Summer 2013: Highlights, Gifts and Surprises

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The kids in the ocean at Coney Island: Summer 2013

The summer is almost over. It’s hard to believe Labor Day weekend is just two days off in the distance and all I my blog has to show for it is a handful of posts. I had grand plans…

The summer is a meaningful time for me: family birthdays and annual celebrations, my anniversary and, of course, excursions and getaways. Yet every time I meant to sit down and capture it for my blog, I was distracted or something else came up and it no longer seemed timely. But now, dear reader, as summer’s precious moments are coming to a close, it seems all the more necessary to remember the highlights, gifts and surprises of Summer 2013.

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Summer Birthdays: Remembering My Nanny

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My beautiful Nanny, 1999

I didn’t do a July 4th post… I tried, I couldn’t do it. I kept putting stuff together and bursting into tears, nothing felt right and I just couldn’t get into the spirit. July 4th we always celebrated my grandmothers birthday–her birthday was July 3rd. She started the tradition years ago with a lobster bake and my aunt has continued the tradition–a promise she made my grandmother before she passed away in 2008.

So this last Wednesday would have been my grandmothers birthday, and I can’t call her that… I never called her that. I called her Nanny. She was the best Nanny in the world. She was beautiful, she was effusive and she lived adventurously. She was proud of her family and she made you feel loved yet she also could give a kick in the ass when it was needed.

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Summer Thank You Gifts: Perfect Pairs

20130620-233054.jpgI’m going to a few summer parties and I can’t wait. It’s alway such a blast to party in the warm weather and enjoy some fun in the sun, especially since now my kids don’t need constant supervision. I always like to bring something for my hosts that contribute to the meal, but what about hosts that tell you: “just bring yourselves.” That never seems right, right? Right.

IMHO it’s always important to express thanks with gratitude for an invitation with a gesture. I also want to make sure that what I share with my recipients aren’t run-of-the-mill. These ideas are gift pairings that are fine alone, but are truly better together

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Looking Back: Birthday Celebrations For My Son

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Spring is almost here and in my house, that means it’s almost time for a birthday party…for a little boy–my youngest, no less. Every year he gets excited about six weeks beforehand and starts dropping not-very-subtle hints about what he wants for his birthday, and where he wants his party. This year he is turning the big 1-0 and he’s all about computers and baseball–if you can’t catch it or code it, it’s impossible to get much of his attention for very long. He wants a robotics and game design party–yes, this exists–but maybe because it’s a landmark year (ten feels special and monumental to me) this got me thinking about all the different parties we’ve had over the years (don’t worry, I’ve omitted any duplications).

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Oscar Party Ideas: Award Show Inspiration

20130217-222250.jpgI love award show season…LOVE IT!

I watch the Pre-shows, the red carpets, the awards shows themselves, I cry, laugh, eye-roll and yell at the TV (in the same way men do during football season) at the acceptance speeches and winner disclosures and I absolutely watch the fashion wrap-ups. Now it’s not every esoteric one. I limit it to the Golden Globes, The SAG Awards, The Grammys, The Emmys, The Oscars and, of course, The Tonys. The Grande Dame of all of these–I actually have two but Grande Dames but not everyone agrees with me, major props if you can guess my #2–is The Oscars.

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Holiday Party Fashion

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I’ve been feeling very festive, so I thought I would round up a few of my favorite party looks. These are ones I’ve definitely rocked this season and my New Year’s Eve look is even included below (dress, shoes and beauty stuff included)…I like to make the most of my formal wear–feel free to guess.

Sequins just scream “celebrate” to me—and if I’m being 100% honest I sometimes even sneak them into my everyday work wardrobe so I’m definitely biased, (oh and if you’re looking to try that out I love the way French Connection and JCrew add evening embellishments to everyday pieces). These dresses show off shine in a variety of colors, cuts and styles and you can layer them with a blazer, wrap, moto-style jacket, or cardi.

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Holiday: I Want To Know

I’m really curious, what jazzes you about the holidays–be honest, I won’t rat you out–plus it will help me make sure I’m posting things that are of interest to you, especially as we get into the thick of the holiday season.  Thanks so much in advance for your time. ~GW.

Related Links:
All Holiday Posts
All Christmas Posts
All Chanukah Posts

Photo-Fun Birthday Party

One of my very favorite group shots, they all look so psyched.

Last week my daughter turned twelve, and every year we do two parties: one for friends and one for family.  My daughter is an  incredibly creative spirit and has always liked her parties to reflect her personality and what she’s currently obsessed with–this is always a (fun) challenge for me, the Mom, as we attempt to find something unique, fun and thematic to her tastes and passions.  We started by going through her favorite things–theater, art, music–and talked about a few different ideas for each: taking friends to a Broadway show, doing a karaoke thing (again–Oh No!), or doing an art themed celebration.  And then I remembered her love of photography. She’s on Instagram, takes pictures of EVERYTHING and as soon as I mentioned it, she was game! But how to have a “Photography Party”? Good question.
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Holiday Hostess Gifts

Image courtesy of Ron Bird / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Despite my passion for gift-giving and shopping (it’s kind of the whole premise for this blog) when it comes to the holidays, hosting and feeding my family and friends takes the cake–literally and figuatively. I love preparing the menu, decorating our house with my husband and kids–well, he watches and directs while we decorate but it’s still really fun–finding a fun activity for guests to break the ice and then pulling it all together. That said, I also visiting family and friends: our annual tradition of going to my aunt’s for Christmas Day, celebrating New Years Eve with my husband at “our” restaurant where we had our wedding reception, watching all the kids and grown-up men get sweaty and hungry playing soccer (or maybe it’s football) on Thanksgiving at my in-law’s.

Whether it’s an established tradition or a new invitation that finds you celebrating in someone else’s home, it’s customary to bring a token of thanks. I’ve written about hostess gifts before, and my “rules of the road” (a bunch of them will work for the holidays too so feel free to check them out again, particularly this one and this one) but these gift ideas focus on unexpected and holiday specific ideas to warm the hearts and homes of your hosts.

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Labor Day Party Hostess Gift Ideas

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Photo credit: © George Tsartsianidis | Dreamstime.com

Labor Day gatherings are always bitter sweet. They mark the end of those lazy days of summer and the beginning of getting “back to business.” Back to school, back to “regular” work hours, regular clothes and closed toe shoes–but also the promise of crisp fall afternoons, leaves changing color and (of course) Halloween is coming…

But, when going to a party, you know my POV on bringing something that messes with the menu (if not see this prior post) so for Labor Day you want to bring a gift that is thoughtful, possibly seasonal and in keeping with your host and your personality. Here are my ideas for consideration. Happy Labor Day and be safe!

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