ALL POSTS IN Shopping

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When Blu Dot was first starting out, they got their logo design in exchange for building a custom treehouse. So you might say that the company was founded on an ethos of swapping. Which is lucky for the rest of us, because BluDot is having another virtual Swap Meet, starting today!

swap meet logo

The poster states “All reasonable trades considered,” and they’re not kidding. They’re seeking talents, devices, oddities, tasks, taxidermy, collections, crafts and whatnot in exchange for their gorgeous modern chairs, sofas, lamps and more. Last year there were tons of artistic and eccentric bids accepted, like a spork collection and a secret handshake. It’s got me wondering if I can parlay something like my grandmother’s treasured green chili recipe into that Lily Pad Coffee Table I had my eye on!

five swaps on bludot swap meet

How about you? What would you trade for some Blu Dot goodies?

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Everything’s coming up Seuss! Today is the 108th birthday anniversary of Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss), and also marks Read Across America Day and the opening of the 3D-CG Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax movie in theaters. Do you like Seuss in a book? Would you like it as a look?* Check out this sweet Seuss suite from the Loews Portofino Bay hotel in Orlando.

Though my Internet research hints that these rooms may have been converted to other family-fun themes recently, you can carry Seuss style into your own kids’ room with a few simple elements. Start with a color scheme of crisp white accented by bold primary colors, as in these Seuss-like designs. Feeling artsy? You can try painting the classic characters on the walls, but no one would blame you if you went with these easy Dr. Seuss decals instead. Whimsical furniture that’s just a little off-balance is a must. Top it all off with super-cute Seuss bedding and accessories, and your kids will feel as though they’ve stepped into the pages of their favorite book.

*(I’m sorry, but it’s mandatory that all references to Dr. Seuss contain some Green Eggs and Ham rhyming.)

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A good thrift store becomes a great thrift store when you can maximize your spending power. Discount days are perfect for getting more bang for your buck.

Some stores run daily or weekly sales. Often times, sale items are identified by color tags. I find it difficult to keep up with the ever changing sale days and colors, so I have a notebook to write down which days have which colors and what percentage off I can expect.
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We’ve done a lot of work on our apartment recently, but one area that regrettably remains untouched are the closets. And they are a horror show. (When I say I have skeletons in my closet, I mean literally — the Martha Stewart skeletons that I use as Halloween decor keep falling out of my hall closet when I open it. And don’t get me started on the nightmare that’s barely containing my wardrobe.) So, when I spotted this “closet” in the Australian retail store Green With Envy, that is what I turned.

david hicks closet

Designer David Hicks (not that David Hicks, this David Hicks) gave this dressing room area all the touches I’d dream of if I had a walk-in closet of my own: Art Deco lines, a sophisticated-yet-decidedly-feminine color scheme, a dramatic display rack of clothes and comfortable seating. Shopping usually feels like a bit of a chore to me, but I’d try on tons of togs if it meant spending time here.

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So, The Twelve Days of Christmas actually start ON Christmas Day (or at least that’s what Wikipedia tells me), but I’m gonna try something a little different here and kinda do a countdown with the famous carol leading up to Christmas. And in keeping with my own interpretation of the chronology, I’m also going to get a bit less-than-literal with the gift recommendations. Starting with this whole “partridge in a pear tree” affair.

partridge pear tree

I think a pear tree sounds lovely (mmm, pear tarts!) and partridge a bit less so, but honestly, not many people have room for either these days. That’s why I think these cool retro brass partridge figurines and Jonathan Adler graphic pear pillow make a pleasant alternative. If my true love showed up with these, I wouldn’t regift them, is what I’m trying to say.

 

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I haven’t even started thinking about doing my holiday gift shopping yet, but I’m not worried because along with our own excellent gift guide on HGTV.com, I’ve got an ace up my sleeve. That ace is called Svpply. If you’re not already familiar with it, think of Svpply like Pinterest, but for products. It’s tempting to call it a “social shopping site,” although I think the better way to describe it is a “retail bookmarking and recommendations” site with a clean, minimalistic design. You create an account, and drag the “Buy Later” bookmarklet into your browser’s toolbar. Now when you search the shopping sites you love and spot something you want to remember, you can click the “Buy Later” button, briefly describe the item, and it gets clipped and saved to your Svpply.

svpply

This is handy enough, but there’s also a social element. You can follow friends, stores, or even strangers with great taste, to see which products they’ve added to their accounts. Not to mention that there are features that allow you to see the trending products across the site and Svpply’s own Editor’s Pick. Best of all for this time of year are the gift guides, broken down by price point and type of product, and the new ability to make a set of items (like a Pinboard) — say, “In-Law Gift Ideas” — and either keep the set private (good if the people you’re shopping for are also on Svpply) or mark it public to share with other users (like I plan to do with my own wish list, hint hint). Svpply’s always been handy for my Daily Delight design spotting, but I think it might just make me the best Secret Santa of all time.

Are you on Svpply, or are you planning to join? If so, leave your user name in the comments! Happy gift hunting, all.

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It’s party season! If you are planning on attending holiday parties this year, be sure not to show up empty handed. I’ve compiled 10 Fabulous Gift Ideas for the Hostess to share with you. These are easy to find, easy to order or just might inspire you to find something similar. Let’s start with edible gifts. Sweets and treats are abundant this time of year and they are especially great when they come with pretty packaging. Baking yourself? Buy cute plates like the elf one and present your goodies on the plate.

english toffee cratehot chocolatejingle elf platescaramel peanut bark

I always love personalized gifts! Think ahead and order monogrammed gifts for any upcoming events you are attending. The monogrammed mugs can be filled with candy, treats or a gift card and wrapped with cellophane and ribbon for a perfect hostess gift.

emma mugfern in burlapmonogrammed soap

Delight your hostess with scented candles or body products. She’ll need the stress relief once the party is over!

parties for hosting, holiday candlesstress relief

What do you usually bring when you attend a holiday party? Tell me in the comments below! I would love to hear your ideas.

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While I sometimes enjoy thrifting alone, going with a friend can be a whole lot better.

'i <3 thrifting" day 2011

Shopping with a buddy gives you an opportunity to get a second opinion right on the spot about an item.

What’s I Heart Thrifting Day?

Of course, this will only work if you value that person’s opinion, so make sure your friend is one you trust. You need someone who can even be truthful and let you know when you don’t need something, too.

"i <3 thrifting" day 2011

Small groups are an excellent way to cover more ground a a very large flea market. Put together a list of what everyone is seeking and you can easily text or send a quick picture if you find something on the list.

"i <3 thrifting" day 2011

How great is it to smile with a friend about one of your awesome scores or share thoughts on the seller whose prices were sky high?

So what are your perks for having a thrifting buddy or group?

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When I was growing up, my family always used to ask me for my Christmas wish list about a month in advance, and it would be a whole big production. This year, I think I’m going to save everyone the trouble and send them a link to Zinc Door. Done and done. I’ve always admired Wendy Estes and Tiffany Harris’ other site, the more traditional Layla Grace, but you know when you look at a certain catalog or walk into a certain store and think, “Oh, these people just get me”? Zinc Door is like that. The vibe is modern, eclectic, fun and still sophisticated at the same time. (It’s got echoes of Kelly Wearstler, if I do say so myself.) Case in point? This Branch Cabinet.

branch cabinet

It’s industrial, yet organic at the same time. I’m a total sucker for anything tree-related (a product of being from Pennsylvania?), but the aluminum branches are not just decorative. How clever that they’ve been incorporated into the design as the media cabinet’s legs! This is a little much to expect Santa to leave for me, but really, I’ll take anything from Zinc Door. I just hope the elves are listening.

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Guys, I meant to tell you about Michelle Armas‘s energetic abstract paintings a long time ago, when I first was tipped off to their existence by Cassandra LaValle of Coco + Kelley, I really did. But I’m a little selfish. Her paintings always seem to sell very quickly, and I didn’t want my favorite pieces to be snatched up before I had a chance to consider them. I apologize for withholding information. To make amends, I’ll give you this hot tip: Michelle’s got a new Etsy store.

droid painting

Okay, I’m still protecting my best interests. This wild riot of color and motion (“Droid”) is one of my favorite $100 paintings on her Etsy page, but not my absolute favorite. I hope you don’t guess which one I’m crushing on before I buy it, or I’ll be crushed.

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