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Gifts for HIM

GIFT IDEAS Gifts for HER Gifts for HIM

Mimobot for Star Wars Fans | Gift Ideas

mimobot darth vader

mimobot star wars collection

For the Star Wars fans in your life, here is a collection of USB flash drives with their favorite characters. One neat feature is that a face is revealed by removing their helmet.

mimobot darth vader

Like in video games, some models carry an Easter egg. For example, one of 6 Darth Vader flash drives reveals the classic Anakin pale face. A limited edition of 500 units each provides Stormtrooper Han or Stormtrooper Luke with an extra cap. You have the choice to show the character shows their hair or the Stormtrooper helmet.

To reminisce a famous scene of the movie, have a look at this cute video featuring the Mimobot USB drives.

You can buy the Star Wars Mimobot series online at or at these retailers (list for Canada and United States). Mimobot also makes an Hello Kitty line and an artist series designed by pop-culture famous artists.

+  Star Wars Mimobot series $34.95 to $94.95 USD


A Handpresso for Father’s Day

handpresso wild outdoor set with a portable espresso machine

handpresso wild outdoor set with a portable espresso machine

For the April 2010 episode of On Est Ensemble where we had the former professional soccer player Nick de Santis as the star guest, I introduced a portable espresso machine.

I selected  the outdoor set by Handpresso because it contains the very essence of the nomadic espresso: the portable espresso machine called Handpresso Wild working with E.S.E. pods, 4 unbreakable cups, a 300 ml thermos-flask in stainless steel to have hot water always close to hand, and 2 small napkins. All that store neatly inside a small carrying case. Imagine the bright smile on the face of your dad if you show up with this kit on Father’s Day.

A Funny Moment of Web TV

But when you are recording live, things do not always as good as planned. It happened to me on my last design segment for On Est Ensemble.

The researcher for On Est Ensemble tried the Handpresso Wild before the show with success. In fact, he told me that it was easy to use. Therefore, I did not expect a miss in front of the camera. We thought that if I simply watched the tutorial video and had a look at the machine before the show, I will be alright. But making a delicious espresso with a machine that you never used before while recording a live Web TV show is not as easy as it seems. Many factors influence the quality of the coffee you produce with a manual machine. But it is also what allows the quality of a barista to shine.

My demonstration assured me of one thing. I recommend to give the Handpresso Wild only to an active person who does not mind a little exercise. To pump the machine to 16 bar requires more stamina than I imagined. Just watch the video of my design segment. There is no need to understand French to see what I mean. If you speak French, I am sure that you will laugh.

What is the right technique?

When it is done right, the coffee drops more quickly than on my design segment. This is the principle behind the espresso. Since the show, I learned what were my mistakes in handling the Handpresso Wild. So I suggest that you:

  • Go a little bit over the 16 bar mark. This way, you will make sure that you have enough pressure when you hit the press button
  • Use very hot water. Ours was not hot enough
  • Watch the .How to Use the Handpresso Video

If your coffee is dropping slowly like mine, you did something wrong. Start again. Like anything else in life, practice makes better. You can buy the Handpresso Wild machine separately. A portable espresso machine is very appealing if you live in a small space or do not wish to allocate space on your counter for the big machine.

+  Handpresso Wild ESE Pods or Dome (Ground Coffee) Version $145 CAD
+ Handpresso Outdoor Set $245 CAD – link to place an order online in Canada
+ In the States: Handpresso Wild Outdoor Picnic Set on sale at $179 USD, reg. $219  at
+ See the entire show at On Est Ensemble


Cool Dutch Design Gift Ideas for Father’s Day

The Netherlands are a country where talented and creative designers flourish in a good number. Sadly, most of their design products do not cross the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, most of the Dutch products are exported when a dedicated retailer wishes to carry them and import the goods directly from The Netherlands. This is the case of the UK retailer Dutch by Design. And it is good to know that Dutch by Design will ship their orders internationally.

I was looking for cool and unique design products for Father’s Day when I thought of revisiting Dutch by Design online store. I like what I see. They have affordable stuff that will impress and please your dad. My favorite gift ideas are:

+ Back in Time Radio/Alarm Clock $40 USD
+ Cheese Board $16.50 USD
+ Sandwich Bread Board $16.50 USD

More Gift Ideas for Everyone and All occasions

fun tree watercan :: love birds salt and pepper set at dutch by design

+ Tree Watercan $20 USD
+ Love Birds Salt & Pepper Set $21 USD


Father’s Day Gift Ideas

I gathered 6 gift ideas that may applied to your dad. The first group is for a dad who likes construction or architecture.

fathers day gift ideas for builders, engeneers and architects

+ The first idea is city landmark buildings or construction. You can choose between the John Hancock Building in Chicago, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Chrysler Building in New York. City Sculptures $38 USD each at Chiasso

+ Go green with these modern solar powered led house numbers. it makes it easy for visitors to find your home at night without requiring any electrical wiring. $28 USD per number at Chiasso

The second group will enhance his BBQ collection or help him have a better time at the cottage.

fathers day gift ideas for the BBQ and cottage living

For a dad who love grilling

1. Miniature Steak Thermometers set of 4 $22 USD at Smith & Hawken
2. Magnetic Grill Light $25 USD at Smith & Hawken

3. To save his back, get him a Forged Iron Wood Cart $149 USD

For a custom gift

4.  Give him a puzzle with the cover page of The New York Times for any date from 1888 to 2008.  Select the date you are born or the date a big event dear to him has happened. The New York Times Puzzle $45.99 USD at

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.


DNA as Artwork with DNA 11

dna11 dna portraits

If you are looking for a special gifts for a wedding or to give to your man this Holiday, I suggest sometimes pretty amazing. Who knows that your genetic codes can be so beautiful?

Your DNA transforms into artwork canvas. From your genetic code, they will create a unique piece of art. This art form is a wonderful way to immortalize the essence of someone dear to you.

dna11 finger portraits

DNA 11 was launched in 2005 in Ottawa. There was a CSI:NY episode where the DNA artwork was part of the storyline. It is a cool way to bring a part of yourself into your house.

dna11 kiss portraits

Select between the DNA portraits, the FingerPrint Portraits or the pop-art style of the Kiss Portraits. You can customize the background to for your décor.

+ DNA Portraits – Starting at $389 CAD, mini DNA portraits at $187 CAD
+ FingerPrint Portraits – starting at $190 CAD
+ Kiss Portraits – Starting at $289 CAD

GIFT IDEAS Gifts for HIM PAPER goods

Thoughtful Gent made masculine and casual note cards

mancards by thoughtful gent

I like to stock greeting cards and note cards so I do not have to rush to the store when I need them.

A few months ago, I noticed that most cards I buy are suited for women. Since then I try to find more cards suitable for men. But the choices of amazing masculine cards are scarce. That is why I was happy when Kara Magrin of Thoughtful Gent introduced me to her latest venture, ManCards.

The Concept

Kara launched Thoughtful Gent because she saw the same hole in the card market as she searched for note cards for her husband. I received my sample box. It is well done and beautifully presented. If you are in a hurry, you can simply tie a ribbon with a tag instead of gift-wrapping the box.

The tin box packaging extends the man touch. It is also practical since the tin box makes a catchall afterwards. I recommend ManCards for the men in your life: lovers, brothers, fathers, and colleagues. The note cards would make unique gift stuffers this Christmas.

Card Etiquette

ManCards strives to encourage thoughtful notes written by men. They are ideal for women to send to men. My rule of thumb is to select a card that fits the recipient for birthdays, anniversaries and other life events. Otherwise, the cards should reflect the person who writes it.

What is Inside the Box?

Each box includes ten folded note cards and envelopes. The standard note cards exhibit a brown background with blue stripe, green stripe or orange stripe. The variety box contains the three colored stripes.

A special edition box is edited every year. The series reproduced a painting or an illustration by Michael Magrin, Kara’s husband. This year design would be wonderful as a Holiday card and during the winter season.

+ blue note cards, green note cards, orange note cards, variety note cards – $12.95 for 10 cards + envelops, $84 for set of 100 (tins not included)
+ special edition note cards – $14.95 for 10 cards + envelops, $84 for set of 100 (tins not included)

GIFT IDEAS Gifts for HIM HOME decor

Pictures of Bottles plus an Astronaut at the Laundromat

If you need to find art pieces to ornate your house, Fine Art America proposes a vast selection at affordable prices. The styles and subjects are diverse.

pour me a rainbow by Holly Kempe

Holly Kempe captured Pour Me a Rainbow. You can buy it as a paper photo, on canvas. You can get it ready to hand on a stretched canvas or a frame.

organized storage bottles

An artistic feeling can also emerge from clever and neat storage. At her last party, my friend Renee of En Direct des Iles took these pictures of her storage bottles for me. Recycling old-fashioned bottles to store fresh beans, lentils and pasta is a smart idea. Renee did an excellent job at repurposing everyday items with style. This is green living at its best.

Renee is the woman who organized the adoption of Leeloo, our Mexican-born kitten.

at the laundromat with boba fett

Scott Listfield likes to paint astronaut and he is definitely a fan of Star Wars and other sfi-ci movies. Give his art to young men and science fiction fans. Scott paints astronauts in surreal down-to-earth situations. It is strange to see them in a Laundromat or next to a small modern pre-fab house.

astronaut paintings pod

+ Pour Me a Rainbow by Holly Kempe – photo starts at $22 USD, canvas starts at $29.40
+ food storage bottles: image by Renee for
+ Scott Listfield at Fine Art America – photos start at $22 USD
+ Via Art MoCo by MoCo Loco


A Twist on the Personal Concierge Laundry Service with Laundry Locker

laundry locker

I do not often talk about laundry other then how to organize your laundry room but Laundry Locker’s service seems heavenly to me. This is one of many cool business ideas spotted in Springwise.

Your Personal Concierge Laundry Service

Imagine having the freedom to drop off your dirty clothes for dry cleaning or for the wash and fold services 24/7.

Then, imagine not worrying about how and when you get back your clothes. Your clothes are returned the next turnover day. The billing is automatic and you can look at your laundry batches online.

By default, all clothes are cleaned in cold water to reduce shrinking, fading and bleeding which is the way I do it. You can tell them your cleaning preferences (ex: fabric softener, temperatures) on your profile. Since I dislike folding clothes, I wish for this indulgence.

Laundry Locker was founded in 2005 to cater to people who do not wish to deal with the usual business hours of dry cleaners. Their lockers are available in apartment buildings, condos, offices, fitness facilities and other drop-off locations throughout San Francisco. They even offer a home delivery service.

As easy as 1, 2, 3

Here is how the service works:

  1. Put your dirty laundry in any available locker and take the key (returning customers get laundry bags)
  2. You will be notified by SMS and eMail when your laundry is ready for pick up
  3. Return to the same locker where you left your clothes and bring them home

First time users only will need to register to and fill up your profile after they put their dirty laundry in the locker.

I read reviews on the Web and patrons seem delighted by their services. If you are looking for a way to simplify your life or an original gift idea for someone living in San Francisco, a year of Laundry Locker’s services sure beat a day at the spa. This is a part of stylish living on my book.

+ Laundry Locker
Via Springwise

ALL occasions GIFT IDEAS Gifts for HIM

Luxurious Tools for Living Gift Ideas

dwr:tools for living :: petanque set :: cedar sake bottle and cups :: adonde serving ware

In 2007, Design Within Reach started the Tools for Living line. It seems only natural to open new stores to serve that market.

Last May, Design Within Reach announced the opening in fall 2008, a Tools for Living store in SOHO, New York and another store in Santa Monica; two places I visited last winter.

If you are looking for out of the ordinary gift ideas, DWR:Tools for Living is a great place to start. I compiled a wish list with a hint of exotic. The Japanese modern culture mixed with the charms of Europe.

Garden Game

I bought a petanque set this summer but it is not as stylish as the Akiko teak petanque set. In fact, we still look for a better container to transport the boules. Here, the old-fashioned teak box elevates the game.

The Akiko petanque set is not French at all since it came out of the collaborative work of Danish designer Hans Thyge and Japanese Akiko Kuwahata, who now lives in Denmark.

For a upscale children toy, look at the woven rattan ball and cypress wood pins as a charming bowling set. Adults can display the set in a vignette.

Water Bottle

With the trends towards serving tab water in a pitcher instead of bottled water, go for the picturesque Italian Glass Water Bottle. I must confess that I still order bottled water in restaurants and serve it at home because I prefer sparkling water. But I served tap water instead of flat bottled water.

Since the Italian glass water bottle holds one liter of liquid, I will buy a second one to store my milk. Milk is colder when it is on a glass jar.

Stoneware and Wood Serving Ware

I became a fan of cold sake this winter. Designer Shunji Kurimori succeed in creating a bentwood low-conduction vessel that keeps cold sake cool, hot sake warm. The design of the Cedar Sake bottle is pretty interesting too.

Adónde is an sophisticated serving ware collection. It is basically an the stoneware assortment of different sized cylinders. Stoneware is a practical material since it is dishwasher, oven and microwave safe.

Sleek Ice Bucket

From spring flowers to champagne chilling, many uses applies to this 16-quart bucket. Graduated marked are imprinted inside the Stainless Steel Bucket.

+ Akiko Teak Petanque Set – price: $200 USD
+ Akiko Petanque at Skagerak Denmark – price: £79
+ Italian Glass Water Bottle – price: $10 USD
+ Cedar Sake Bottle and Cups – $85 USD for 2 cups, $140 for sake bottle
+ Adónde Appetizer Picks – price: $25 for 6
+ Adónde Olive Bowl – price: $15 USD
+ Adónde Dessert Spoons – price: $25 for 4
+ Stainless Steel Bucket – price: $80 USD
+ Bowling Set for kids – price: $100 USD