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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Favorite Things 2009

Happy New Year, everyone!

I am full of pudding and cheer -- there probably won't be any champagne for me tonight, but that's okay! What I do have are some of the new things I discovered and adored in 2009...

- MAC Sugarshot eyeshadow: Naturally I was excited about the MAC SugarShock collection -- with a sweet treat-themed collection, including one of the first mint green nail polishes on the scene, how could I resist? I picked up several things, but the one that's definitely become a staple in my kit is Sugarshot, one I wouldn't have even considered initially. It's a very pale shimmer with a touch of pink; at first I thought, I don't need any more highlight shadows, I have enough. But Sugarshot really is one of the eyeshadows I reach for all the time. It gives my eyes a bit of lightness and a little bit more green, due to the pale pink cast, and is the perfect base to build up any other color scheme.

- Chanel Jade nail polish: I recently went to the Bloomingdales Chanel counter in San Francisco and was looking at the new spring collection (beautiful, must get ASAP), chatting with the sales girl, when I casually mentioned that I had gotten my hands on Jade. She said, "We never got it!" Apparently there were rumors that they were getting a couple, that Saks was getting some, but it never really showed up. I secured mine by ordering it as soon as I heard it was live at Chanel.com -- which meant I was in the middle of NYFW. I wore it for Thanksgiving and I love the cool green with the light shimmer. Gorgeous!

- Hermes Elixir de Merveilles perfume: I don't know how I was inspired to pick this up -- I believe it was a blog post, likely from the Beauty Addict -- but I ordered a small decant from The Perfumed Court and fell for it hard. It's a warm gourmand citrus that's a little unisexy, so of course I dig it. My brother gave me a $50 gift card to Sephora (nicely played, sir!), so I may have to put that towards a full bottle. (Surprisingly, I'm ambivalent towards the original Eau de Merveilles.)

- Bliss Vanilla Bergamot body butter: After the BlogHer '09 event, I continued my tradition of going and getting a massage and facial at Bliss SF. I slicked myself up with this sweet moisturizer, which is so good and rich that it lasts all day. Plus, it doesn't smell like a cupcake, which is all well and good, but a rich, grown-up vanilla that makes me want to eat my arm. My 2010 wish is that they start offering the new Body Butter Lite in Vanilla Bergamot, too.

Dior Addict Lip Glow- Dior Addict Lip Glow: You all know that I'm always in search of a wonderful, moisturizing, SPF-havin', tinted lip balm, right? Well, with Dior Addict Lip Glow for pink and Fresh Sugar Rose for red, I'm set. The search is over.

- Bliss Steep Clean Mattifying Moisturizer: This was another find (actually, a recommendation from my facialist) when I went to Bliss in July; a good-smelling, oil-controlling, night cream. I've always been battling my skin, but this latter half of the year? Skin's been doing great.

- Urban Decay Bourbon 24/7 pencil: I got this eye pencil with the Get Baked palette this summer, and it has quickly jumped to one of my favorites, especially when used in tandem with Sugarshot for a simple daytime look. As I said earlier this year, "you wouldn't think that I'd get excited over a brown eyeliner pencil, but it's really flipping pretty and lasts all day."

What were your favorite product discoveries in 2009? What are you looking to find in 2010? (Chanel counter, I'm coming for you...) Do you want to find something specific, or do you want to be surprised? Any beauty trends you're interested in trying in the new year?

Here's to a great new year!

image from sephora.com

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Winter break!

It's been pretty quiet around le blog -- what with the holidays and all, we've been running around and then collapsing. (Or maybe that's just me.) I made sure I got Kati's package out in the mail, got gifties for my family and my boy, visited family and friends, and tomorrow I go in and get my wisdom teeth pulled out. Boy howdy!

So while I'm recovering and lying around in my new Ugg moccasin slippers (they are so warm and nice) and cute pajamas, everyone else is going to have a glamorous and fun New Year's Eve. I'm settling in with all of the books I've been meaning to read for months, I've got apples going in the crockpot to turn into sweet soft applesauce, and I'm actually kind of looking forward to a nice long weekend... even if it's extra-long because there are teeth coming out of my face. I'll do my best to have my Favorite Things of 2009 up by the end of the year, but, well, I've never had my wisdom teeth out before, so I'm not sure how I'll be feeling...!

2009 has been an interesting year, with lots of good times and some sad and strange times. I can't say I'm sad that we're moving into a new year -- I know I feel ready!

Here's hoping for a great 2010!

image from zappos.com

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

WorkWear Daily: Life Is A Cabaret

Man, remember when I was a huge slacker and posted Polyvores of my work wardrobe almost every day? Now I actually have a job that gives me things to do, so I can't blog all day every day anymore! What a shock. There are still the odd days when I get dressed for work, look at myself in the mirror and think, "Damn girl, this outfit is KICK-ASS and deserves documentation in the form of a digital mock-up made from none of these actual wardrobe pieces." Luckily, we have Polyvore to do this for us, so check this awesome outfit out:

Obviously, the outfit I actually wore today is on the left--purple Gap cardigan, black scarf passed from my mother's closet to mine, black wool pencil skirt from J. Crew (on sale, heck yeah), slate grey tights, plain black pumps, and the piece de resistance, my new Rayya peacock hair clip from Charlotte Kruse. I sashayed out of the house feeling like a cabaret super rockstar bombshell, and arrived at work to cries of, "KAREN, WHAT IS THAT ON YOUR HEAD?"

Apparently the world is not ready for fabulous feathered fascinators and hairclips outside of indie gift markets. So, I considered what I would wear if I were actually a cabaret superstar a la Jane Avril or our not-so-secret imaginary best friend Dita von Teese. You can see the results--wiggle dresses, backseam stockings, embellished shoes for impromptu dance breaks a la A Band Aparte:

Is it weird to try to incorporate more theatricality and romance into your professional wardrobe? Could I do more without going completely overboard, all-out Anthrologie, liquid liner and feathered lashes every day, crazy super-vintage? Jeanne and I have been discussing how boring/bored we are with the current state of our wardrobes and how to inject some excitement. I think sticking to the basics we already have with a little investment or rediscovery of our more outlandish accessories could be a good kick in the pants, but sometimes a girl just needs a great big style overhaul.

I love the backseam tights, the lace, the drama, the tiny top hats, the sexy hip-swinging stride that my imaginary "cabaret style" above explores, but is it TOO costume-y? My default for professional outfits is turning towards the dress+tights+trench phase that marks me as a mid-twenty-something looking to expand her social life outside of checking her Blackberry for urgent work demands. I want to expand and explore my wardrobe for its theatricality and romance potential, not boredom and default fashion! I was so proud of my admittedly meager styling skills today and now look what's happened--I want to explode my closet with the sexy a la Miss Dita, who doesn't?

Holiday Gift Guide 2009: Last Minute Gifts!

Yes, as always, I am leaving the Last Minute Gift Guide until the last minute. (Really, I'm just procrastinating packing/cleaning now.)

I spent most of Sunday at the Renegade Craft Fair with Karen and my mom, who had never been to one of these Hip New Indie Craft Fairs, and she enjoyed it very much. Unfortunately for me, I've been in a weird "I don't want to buy anything, meh" funk the past couple of weeks, which means I didn't find anything at Renegade or at Bazaar Bizarre the week before. That's not to say that there wasn't awesome stuff at either place -- of course there was, and lots of it -- there was just so much that I couldn't find anything that really jumped out at me as a Must Have for anyone on my list.

I pushed myself through it Sunday evening (post-Renegade) and finished buying the presents I needed to buy in under two hours of dashing through the mall (including a detour to look/sigh at the Chanel spring collection, which I will totally be back for), but still. I cut it close this year.

If you're still in danger of cutting it too close, and if you're still looking for some ideas, I've (finally) got some ideas!

- If you're stuck at the computer and have absolutely no time to get out to the stores, there are plenty of websites, both small and big, that will send e-gift cards, and I've broken them into categories below. (All the links go straight to the gift certificate page -- you're welcome!):

Bath and Beauty

Bliss (good for either spa treatments or products!)

Fashion and Accessories

Dogeared Jewelry
Alice and Isa

Books and Miscellany

Powells (FYI: if you're sending an e-gift card, you have to sign up for a Powells.com account to purchase one. Your call if you want to or not; just giving you a heads up!)
Wicked Skatewear
Sin City Skates

- Don't forget to give experiences: for our holiday gift to each other, my roommate and I are going to split a bottle of wine and draft out a spring road trip up to Oregon (where we will kidnap Kati). Go to a nice local restaurant and purchase a gift certificate; I just redeemed one from (ahem) two Christmases ago. Tickets to events like sports, concerts, the ballet, etc., are also always a good idea.

- If you need stocking stuffers, your local Target or drugstore will have lots of little goodies. Walgreens has Sinful nail polish for $1.99 a bottle in a wide range of colors; I've spotted Essie and Seche Vite at Target and Bed Bath and Beyond. To finish off the nail goodies, pick up a cuticle oil pen (Sally Hansen makes one that's pretty nice), a tin of Burt's Bees lemon cuticle balm, or a nail file at the drugstore. Burt's Bees and Kiss My Lips both make tinted lip balms that are moisturizing and add color, and are easy and affordable.

- If you're honestly and truly stuck, I've always thought it would be nice to help set up an RSS reader for someone who doesn't know how -- if they love to cook, for example, you can spend time putting together a one-stop place for food blogs. You can both find good blogs together, and then they have something they'll use all of the time. If you need some jumping off points, we have all three of our blogrolls here. (We use Bloglines, but a lot of people love Google Reader!)

Have you finished all of your gift shopping? Or are you facing a last-minute excursion? (Good luck to you, if you are!)

image from blissworld.com

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide 2009: Media Madness!

I will admit: I am completely stuck on what to get most of the people on my list. Half is taken care of, and half I'm pretty much in the dark. Hoo boy. And so it's time to shuffle through the media list...

Just a reminder -- most of these links are Amazon affiliate links, so if you do choose to go through Amazon and make purchases through these links, we'll receive a small commission. That said, don't forget that most of your local places-to-buy-DVDs-and-CDs will likely have these too, may gift-wrap for you (hooray! I am not a fan of having to wrap stuff myself!), and will also gladly take your money. Plus then you don't have to deal with shipping stress if you buy local. It's totes your call, of course.


It looks like I'm having a very New York-based DVD theme here, but that's totally coincidental. I can't help that some very awesome shows take place in New York!

- Of course, the first on my list is Gossip Girl: The Complete Seasons 1 & 2. I still don't have Season 2 on DVD yet, and since GG is on winter hiatus until, like, March, now is a good time to hunker down and refresh yourself on seasons one and two.

- Another blog favorite (and another "gah, I am missing season two") is Mad Men, both Season One and Season Two.

- So maybe you want something a little shorter and sweeter and brilliantly funny? Then there's always 30 Rock: Seasons 1-3. (If you are a Mad Men fan, then remember: Jon Hamm appears in Season Three. Boy howdy!)

- Last year I recommended Flight of the Conchords, and so I am following that up by recommending Flight of the Conchords: Season 2. Unfortunately, the boys have announced that Season Two is the final FotC season for sure. Aw. We still love you.


I do think it's harder to pick out music for people, and so instead of making recommendations, I just have the albums that I've been digging in '09.

- While I haven't officially heard everything on Lady GaGa's The Fame Monster , I don't think anyone can argue that the original The Fame is pretty brilliant. Add in "Bad Romance", which refuses to get out of my head ever, and you're already golden.

- One of the albums that I will listen to straight-through without flipping around or skipping anything, is the Kills' Midnight Boom. Shout when you wanna get off the ride.

- Karen and Kati will laugh at me for my late boarding of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs train, but I am digging It's Blitz!. I cannot help it that I am not as versed in the ways of modern music as you guys.

- If you hadn't already guessed, we're all Glee fans here (of course we are). It shouldn't be a shock, due to the musical geek not so hidden inside of me, plus the obvious adoration we have for Jane Lynch. And so, I suggest Glee: The Music, Volume 1 and Volume 2 for indulging your inner Gleek, naturally. Go ahead, sing it out!

- While I said I wouldn't make recommendations, I have to make an exception for Pink Martini. If you can't figure out what to get your suave hipster guy friend, your tres chic would-be Parisienne friend, or your mom, Pink Martini's "Sympathique" is 100% classic and awesome. (For that hipster friend, it also comes in vinyl.) It's perfect for cocktail parties, for road trips, for vacuuming the house. I haven't picked up their newest album, "Splendor in the Grass", yet, but what I heard when I saw them this fall was excellent. Definitely "Sympathique" and "Hang On Little Tomato" should be on your radar, at the very least.

What's on your shopping list? Who's still on your shopping list?

image from pinkmartini.com
This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide 2009: Accessories and Bling


Looking for some pretty shiny things to tuck into a little bag for your friends (or for yourself)? I know I have some jewelry coming my way, in that I picked out a piece or two I liked and that it will eventually find its way to me as a present. (That's how I got my full-sized L'Artisan perfume last year, too.) Still, can't say I don't love surprises!

Wendy Brandes for Francis Swear Rings- Ever have one of those days where you just want to say F@#! ? Wendy B. hears you with her legendary Wendy Brandes for Francis swear rings. (She also makes the convincing argument on her own blog, of course.) Or if you're a little bit more demure in your demeanor, there's the genteel but still sassy bowtie ring, also a Wendy Brandes for Francis piece. Still, you could buy your sailor-mouthed friend (you know you have one, and it is probably me) the cussin' rings. Just saying.

- Lately I've been going crazy for very small stud earrings; I have this paranoid fear of ripping my earlobes out by wearing heavy earrings. (I know, crazy, right? BUT IT HAPPENS.) Anyway, I've been wearing my pair of Dogeared Jewelry teeny tinies for... I want to say a few weeks now. I have the little Fearless skulls, to inspire myself to be, well, fearless. Roar. I also love the tiny anchors for Strength, too (plus they are tiny anchors, which is adorable and naughty-nautical).

- I also love the tiny alpha studs from Catbird NYC to itty bitty font-nerdy pieces. I want them so badly, I can't even tell you. They're just too rad. I don't even know what letters I want, I just know that I want them. (Updated with the correct link!)

- These lobelia bud earrings from Anthropologie remind me of the big rhinestone clip-on earrings I used to have in my dress-up jewelry box -- the screw-on kind. Ouch! But still, I love that aesthetic.

- I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that yellowgoat.etsy.com has gorgeous jewelry pieces, including a dapper gentleman shirt bangle (hey, wear it with the bow tie ring!) and the amazing taking off earrings. The bad news is that, as she's based in Hong Kong, she can no longer guarantee that items ordered to ship to the US can make it to you by Christmas. But that's okay -- presents are awesome at any time, right?


A few years ago, I was in Japan with my grandmother and her youngest sister, my great-aunt Akemi. We were on an otherwise lame and embarrassing bus tour (embarrassing in that I was the youngest and only non-Japanese person on the bus), when we stopped for an afternoon at a local mountain plum festival. The path wound up the mountain, with stands manned by the community selling locally grown tea, snacks, and crafts. Besides the vats of umeboshi and dried salted plums, a stand with hand-dyed silk and felted wool scarves caught my eye. I bought one of those shorter pull-through scarves with the hole in it and I still wear it today, I still love it and get compliments on it. Since then, I always get and give scarves as gifts, handmade or otherwise! You know you know someone who either needs to wear more scarves in the winter (men!) or always knows how to accessorize beautifully with one (you and your lady-friends!). Like these:

-The value-added Nuno felted scarf from Moscow-based Etsy seller JaneBoFelt comes with rose brooch in grey. I love how you can wear these shorter scarves in various ways and mix up your winter jackets or coats with a faux-collar effect.

-According to my preliminary research on Etsy, these short felted/brooched scarves are popular overseas right now. I love how handcrafted and super high-fashion the Morning Clouds scarf is! So elegant!

-For a smaller gift for the fashion-forward person in your life, Pixie Market has this fabulously pricy oversized leather prize-winner ribbon brooch. I love the racks of "I'M A WINNER" shiny ribbons at the party store, plus they are hilarious/great on blazers in lieu of your regular brooch. Your favorite mustache aficionado might like this mustache prize ribbon, which is flipping awesome. Personalized prize ribbons are fairly easy to make--I made some last year for my mother, she loved it--with some ribbon, buttons, and fabric scraps!

-I recently treated myself to a new work tote/laptop satchel to save myself from having to carry my work laptop bag plus my purse. Now, I have only one bag to lug back and forth to the office every day. Everyone can use a great leather bag, because everyone always has to carry around just too much crap every day. We have a secret love for the professorial/schoolgirl aesthetic, so this black peccary grain leather messenger is appealing right now.

images from wendybrandes.com and yellowgoat.etsy.com

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide 2009: Bath and Beauty

Even though I do consider myself a beauty blogger, I find it can be difficult to pick out beauty-related presents for other people.

There are four people I'd say I've had good luck with: Kati, Karen, L., and my mom. Kati and Karen are fairly easy to buy for, and I've done pretty well by them in my little gifties. I gave L. Viva Glam V and VI a few years back, and I've had success buying Bare Minerals color kits for my mom, as well as a full-sized bottle of Jo Malone Blue Agave and Cacao cologne from the (dearly departed and much missed) Gloss.com. That's not even to mention the times my mom and I have teamed up and bestowed Jeanne-and-Mom-approved cologne onto my brother at Christmas. (He is probably the only twenty-something boy with Hermes and L'Artisan in his bathroom cabinet. We've done the girls in his life a huge favor.)

That said, I've had success with people I know in real life -- it's always a little harder to put together a gift guide for the Invisible Internet People out there, with their own likes and dislikes and favorite scents or refusal to wear scents. And again, unless you know someone really well, dropping a perfume or a lovely batch of bath and beauty products into their laps could be met with a "so, you think I smell bad?". Gift-giving is hard! Be nice to me! But these are some pretty rad things I've got here this year...

CB I Hate Perfume Gingerbread- First off, the 2009 CB I Hate Perfume Gingerbread is out! I have the 2 mL of the 2008 Gingerbread, which is probably one of my most favorite scents ever (it is, in fact, my jam.) It's only made once a year, and only available through December. If you want the 2 mL, it's available at cbihateperfume.com for $15, as well as the larger sizes for $75. Well worth it.

- But maybe you'd rather have a variety of small perfumes. I am a huge fan of the decants you can purchase from The Perfumed Court or The Posh Peasant. All of my experiences have been lovely, and the variety is stunning. You can search by note, by fragrance house, whatever you like. Lots of good stuff and at great prices. I am terrible at picking up either "big" samples (like Elixir des Merveilles -- I bought a decant without trying a sample first, and I love it) or "small" bottles (am I really going to need a big bottle of Shalimar? no, so a little decant will do).

- For glittery stocking stuffers, the Wizard of Ooh Ahz collection from China Glaze has returned! Not only does it have the classic Ruby Pumps, which is a fantastic holiday (or any day, really) pedicure, but lots of other sparkly colors. I'm very tempted by "Dorothy Who?" (blue!), "C-C-Courage" (purple!), and "Good Witch?" (pink!). All of them can be purchased at Head2ToeBeauty.com.

- While it's always hard to pick out make-up colors for others, I don't think you can go wrong with the NARS The Multiple Coffret at Sephora. It's three of the rockstar NARS Multiples -- Orgasm, Copacabana, and South Beach -- which are all fab colors. I know I have Orgasm (great for cheekbone highlighting) and Copacabana (great for cheeks and also brow highlight), and I believe Karen has South Beach, so we are already fans.

Tsumori Chisato for Shu Uemura- Shu Uemura and Tsumori Chisato (that's very odd to write, since technically it's "Uemura Shu and Tsumori Chisato" or "Shu Uemura and Chisato Tsumori") have collaborated on a gorgeous holiday collection featuring Tsumori's Lucky Cat illustrations and what look like universally-flattering palettes and lipsticks. I'm dying to get my, uh, paws on some of these pieces, especially the lipstick...

- It's holiday time at Lush, which means it's time for Snow Fairy! I know some Lushies wait for this time all year. There's shower gels, bath melts, solid perfumes, and gift sets available in this sweet pink limited edition concoction.

- Speaking of limited edition, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has released its Yule scents at their Limited Edition page. Or, if you have a Neil Gaiman fan on your shopping list, BPAL also offers scents inspired by Neil Gaiman's works, including Good Omens, the Newbury-winning Graveyard Book, and Stardust, with all proceeds going to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. But hurry -- BPAL has announced that you must order by midnight PST on Monday the 7th in order to get your scents in time for Christmas.

- Finally, here's a little something from one of my most favorite people on Twitter, Dita Von Teese. She's super-sweet and friendly, helping fans with pronounciations ("Loo-boo-tahn") and lipstick/foundation recommendations (MAC Russian Red, L'Oreal True Match in N1) as well as sharing her beauty secrets and favorites (her favorite fast food? In'n'Out Burger). And so when she tweeted that she has her own haircare line, I had to include it! After all, we do love her hair.

images from luckyscent.com and sephora.com

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide 2009: Supporting Crafters and Other Good Deeds


I've mentioned before that I'm a knitter, and this year my mom asked me if I wanted any knitty things. Well, no, not really, I have a lot (probably too much, considering how little I knit now), but I got to thinking -- if you're thinking about buying gifts for a crafter, what do you get them? While my expertise is in knitting and most of my suggestions are gifts for knitters and fiber-y types, you can apply the basic ideas below to any DIY type.

- My first gift choice? Books! There are always great how-to books for any skill, be it knitting, scrapbooking, crocheting... the sky's the limit. Some of the knitting books that I'd recommend for any level are Scarf Style, which has a great variety of scarves, and the all-mighty Knitters Book of Finishing Techniques. That book will save your knitter a ton of heartache and teach a lot of important skills. (I actually asked for it, and got it, a few years ago, and it's still teaching me new things.) If I had to pick one knitting book that I'd want this year, though, it would definitely be Knockdown Knits, the roller derby knitting book. I totally could use a Jammer beanie while I'm ducking and dodging through commuters this winter...

- Knitters love yarn and needles and other goodies, yes. But if you're completely in the dark about what your knitter prefers (double-points? circulars? worsted? sockweight? cobweb? merino? tencel? bamboo? turbo?), you really can't go wrong with a yarn store gift certificate. kpixie.com is one great online yarn store, with a lot of cute knitting kits, as well as a variety of gift certificate options available. That said, I highly encourage you to check out your local yarn stores -- they may already know your knitter's likes and needs! Plus, there's no replacement for getting to feel the yarn in person... If you need some help finding a shop near you, Knitmap.com is a directory of yarn stores, and even has an iPhone app for the knitter in need of yarn or needles far away from the LYS (Local Yarn Store).

- Even if you're not sure what yarn or needles to buy, you can be assured that your knitter needs something to put said yarn and needles in, especially for carrying around to KIP (Knit in Public).

A quick search on Etsy for "knitting needle roll" brings up lots and lots of options, and I found some cute ones! This black and white double-pointed needle organizer from knitonebeadtwo.etsy.com keeps those tricky needles in place -- I can't tell you how many multiple sets I've bought because one of the five has gone a-wandering. lenabrowndesigns.etsy.com has many options for needle rolls, including this 30 pocket (whoa) needle holder -- it also doubles as a paint (or make-up!!) brush roll for any painters or make-up artists on your list. And if you want a coordinating set, the knitting needle traveler and DPN Manager from thesilverpumpkin.etsy.com come in a sweet matching bird print.

And to carry around the yarn and needles... well, anything can be a knitting tote, technically, but there are bags designed with knitters in mind! I love the Scoot Scoot tote from roseknits.etsy.com -- you think I could fit my make-up in there? Maybe not all of it, but at least my travel stuff...
If you want to keep a big project in one place, the large knit project bag from yarnplaycafe.etsy.com will keep it tidy and adorable. For truly serious knitting, the knitting bag with yarn dispenser from debdonnellydesigns.etsy.com keeps yarn contained and organized -- many a knitter has dealt with a major yarn barf at least once.

Plus, when you buy off of Etsy, you're supporting an independent artist and handmade work, which will always make your crafter happy, too. It's amazing what you can find; I only scratched the surface for knitting goods!

- If you honestly and truly are really stuck, and your knitter has everything ever made for knitting ever and really doesn't need anything else ever and is begging you to "please don't give me any more yarn, I don't need any more", give your knitter a share or a whole Knitting Basket from Heifer International. This gift provides four wool-producing animals -- two sheep and two llama -- to be raised for their wool to be turned into not just yarn and knitted/woven goods, but income and hope.

- Finally, if you've got a crafter on your list, odds are that YOU'LL be getting something handmade back. And if you do, the best gift you can give your crafter is to appreciate it fully and truly. For real.


I am an aspiring crafter, as in, I always start project or have great ideas and never complete them. It's a common problem. My favorite part of the Japanese bookstore outside of the fashion magazines is always the new craft books section, where they always have THE CUTEST IDEAS EVER. I've always liked getting books as presents, they are always useful and not so invasive as more personal gifts like jewelry or clothing.

- Amazon can provide your lucky giftee with a whole package of Japanese-style craft books, all part of the Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts! series. There is Amigurumi, Woolly Embroidery (too cute!), Lacy Crochet, and Lacy Crochet that are so cute I could just eat them up. I saw a Japanese book of Scandinavian felt crafts at Fancy Tiger Craft in Denver earlier this year, Etsy seller FeltCafe has a copy for sale if you are as completely enraptured by that combination of greatness as I am!

- Although I may not be pumping out the craft projects myself, I do always recommend those looking for philanthropic causes to donate to check out our locally founded Kiva.org, where you can find small business owners in developing countries who need microloans. Many of these entrepreneurs are women working on collectives, on clothing, crafts, and cottage industries. The great thing about funding microloans through Kiva is that you get a 100% return on your money at the end of the loan cycle. I recommended Kiva to my father, who in turn took the proposal to his company for a company-wide microfinance program through the website, and now he maintains a whole portfolio of charitable loans he's cycled through for over a year, with 100% returns!

- Another resource that benefits crafty entrepreneurs is Global Girlfriend, an online shop with profiles of the craftswomen. Each item benefits the specific collective or group of women, be they victims of domestic violence, sex trafficking. Talk about value added! Who wants a random thing from the mall when you can say your tote bag (I like the funky recycled plastic market totes!) is helping women living in poverty in India?

images from amazon.com and roseknits.etsy.com

This post features Amazon affiliate links.

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