale and free shipping. The sale started on Thanksgiving and offers discounts of up to 50 percent on purses, clothes, shoes, menswear and more. My mom bought me a new Juicy Couture purse for an early Christmas present. The adorable red leather bag was less than $200 on the Saks sale and I've since seen it on two major retailers' web sites for $350! Yay bargains.

Black Friday

I had to work on black Friday. While I know many people don't even consider hitting the stores on this oh-so-crazy shopping day, I usually head out for at least a little bargain shopping. This year, I had to be at work between 8 and 8:30. But with all the early openings, I decided to hit a spot or two before work.

I set my alarm for 5 a.m. and the potential thrill of a good bargain made my hop out of bed without even one tap of the snooze button. By 5:45 I was out near Short Pump Town Center. Passing by the globs of cars outside WalMart, Target and Circuit City (I don't have any kids and would buy designer shoes over a TV any day, so no interest there), I headed for the mall where Macy's was set to open at 6 a.m. Yeah, I skipped the way early openings of Kohl's and JC Penney, but I didn't want to totally fall asleep at my desk later.

In Macy's, I first perused the kitchen appliances since I had a feeling this was where the best deals would be and where the crowds would head. There were some good deals on cappuccino makers and Henckel knives, but nothing I felt like spending funds on. I headed upstairs and saw that an INC coat I'd been coveting was 40 percent off! It was the perfect twist on the trench with gold sequins down the front in lieu of a belt.

As the clock neared 7 a.m. I headed down to Nordstrom. I didn't know what sales would be in store, but wanted to check them out. I walk through the upstairs revealed no exciting clothing sales. Downstairs, though, a table of newly-marked-down designer purses called to me. I found an adorable Marc By Marc Jacobs bag for $300. When I checked out, the sales associate informed me it had just been marked down that morning. Plus, anyone who opened a Norstrom card that morning and charged at least $100 received an automatic $20 reward coupon in the mail. Heck yeah!

My final stop was Express. I had planned to take a walk through and probably not buy anything when I saw it was open, figuring that mall boutiques like Express generally don't have good Black Friday sales. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked in and got a list of special discounts and was told that everything in the store was 20 percent off until 11 a.m. I hastily picked up some gifts for my boyfriend and then headed off to work!