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Gifts for HER


My Valentine’s Bouquet

my valentine bouquet

My husband knows that I prefer receiving my favorite flowers instead of the cliché roses for Valentine’s Day. It is not for nothing that the new logo of At Home with Kim Vallee showcases a tulip. By the way, I aim to publish the revamped blog by the end of March 2009.

About the Bouquet

Tulips in orange tones please me even more. Harmonizing the orange tulips with the red tulips, a red anthurium and a second waxy flower stem stay within the Valentine theme. Other choices would have been to mix red or orange amaryllis with the tulips.

my valentine bouquet 2009

We both love cats. Sadly, my bouquet fascinated the kitten too much. It felt once already. Besides spilling water no harm was done.


Owl and Birch Outstanding Wedding Theme won First Place

little spring garden print yumi yumi

When I spotted the adorable owl prints by etsy seller yumi yumi on Hostess with the Mostess yesterday, I knew these illustrations could be the inspirations for an amazing modern chic tablescape.

Wedding Table Design

I am not the only one who thinks so. Milestone Events of Vancouver used them as the basis for their tablescape booth at Wedding Fair 2009. And their booth won first place.

milestone events booth at wedding fair 2009

Their sophisticated tablescape exhibits a clever use of natural elements. I would love to sit at that table. Check their blog for more detailed pictures of their tabletop.

Ideas for Valentine’s Day party

illustrations by yumi yumi on etsy

I like the softness of the wolf illustration carrying wild flowers. It would make a great gift.

Announce the color of our Valentine’s Day celebrations with the Going sailing print. For something special, you can rent on a sailboat and have a picnic on the lake.

+ Little Spring Garden print by yumi yumi $20 USD
+ These Are For You print by yumi yumi $20 USD
+ Going Sailing art print by yumi yumi $20 USD
+ Wedding Tablescape: photography by Erin Gilmore – rights reserved
+ Via Hostess with the Mostess and Milestone Events blog


Cool and Original Ideas for Valentine’s Day

It is not even two weeks after the big Holiday season that we need to start talking about Valentine’s Day.

pushing daisies floral centerpiece

+ The TV series Pushing Daisies on ABC includes the story of an unusual, romantic love. Why not get inspired by this simple Daisies and wheat grass centerpiece? Serve home made pie for dessert. Floral Lifestyle Expert Julie Mulligan of 1800flowers shares her expertise in teaching us how to easily make floral arrangements that add a punch to your table. Her Present floral arrangement would be great for a shower buffet table. Via It’s A Jaime Thing…

valentine collection of neawear wall art

+ If you are tired of giving the predictive flowers or chocolate boxes, here are a few gift ideas for you man this Valentine. Nea’s wall art will remind you everyday that you are loved and cherish. I am showing you Puffed Heart Wall Wear and Looove Wall Wear at $60 each. A more affordable option is Teeny Hearties Wall Wear at $40.

hearty tea service

+ If you are really into heart shape, you will appreciate the Hearty Tea Pot Set. If you are not ready to commit, you can simply buy a Hearty Cup & Saucer or a Hearty Mug, both available in white or soft pink. Tea set $140, cup & saucer $18, mug $16


Daily Quick Links 2009.01.11

Today’s finds have a feel of homemade even if the last two products are manufactured.


+ Deluxe Wrist Worms by Sandra Juto, a Swedish artist that lives in Gothenburg. Available in several colors for $59 USD a pair. Via the faves of S.HOPtalk, a blog I discovered thanks to Twitter.

+ I enjoy the crafty look of the packaging for the chutneys, sauces, jams and conserves by Jme, the new line of products by Jamie Oliver. Since the line is only available in Europe for the moment, we can only get inspired by it to produce our own labels for our cooked treats. Via At home at home

+ The Slat Rack by Wallter is the most versatile entry hall rack I saw so far. Use it to hang your coats, hats, helmets, bags, keys and more. As you get in or out of the house, put your mail, newspapers and magazines on the shelf. Available in green, orange, white and chocolate brown for $145 USD. Via Ready 2 Spark

Social Media News

As you may or may not know, I started a new blog on women and social media. Two stories I wrote lately are of a particular interest to our community. Allow me to do a little bit of self-promotion. I wish to hear you point of views on these two posts:

+ Make Love Not War
+ Which Home Design and Cooking blogs are on Technorati Top 100 Blogs

GIFT IDEAS Gifts for HER Gifts for HIM

Good Design Gift Ideas at MoMA

My last-minute holiday gift ideas continue with the store having the most celebrated modern design products, the MoMA. These products work as well as they look. They deliver on the big promise of good design: that is to improve our everyday life.


+ The four color-coded polypropylene chopping boards designed by Damian Evans is on my wish list. No more chance of cross-contamination of food types with an identifier for red/raw meat, white/cooked foods, blue/fish, green/vegetables. $85 is cheap for peace of mind. The dishwasher safe Index Chopping Boards by Joseph Joseph come with an ABS plastic horizontal storage unit.

+ The Riki Desk Clock is a MoMA exclusive. Riki Watanabe designed a reproduction in 2007 based on the 1970 original design. The reproduction is made of steel and ABS with a Seiko precision quartz movement. A bestseller at MoMA. $120 USD

+ Nurit Amdur designed a bowling set made of silly characters. Perfect for kids 18 months and over. Bowling Set $38 USD

+ Suitable for cocktails, liqueurs, and desserts, the Colorful Wobble Glasses are dishwasher and microwave safe. I like the cute cheerful touch they add on a casual chic dining table. Available in a set of warm or cool colors. $40 USD for a set of 4 glasses.

+ The annual Phases of the Moon Calendar is an all-time favorite. Stock a couple as you could give it to unexpected gift recipient from a teenager boy to an adult neighbor who invites you to dinner. $17 USD

+ Get stamps of two landmarks: the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. New York City Skyline stamps by MUJI, $6 each stamp

For delivery by December 24 of in-stock merchandise to most U.S. locations

  • Standard shipping: order by Thursday, December 18, 9 a.m. ET
  • Express shipping: order by Monday, December 22, 9 a.m. ET (additional $15)
GIFT IDEAS Gifts for HER Gifts for HIM

Best Gifts Under $35 at Pottery Barn

pottery barn gift ideas under $35 for host and hostess

All week long, I will help you with your last minute Holiday shopping. Because we are busy, each list will be from a single store.

+ Oblique Finger Bowls on sale at $20 for set of 3
+ Great White Mingling Plate $24 USD for set of 4
+ Leaf Bottle Coaster on sale at $34
+ Colby Leather Catch-All on sale at $20 – can be personalized with a name or initial.

For US consumers, Pottery Barn told me that the deadline to receive your gifts for Christmas is to order by:

  • 12/19 @ 9am for personalized items
  • 12/20 @ 9am for standard delivery
  • 12/22 @ 5pm for rush delivery

Update: I forgot to mention for my Canadian readers that they are a few Pottery Barn stores in Canada. Find the Canadian store nearest you and place a phone order.

GIFT IDEAS Gifts for HER PAPER goods

I Dream of Blythe Dolls

I just ordered a set of 4 Christmas cards featuring Blythe dolls on etsy. They are so adorable!


I have a thing for cute dolls. I am not the only grown up woman who does. First manufactured in 1972 by Kenner, Blythe became popular again when in late 2000 CWC produced a charming TV commercial for Parco department store starring Blythe. She became an overnight sensation in Japan and Asia.

New Blythe dolls are produced now. They are hard to find outside Japan (or Asia). My husband and I are planning a vacation in Japan next Spring. I will now be able to buy a few dolls.

moshi-moshi blythe doll clothing collection

Several etsy sellers create clothes on top of the traditional sources. Moshi-moshi by hilarywagstaff – the one who sold me the cards – has the best clothing collection that I found so far on etsy.

two blythe dolls belonging to amloro16 on flickr

If you wish to see more great dolls, there are several Blythe doll pools on Flickr. This is a doll to play dress up. Fans do settings, style the space and take fashionable pictures. Amloro16 is a huge fan. I contacted her last year about it. I am inspired by this French collector passion for her Blythe dolls. It seems so much fun.


Nintendo DS for Mother’s Day | Follow Up

nintendo ds for mother\'s dayAfter I published my post on learning how to cook with a DS, I received this email.

I could not resist sharing the girlie ad with you. It sums up what I was telling you about the broader audience of the DS versus other game consoles.

Even if your mother is not a gamer, she could enjoy these games: Crosswords DS, The New York Times Crosswords, Sudoku Gridmaster and Brain Age.

Then, you can give her more playful video games, I am playing The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass right now. Animal Crossings: Wild World is amazing too. I passed so much time playing that game.


Fashionable Mother’s Day Gift Ideas at Oktak

oktak handbags :: frame purse :: coin :: pouches

After beauty products, why not talk going out purses? Some women go crazy for shoes. I enjoy beautiful shoes but I prefer purses.

Every stylish woman should own at least a collection of purses to accessorize with her outfits. As I go to many cocktail events for business and pleasures, evening purses are a must for me.

New Going Out Handbag

My closet will host a new going out handbag soon. I like purses with a personality. Coriander, the latest pattern at Oktak seduced me. I selected the paprika color because bright colors are popular for summer 2008.

I bought my first going out handbag from Oktak last summer. The unique frame purse cleverly integrates the closing mechanism in the handle. I was surprised by how well it works. The design carries a feminine vintage vibe that I enjoy.

Besides style, the ideal night purse is big enough to carry your lipstick, a pen, a coin purse, a cell phone and one key on a key chain. The best one has room for a small camera. It sounds a lot but that it what I typically need when I go out.

Functional and Cute

Mothers can be fashionista too. If you mom harmonizes her handbag to her outfit on a daily basis, simplify her life. Getting her a few pouches for her makeup, pens and papers, store her bills will speed up the transfer of her things. Moreover, everything is easier to find when they are nicely organized.

The medium frame pouch is also available in the new coriander pattern. The frame pouch is perfect for carrying cosmetics, iPod, digital camera, cell phone and everything else that fits in your palm.

The zipper pouches are cute. A nice detail is the two glass beads attached to a leather cord. The eyeglass cases are adorable. I like their retro vibe, definitely designed for a woman.

The small frame pouch can be used as a coin purse or as a jewelry case. This can be handy when you go to the gym. You can create a set by matching some coin purses to a XL frame pouch (clutch) or a frame purse.

The Oktak bags are handmade. A Japanese girl named Aki Takada who lives in New York designed them. Since Oktak produces in small quantity, you will give something special to your mother.

Update May 3, 2008: I received my Paprika Coriander going out bag and it is lovely. I cannot wait to try it out. Great job Aki!

>>> Sourcing:
Buy online: frame going out purses by Oktak – price: $65 USD
Buy online:  large zipper pouch – pink flowers on turquoise – price: $19.50 USD
Buy online:  medium frame pouch (square) by Oktak – raspberry coriander – price: $29 USD
Buy online:  eyeglass case by Oktak – pink blossoms on green – price: $30 USD
Buy online: mini frame pouch – spring blooms on green – price: $22 USD


Get a Purse Caddy and support the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

purse caddy martha in pink at

This is a nightmare for the stylish party girl. You go out to a nice restaurant all dressed up. Then it hit you. Where to put the spectacular handbag that you wear for the first time?

The dilemma

Etiquette is strong about that. If you want to show good manner, you never put a purse on the table.

Leaving your purse on the floor is not a viable option. You will feel uncomfortable if you lay your purse on your lap out of fear of sliding down. You cannot hang it in good conscience on the back of the chair; people can bump to it or you check every minute to see that nobody took it.

What can you do? This impossible question is solved with the purse hook.

What is the purse caddy?

Think of it as a hanger or a hook for your purse. It keeps your handbag clean and out of harm’s way. It can also hold your umbrella. The Purse Caddy fits nicely into your tiniest going out handbag. Apparently, this was popular in the 1930s.

I am glad that it made a comeback. I found several stores on the Web that sell purse hangers. But frankly many models screamed old ladies or tacky for my taste.

That was until I came across Martha in Pink with its trendy girl illustration. I finally made the plunge and bought it online at Gone Shopping this afternoon. I will tell you more about it once I properly tested mine. Gone Shopping ships in Canada and the continental United States.

Support the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

For the month of October, for each Purse Caddy – Martha in Pink sold, Gone Shopping will donate $5.00 from each sale to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, an non profit organization continually looking for a cure to breast cancer.

The mirror with crystals is also cute but you will not support the CBCF if you opt for that one.

Buy online: Purse Caddy – Martha in Pink at Gone Shopping – price: $25 CAD
Learn more: Web site of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation


Running errands in style with the Oktak bags that are now on sale

Oktak purses, magazine bags and pouches

I usually suggest kitchenware as hostess gift ideas. But etiquette does not rule out bringing something else. If you are staying for the weekend at a friend house, you can give her something more personal.

Magazine bags, tote bags and wallets will thrill the fashionista and the ones that like to be organized. I received an email from Oktak announcing that everything in the store is 10 to 30% off until August 7, 2007.

For a hostess gift, take a look at the Pink Kitchen fabric. Select either the magazine bag or the square rainy day bag. Or you can choose zipped pouches or framed mini pouches in other fun and colorful fabric.

Arriving with a handmade product is usually perceived as more thoughtful gift. It feels more special. And you are almost sure that the hostess does not own the exact same thing.

About Oktak

Oktak produce handmade bags designed by Manhattan-based Aki Takada. All bags are made of 100% cotton fabric with a few in rare vintage textiles from the 60’s or 70’s. One exception is the line of “rainy day bags” made of bright-colored, water-repellent fabric.

I am the proud owner of an Oktak going out purse. I adore it. Have a look at their summer collection while the quantity lasts.

Buy online: Bags at Oktak