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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Unique Gifts for the Love of Your Life

i_love_you.jpgThe romantic love of my life was born on Halloween so it’s fast approaching. Every year it’s so hard to identify a gift that illustrates how much he means to me… How when he came into my life it debunked (much to my then dismay) all my firmly held beliefs about relationships… How much he taught me by encouraging me rely to on him and that ultimately helped me believe in romantic love again. And when we eventually got married, I never looked back.

There are a few gift lists my hubby has inspired, like this one on baseball and this one on football. But below is a list of intimate gift ideas when you want to give a piece of yourself, and more importantly, when the recipient is ready (and dare I say worthy) to receive such a prize. So it’s fair to say he is the muse for this one as well, but for entirely different reasons. Happy birthday my darling, I’m grateful for the day you were born and that I get to celebrate each passing year with you.

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Gifts for Fashionistas

With NY Fashion Week approaching it felt appropriate to start dreaming up gifts inspired by and that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to give to my Louboutin wearing Birkin toting friends (both of them). But regardless of who you hang with, I have always felt fashion epitomizes fun, fantasy, reinvention and escapism and if one interpretation doesn’t do it for you, there’s always another collection or another season right behind. So enjoy…or hang tight, there will be more to come soon enough or even better, chime in with a spin of your own.

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Discount Gift Card Shopping Sites

20120818-230926.jpgOk, don’t take this the wrong way…but I’m a sucker for a deal. Case and point, I spent about an hour trolling the aisles at DSW earlier this afternoon. So how psyched was I when I found out there are sites to buy discounted GIFT CARDS…yep, you read that correctly. Gift cards. Apparently it’s a whole amazing exchange system that I won’t go into (but I do link off to resources that will tell you more if you’re interested) which can result in some serious savings if you do your research right.

The other part of the process, which I’m not going to focus on because its not the bent of my blog but file under “nice to know” is that you can sell those gift cards you’re never going to use on most of these sites and get cashola back in your possession for stuff you really want. Ok, moving on…

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Gifts for Dads

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My son in his grandfathers’ glasses, winter 2011

Today my Dad would have been 76 years old. It’s hard to imagine him a day older than 61, his age when he passed, and he seemed more like 45 when he reached 60. He was a dapper dresser, loved his cigars, played soccer from the time he was a boy and loved to fish and garden. He believed in self-reflection, creative expression and was a devout patron of the arts. He was always a good father, but became a great Dad as I got older. I miss him everyday and wish he could see his grandchildren and the life I have today, as I think he would be proud, satisfied and experience joys not yet revealed to him when his life was cut short.

This list include gifts I think he would have wanted, and that I would have wanted to give him, had time and circumstance been different. I’ve also often said “dead people don’t have birthdays” so I’m about to contradict myself when I say Happy birthday Daddy. I love you. I hope this makes you smile wherever you are.

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Gifts For Moms & Grandmas

July 4th Lobster Bake: Three Generations
From left to right back row: my grandmother, mom, aunt
Front row: my son (2) and daughter (4.5)
I am behind the camera

My mother’s birthday is at the end of August–sometimes falling right in the middle of Labour Day weekend (if you want further proof of this, see my earlier post on her Summertime Tea Party). What’s really interesting, or at least it was for me, is when you see your mother in action as not just “mom” but as “grandma”… particularly if this is to your children, and in my case since I was my mothers’ only child this was the only way that was going to happen. Putting on my gift-giving hat, this is a very cool challenge because I get to think about different kinds of gifts for her from my children and work with them on the selecting and assembling.

What I Bought With My Gift Cards & Other Presents

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What’s fabulous about a birthday? Gift cards! This year I got a few and thought it would be fun to summarize what I bought with them. Psst… There’s a money saving offer below too.

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First Time Gifts: Buying for a New Boyfriend or Girlfriend

We’ve all agonized over this one at one point in our lives. The first gift. You don’t want it to be too casual or utilitarian (socks is a no-no), but it also can’t be too serious either (a watch or expensive jewelry may be too much right now too). You also may not know enough about the person to be able to really nail this gift, like if their birthday, Valentines Day or the holidays are two weeks after you’ve started dating, well, that’s a tough one, but not all is lost. Here are some ideas–from, me, the Gifting Whisperer, AND my hubby–so you’re not totally hanging out there with your downtown area exposed. This also marks my mans’ debut on giftingwhisperer.com, and I hope it’s the first of many…or at least the first of a few. Hope you enjoy his romanticism, wit and humor as much as I do.

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A Summertime Tea Party: Favor Ideas and More

I love having parties and gatherings celebrating special moments and it’s so fun when activities can be fun take-aways along with thematic party favors. Last summer I threw my mother a 65th birthday party. I wanted it to feel intimate and draw on themes that felt special to her so, of course, I looked to her likes and interests for inspiration. She loves tea, she’s an artist, a little quirky (in a good way) and her birthday usually falls right before Labor Day–the last official weekend of summer. I had the start of something good, I thought…now I just had to pull these pieces together and create a memorable event for my mom and our guests.

Happy Birthday To Me Gifts

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So it’s almost MY birthday and it got me thinking… gifts we get for ourselves are incredibly underrated. Now, my husband does have to remind me not to buy myself anything too close to my big day (can I even call it that if I’m over 12?) and I respect that because I know he wants to keep his options open. So, these are the gifts on my “Happy Birthday To Me” list, and maybe I will purchase one (or two) of them…or maybe I won’t have to. Either way, I’m always a very lucky girl, as my man does a fabulous job list or not.

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