Some Of The Best And Unique Hanukkah Gift Items

A festival which is also celebrated as a holiday is the Hanukkah festival. However, in this festival gift-shopping can be quite tedious as the holiday lasts for 8 days. In order to make things a bit easier for you, it would be appropriate to consider the significance of the holiday as well as many unique Hanukkah gifts to buy. In this you will be able to choose the gifts that are appropriate and also respectful.

Hanukkah is regarded as a Jewish Festival of Lights. This festival is celebrated to remember the rededication of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

In the Hanukkah festival the gifts which will be well received are that of candles and incense during this festive occasion. In this festival, the candles can be used for the lightning and the incense can be used for providing a welcoming aroma in the home. If you are of the creative mind, it would be possible for you to get your recipient colored candles for each day of the holiday. In this way you will be able to add little variety in the days.

In the Hanukkah season, home decor is another gift which will be well appreciated during. These decorations can consist of pictures of religious personalities from the Torrah which would be a delightful picture item to hang up in a home. Additionally, you could also gift coffee table centerpieces and also the throw pillows which would be able to commemorate the holiday.

Those of you who don’t have enough money or are budget conscious then you can think of making some yourself. By presenting your friends and relatives with the perfectly made homemade gift ideas are excellent personal and memorable gifts you could give anyone during the holidays. By distributing homemade gifts, you will be able to put to exercise your creativity, and would be something your recipient would cherish for a while.

Another awesome and unique Hanukkah gifts gift which you could consider making are the gift baskets. The gift baskets are very easy to put together and exciting to receive especially if you have put inside a lot of treats. You must however remember to put together only those gift items in the basket which are aligned with the Jewish faith. These can include home baked goods, crackers, and toys for kids. Just don’t forget to tie the ribbon around it!

When you go about executing these innovative suggestions to create a beautiful Hanukkah gift basket for your loved ones, this season; it gives a wonderful feeling!

Cool Gift Ideas for Kids going back to school and Moms

Leather Notebook by Weston Leather: a great way to take notes in class with a nice leather cover. Refillable and you can throw it in your backpack or purse. This is a favorite for college and high school kids.

Large Black Journal by Fiorentina: a great, refillable leather journal for taking notes and also for business. Made in Italy.

Crocodile Embossed Dictionary in really cool colors! The dictionary can be personalized and is a special memory from parents for kids going off to college.
By Graphic Image.

Rustic Photo Album by Fiorentina. This great album can be used for pictures, special memories like ticket stubs, letters, awards and anything for scrapbooking. This is a great present for kids and for moms who like putting together pictures and fond memories in one great album. Handmade in Italy.
Galassi Multicolor Wallet Size Frame Set. This picture frame set is perfect for all of the wallet size school pictures! It works great for kids’ bedrooms or mom’s desk.

Wristlet phone wallet by Gigi New York. This is great for girls who want to take their phone and a few credit cards without taking their whole purse. It can be personalized and makes a cute gift.
Graphic Image iPad case. This good looking iPad case comes in a variety of colors and can be personalized with name or initials. A favorite among students.
Gigante journal. Made in Italy by Fiorentina. The most popular journal. This is a great gift for moms who now have time to write their thoughts down while the kids are in school. Elegant and unique.

To search for gifts on, go to the blue SEARCH FOR section on the top of the home page. Type in the description of what you’re looking for. Or go to GIFTS BY BRAND on the left side of the home page. Look through the brand to find the item you’re looking for.

Things to bring along for summer travel

This summer I can’t wait to go on a couple of trips that I have been planning all year. My kids go to camp in July so I typically save my best trips for August. We are traveling internationally (to Europe!) and to Santa Barbara. Here are my top picks for traveling:

1. Leather photo envelope. We love taking pictures and my kids are too anxious to wait until we get home to print pictures. So I carry a photo envelope to keep my favorite pictures and show them off.

2. Cross-body purse. I dislike going to parks, zoos, cruises, etc. with a big, bulky purse that I know I will forget. So I carry a crossbody purse. I put in my essentials and have them close to me for easy carrying.

3. Journal. I write down my most memorable moments on our trip or I will forget them when I get home!

4. Bright luggage tags! I can instantly spot my suitcase even though it looks exactly like many other bags at the airport. I have a bright luggage tag in textured pink leather and I can pick up my bag right away.

5. Passport case. Again, I go for a bright color so I can find it easily. I also have it stamped with my initials so no one will steal it!

6. Two different wallets. I have one large travel wallet for airline tickets, receipts, currency, documents, etc. But I also pack a small wallet when I want to go out for the day or in the evening and carry only essentials. I leave my large wallet in the safe.

7. Portable shoe shine kit. I pack this for my husband because inevitably he packs shoes that look worn. When we go out for dinner I surprise him and tell him that I have packed a shoe shine kit to make his shoes look great for a nice dinner.

8. Travel frame. I pack a leather frame with pictures of my two dogs. If I travel alone, I take pictures of my family and keep them on my dresser in my hotel room.

9. Portable jewelry case. This is my favorite. I bring along pieces that work for the destination where I am traveling. There are so many incredible jewelry cases these days. It is so much fun to have a good looking jewelry case. I put this on my “wish list” for my birthday. My husband got me a jewelry case and threw in a nice piece of jewelry. (A pleasant surprise!).

10. Extra sunglasses…I take one really nice pair and another pair that I can take to the beach or hiking and not worry so much if I lose them. Inevitably I lose at least one pair while on vacation.

11. A hat to protect me from the sun. Also I love hats, especially stylish ones. I like hats that fold up and fit in a backpack. I love Eric Javits hats because they look so great.

12. Camera case that is made of durable material. I have dropped my camera several times. I previously had a stylish but soft case and the camera was damaged. Now I always buy a strong case. I also put my business card inside the case or have my name and phone number stamped on the leather in case it gets lost.

There are many other great ideas for traveling but for now that is my list! Hope you have a great summer. It goes by so fast and then September comes along before you know it. Happy traveling!

Shopping for Father’s Day

Last year I surprised my dad by flying to Washington D.C. at the last minute to give him a gift in person (myself)! He was so surprised when he answered the door. He had no idea that I had planned a surprise visit! But I thought it would be fun to surprise him instead of make plans in advance to see him. I didn’t buy him a gift. Instead I took him to lunch at my favorite rooftop restaurant at the W Hotel overlooking the White House. How can I top that this year? The best thing I can think of is to send him a photo album with pictures from a few of our visits.

My dad loves photo albums. Also picture frames. Anything with pictures of me and my family. For so many years I bought my dad the usual gifts – toiletry bag, tennis racket, slippers, tie. And I realized that all he really wants is pictures. We like to skype each other. But after that all we have are our pictures. I can never have enough – on my wall, my desk, my table. And I don’t think you can have too many photo albums. So this year I think I will put together some of our favorite memories in a collage.

Of course my dad always tells me not to send him anything. He says that a phone call for Father’s Day is all he needs to brighten his day. But then when he receives a gift, especially a sentimental gift, he is elated. My husband is a father now too and any special gift that my children make always brightens his day.

I looked up Father’s Day on Wikipedia out of curiosity. One thing that I thought was amusing is that more phone calls are made in the United States during Mother’s Day than Father’s Day, but the percentage of collect calls on Father’s Day is much higher, making it the busiest day of the year for collect calls!

Etiquette and Attire

First, let’s talk about the definition of etiquette:
Etiquette (pron.: /ˈɛtɨkɛt/ or /ˈɛtɨkɪt/, French: [e.ti.kɛt]) is a code of behavior that delineates expectations for social behavior according to contemporary conventional norms within a society, social class, or group. The French word étiquette, literally signifying a tag or label first appeared in English around 1750.
I suppose that means that certain types of clothing as well as behavior is acceptable if it has become the norm within our society. But is it a general norm or only in certain parts of our society and age groups?
Lately I’ve read about people being kicked off of airplanes for dressing inappropriately. That is according to the flight attendants working on the plane at the time. Is it appropriate to wear a skirt that shows your underwear when you sit down or a top so short that it shows your stomach while traveling? Well I suppose if your stomach hangs over it’s not so great.

What about work? I attended a meeting and one of the women showed up with tight jeans, a bare tummy with an earring in her navel and large ivory hoop earrings in her ears. She was young and pretty. But then again it was a corporate meeting and other people were wearing conservative pants and jackets. What industry are you in? Well, if you work in fashion or high-tech there are different rules. Most of the time I guess it’s best to follow the general ambience of the company. What if you are dressed appropriately but you have unbearable breath or forgot to shower after that basketball game the night before. Is that equally egregious?
What about your accessories? I like a neat purse. But I wasn’t always that way. Remember the movie, “Along Came Polly?” Polly, played by Jennifer Aniston, had a certain hip way of dressing but her purse was a mess. Just to find her keys she had to dump out her whole purse. That was me in my twenties until some people started making comments to me. Now I have lots of holders…a phone holder in a bright color, a leather envelope for receipts, an amazing wallet and a leather brush holder! Yes, a brush holder because every time I used to reach for my brush it was super dirty from the contents of my purse. I look classy now when I delicately reach in my purse for something I need.
Dressing is different for different groups of people, cultures, industries. But good grooming does go a long way. It shows that you care about yourself. In terms of style, it’s a personal preference. I think that celebrities sometimes have a tough job. What if you just want to run to the market and you throw on some clothes and run out the door. You might be photographed with the most horrible outfit ever with the caption “Celebrity dresses like trash”. Or maybe a celebrity took a 10 hour flight and walks out into the airport with wrinkled clothes and red eyes? The caption might read “Celebrity sick…disease unknown”.
If you’re a celebrity and you go to an award show, you could be eaten alive by the press if they don’t think you fit in. How about the time that Helen Hunt wore an H & M “off the rack gown” instead of a well known designer dress to the Oscars? She never heard the end of it from commentators. Again, not dressing in the “norm” of fellow celebrities. But then again even some celebrites who did wear designer dresses got lambasted. The shade of Naomie Harris’s dress was called diarrhea. I guess that means no one liked it.
Dressing should be a personal choice but one should always keep in mind the ambience of those in one’s social or business circle.

Happy Valentines Day

What I like about Valentine’s Day is that it is my daughter’s favorite time of year. She gets excited months before and picks out a Valentine’s Day outfit far in advance. This year she chose a darling red and white dress with hearts, a red headband and red boots to match. I know that if I don’t have an adult date for Valentine’s Day, she will be my date and we will go out to lunch and celebrate. Actually, my husband would be my date on Valentine’s Day but he doesn’t like to go out because he says it’s too commercial. Still, it’s fun to people watch.
Sometimes on Valentine’s Day you see couples who look like they’ve been together forever but sometimes there are couples about to break up and it looks like it’s their last Valentine’s Day together. Sometimes there are awkward couples – those who don’t want to be alone so they just go out and celebrate. I’ve seen people exchange some bizarre gifts at the table next to me. For example, adults exchanging stuffed animals and talking “baby talk” to each other. I’ve seen a couple who had too much to drink and they started holding up their risqué lingerie and loudly discussing their intentions after the meal.
This year I got my husband a wallet because his looks like it has seen its last days. He’ll never replace it unless I present him with a new one. On the other hand, he has so many clothes, it looks like we have a retail store in our closet. The tags are still on most of his clothes. What is he saving them for? He says he got a “good deal” but not if he never wears them.
I like to send my sister a Valentine’s Day gift because she works all the time and travels. I don’t think she’s usually in town for Valentine’s Day. I think it brightens up her day. Also my mom always remembers me on Valentine’s Day and that makes me feel special. She spends so much time picking out the right card for me and it shows. I think that overall Valentine’s Day is a good time to remember just about anyone that you care about.

How can you please everyone? Gift giving for the holidays…

Why is it that my husband always gives me a gift card for Christmas?  He says that it’s because I’m too picky.  That is not true at all.  The truth is that he is too busy working/playing golf to put any thought into buying a personal gift for me.  Well at least he’s working.  I can’t complain.  But I did read that exorbitant numbers of men buy gift cards.  Hmmm, there is a trend here.  Are they all too busy or are they worried that we will reject their gifts?  Not sure.  And why is it that my parents give my son a desk set every single year.  Don’t they know that the one they gave him two years ago is still in perfect condition.  Maybe that’s because my son never took it out of the box.  Sorry, he doesn’t use desk sets in college.  My parents are great.  Just not too in tune with kids. Why does my sister always say “Don’t get me anything.  I don’t need anything.”  I know she doesn’t NEED anything but it is fun for me to get her something.  Otherwise when we open presents she doesn’t get to participate.  It’s awkward.  So this year I will surprise her with a journal.  She does need a journal actually.  I gave her one years ago and she has been writing in it ever since.  The point is that it is a personal gift…she always remembers me when she is writing.  My husband always says the same thing – “Don’t get me anything.”  That’s what he says when the whole family goes to a restaurant.  “I don’t want anything.  I’m not hungry.”  Then when all of our food comes he’s suddenly starving.  So then he orders a big meal.  And of course by the time his food comes we are all finished.  We have to sit around and wait for him to eat.

Gift giving is so hard.  You don’t want to offend people, especially co-workers.  Maybe that’s why there is an increase in the number of people who pool together to buy a gift.  You can get something nicer and then if the person doesn’t like it you are not the only one to blame.  (It was everyone’s idea).  What about your boss?  Do you give her/him a gift or are you just looking for a raise.  I stay neutral.  Usually a card will do.  I hope that’s the right thing to do…I have never been promoted with my boss.  What about clients?  I am so busy during December that I started sending out New Year’s presents in January.  It’s much less stressful and there are more people in town in January.  I am always worried that no one will be in the office starting in mid December.  I think it works.  Clients always tell me how much they appreciate getting a gift in January for the New Year.  It stands out.

What about your kids?  Do you indulge them or make it simple?  I try to stress the importance of family gatherings and the festive part of the holidays.  We sing and bake cookies.  It doesn’t help that my daughter’s Jewish friends get presents for eight days.  She doesn’t understand why that’s fair.  So last year I put some small presents under the tree and told her to open them early.  Unfortunately it was chocolate coins and candy canes.  The dog ate them under the tree.  Oh well…I tried.  I think it will be a good Christmas anyway.  The kids always seem to find humor in our holidays.  Hope you have a Happy Holiday.

Designers and Brand Names

It seems like people love brand names and well known designers.  If two dresses or two bags are of the same quality but one has a brand name, the bag with the well known designer name will sell.  Maybe it’s because Joan Rivers started asking people “Who are you wearing?” on the red carpet.  Everyone wants to know whose clothing you’re wearing or whose bag you’re carrying.  And shoes…designer shoes have gone crazy.  Carrie Bradshaw from the TV series “Sex and the City” always wore fancy shoes even if she could barely afford rent.  She loved Manolo Blahnik shoes.  She would even walk down long busy streets in New York with those beautiful high heels.  Remember when she wanted to marry “Big” in a no name dress.  Her friends almost fell on the floor.  They insisted she wear a well known designer.  She did but then “Big” left her at the altar.  In the end she did wear a no name, simple and elegant suit at city hall to get married and that time the marriage worked.

What about designer names for dinnerware and glassware?  My friend keeps the Waterford stickers on her glasses in her china cabinet.  Is it because she wants to let everyone know that she can afford Waterford?  Or maybe she is just proud that she has such high quality glasses.  There is also a hierarchy with designers.  What if you’re wearing a designer that no one has heard of or what if the designer is not at the top of the hierarchy?  I was reading a fancy magazine and it suggested that Christian Dior is the top design house.  There is definitely a hierarchy.  Then there are different levels of hierarchy within a designer’s line.  What about Ralph Lauren?  My gardener wears polo shirts to mow the lawn.  Then when I hired construction workers to do some remodeling, two of the workers were wearing polo shirts.  I guess if you want to show that you are at the top of the Ralph Lauren hierarchy you should wear the Blue label or the Black label.  I’ve never seen anyone do hard work while wearing the Blue label or the Black label.

Finally there is the issue of current designs from a well known designer.  What if you’re wearing a top designer but it is “past season” or not a current design?  What if someone catches you wearing past season clothing?  When I was in college I worked in a fancy boutique.  I didn’t have much money but the prior year I had saved up for a fancy designer blouse.  I was so proud of it.  One day I wore it to work.  My co-worker screamed loudly, “That’s last year’s!” Everyone could hear and I was so embarrassed.  I was young and I made the ultimate mistake.  I wore a “past season” design in a public place.  Oh well.  You live and learn.

I love designers, beautiful clothes, shoes, bags but you have to know the rules if you want to play.  Otherwise it’s best just to “opt out” and pretend that you don’t like any brand names or designers and then you don’t have to worry about “who you’re wearing”.


Women and Handbags

What is it about women and handbags?  My husband asked me why I need so many different handbags.  He said that all I need is one.  And realistically he’s correct.  I should be happy to have one nice handbag to carry around town with all of my things.  Plus it’s so much trouble to change handbags.  Lots of times I forget something when I transfer the contents to another bag.

That’s the functional way to look at it.   But then I start looking at lots of different handbags and functionality disappears.  I like variety – textured handbags, different colors to match different outfits.  Handbags for different events:  a small, sophisticated bag for the evening and a large tote bag for going shopping or to work.

At work, I bring everything with me.  You never know what you might need.  I pack a toothbrush (yes, I’m crazy) so that I can brush my teeth after lunch.  I pack a small paperback book (I’m still old fashioned) so that I can read under a tree when I get a break or at lunch.  So I need a really big tote bag.

I noticed that when I volunteer at my child’s school and there are a lot of women, we all strategically place our handbags on the table while we are helping out.  Is it so that we can compete for the prettiest bag or is it so that we can showcase our bags and give each other ideas about which bag to buy next?

I am envious of one of my friends who has so many nice handbags. She has different bags in different colors all to match her outfits.  The one she carried the other day was fuchsia with the softest leather I’ve ever seen.  I complimented her on her bag but secretly I was jealous that I couldn’t afford such a nice handbag.  After all I looked at the label and knew I couldn’t afford it.  But then when I got home I looked on the internet and found an equally beautiful bag for much less.  That made me feel great.

It all sounds crazy, but yes, women love handbags.  All sizes, shapes and colors! I will find a way to save on other things so that I can continue my hobby of collecting beautiful handbags.

Buying Sterling Silver

Sterling silver is an excellent investment.  If you like picture frames, vases or other items for your home, sterling silver is not only a good investment but beautiful as well.  You may have purchased a sterling silver object for your home a few years ago.  Now if you look for the same item, you can see that prices have gone up quite a bit.

Here are some tips when buying sterling silver:  look for .925 silver as it is by far the highest quality of sterling silver you can buy.  You might wonder what .925 means.  By definition and international agreement, “sterling” silver is 92.5 pure silver and 7.5% some other material. Sterling silver is mixed with other materials such as copper because silver tends to oxidize, or tarnish easily.  The 7.5% copper or other metal reduces the tarnishing process.  Also, pure silver is a soft metal.  It can bend or break easily so adding a stronger metal will allow the silver to last longer.

When purchasing sterling silver, it is advisable to buy a soft polishing cloth so that you can keep the silver clean.  Your sterling silver will last a lifetime if you take good care of it.

If you are buying a sterling silver picture frame, remember that wood backing is more expensive than velvet backing.  Well known brand names such as Carrs of Sheffield, England or Tiffany have a good resale value because of their name.  Unique designs and high quality items are a good investment as well even if the brand is not as well known.  Many companies are offering large discounts on their products these days.  You can get good deals on very reputable sterling silver products.

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