Blog Sisters + Party Ducks

My sister only pretends to have a real job. She goes to an office every day and she has a desk with a phone and a stapler, but the only thing I’ve ever actually seen her do at said job is this:

Uhhh, that’s a pretty sweet job. And now she has a blog to chronicle all her masterpieces! My favorites? The international series and, of course, my birthday hippo. Check out the rest at Party Duck!

In other news: I’m all set up in the tiny cottage with internet, and a certain someone has finally made it to California. More posts to come once things settle down…

All images courtesy of Sarah Schachte (with help from Louis).

A Bit of Sparkle

I have a problem. I’ve been engaged for over a year, but I can’t stop looking at engagement rings. Don’t get me wrong, I have the most beautiful ring in the history of rings and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But I almost feel like I need to check every once in awhile to make sure that mine is still the prettiest. It is. But still, who doesn’t like looking at a little bit of sparkle every once in awhile? Since I’m officially no longer in the market for a ring, I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you folks. Perhaps you’ll store some ideas away for a rainy day?

1) Custom Mociun: Mociun does beautiful custom rings. This one has coral, yellow sapphire, and moonstone. This bad boy is also lovely.

2) Erica Weiner Five Opal and Pearl Ring: Originally, The Boy and I wanted to get a custom ring that had both diamonds and opals, my favorite stone, but we ultimately decided against it. Opals aren’t quite as hard as diamonds, and I’m a major spaz, so we wanted to go for durability. But for someone else…

 3) Erie Basin Vintage Cluster Ring: SO MUCH SPARKLEZ. It’s like a mini constellation on your hand.

4) Vintage Sapphire Cluster: You know what’s awesome about this ring? It’s like a flower made out of sapphires and diamonds. Yeah.

5) Erstwhile Vintage Ring: Anyone got 9,000$ to spend? Incidentally, this one’s The Boy’s favorite.

The Boy and I picked out my ring together, which a lot of people think is tacky or lacking in romance. But we had so much fun doing it, and we have such different tastes that it was really necessary. Ultimately, we both ended up with a ring that we love, and I got two proposals out of the deal: one impromptu and ringless on a beach at 4 in the morning, and another on top of a mountain after we’d spent weeks hunting for the right ring and waiting for it to get resized in the middle of Hurricane Irene. Both proposals were heart-stopping and wonderful, and knowing they were coming did nothing to dampen that.

Incidentally, here’s a bit of fascinating history on the engagement ring.

The Purplest House Gift Guide! For the Big Brother

So far we’ve covered sisters big and small, and now it’s time to talk about my last sibling: the older brother. My older brother was the first to introduce me to Led Zeppelin and Lord of the Rings, which means I can credit him with at least two of the reasons why I’m cool. My brother and I bond over three things: books, booze, and food. He’s also pretty much the funniest person I know. He always has the most perfect, acerbic  witticisms that just bite people to the core. It’s not always fun to be on the receiving end, but I’m his least annoying sister so I’m usually in the clear.

1) Ice Sphere Molds: Because he’s a total whiskey snob. Pair with a bottle of his favorite to ensure the best sister ever prize.

2) Christmas Sweater: Cozy + cool.

3) Sight Gag Bookends: There were really so many good ones to choose from, like this. Or thisOr

4) Slate Coasters: For his brand new, grown up apartment.

5: The Genius of David Thorne: Because he’s the snarkiest jerk you know, and you love him for it.

5) A Cool Print: Because everyone needs a lovely home.

Follow me on Pinterest for more gift ideas!

The Purplest House Gift Guide! For Ma

Today’s guide focuses on the most important gift you’ll give this holiday season: the present for Mom. At my house, presents for Mom are a big deal, and rightfully so. My mom loves to give gifts. She’s never said as much, necessarily, but I can always tell how happy it makes her when I really love a present. My mom spends a lot of time and energy looking for cool and interesting gifts to give her kids. We always got the neatest presents as kids, and the same is true today. I think she deserves some pretty stellar gifts, herself.

1) Hedgehog Measuring Cups: If there is one thing my mother and I have in common, it’s a deep, abiding love for whimsical but useless objects. But I mean, come on. HEDGEHOGS. Who cares if they’re impractical?

2) Cupcake Candle Holder: Because her cupcakes are so good they need accessories.

3) Dessert Tour of Your Local City: My mom has such a sweet tooth, she would eat dessert for every meal if she could. Dessert tours are available in most major cities, and it would be such a fun and tasty way to spend the day together. Or you could even plan your own tour, with all your favorite stops.

4) A Mug From Your Favorite Book to Read Together: Because the greatest gift my mother ever gave me was an introduction to my favorite books. This mug features the royal crest from The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, one of the greatest under-appreciated children’s books of all time. The crest reads, “Peace, Love, and a Sense of Fun!”

5) A Handsome Print: Because everyone needs a lovely home (and this guy looks exactly like our dog).

Follow me on Pinterest for more gift ideas!

The Purplest House Gift Guide! For the Kid Brother

So I don’t exactly have a younger brother, but I do have a younger (almost) brother-in-law. He’s in his junior of college now, and double majoring in history and game design (which is just about the coolest combination ever). The Boy is good friends with his brother, which means that I am as well, and the three of us have a lot of fun together. It’s really nice to have someone around to gang up on The Boy with me. The future BIL and I bond over fantasy books, bad impressions of cockney accents, and (of course) merciless  mockery of his older brother. I love him because on the one hand he’s insightful as hell, but sometimes he can be a prickly little bastard. He and I love bickering and sniping at each other, all with great affection, of course.

 1) Lasercut Marble Machine: Hours of fascination, and it will fit on his dorm room desk!

2) Zombie Demon Fantasy Skull Gauntlet Hand Claw – I’m pretty sure the name is just a meaningless string of words, but that’s ok because this is the coolest thing ever.

3) Das Horn: This is a drinking horn. A drinking horn. What college-age brother DOESN’T need a drinking horn? He will be the coolest kid at school.

4) Kill Screen Subscription: A thoughtful quarterly on his favorite subject, for the future game designer.

5) A Beautiful Print: Because everyone needs a lovely home.

Follow me on Pinterest for more gift ideas!

The Purplest House Gift Guide! For Pops

These gifts are all for the most important man in your life: Dad. My dad, as you may remember, is awesome. He builds me things. He’s not afraid to tell me I’m stupid when I try to cure a cold with a spoonful of hot sauce (this actually happened, and he was right). And you know how most people walk through life feeling too embarrassed to say the important things to the people they love? That’s so not my dad. He’s always the first in line to tell me that he’s proud of me, that he loves me, that I’ve done good. So he deserves a pretty stand up gift, I’d say.

1) Oak Burger Planks: For the ultimate grill master.

2) Pickle-of-the-Month Subscription: What’s better than Olivebox? Getting pickles in the mail every month. Or you could go the jerky route; either way, you can’t lose. This one works best if you live within driving distance of your dad, so you can sample all the treats.

3) Automoblox: As a kid, my dad loved to put together model cars. He once told me that this was the genesis of his career as a film editor: putting small pieces together to tell a complete story. These cool cars mix the old with the new, and this set comes with three different models and universal parts, so he can devise his own creations.

4) Concert Tickets: My dad and I have a running deal: I will go see Bruce Springsteen with him, if he will come to a Furthur show with me. Shared moments are so much more meaningful than objects. A gift like this tells your dad that you want to let him in on part of your life, and show him a little bit of who you are as an adult. Doesn’t get much better than that. (Photo by Dylan Carney, courtesy of Furthur)

5) A Beautiful Print: Because everyone needs a lovely home.

See more gift ideas on my Pinterest!

The Purplest House Gift Guide! For the Baby Sis

We’ve already talked about the big sister, so today’s gift guide is for your younger sis. My baby sister and I have always been really close. She’s a lot like me, if I were quiet, sweet-tempered, and made friends easily. So basically she’s nothing like me… but that hasn’t stopped us from being friends.

My favorite thing about my little sister is her sensitivity. That’s not always a good thing for her. She gets hurt easily, and I always feel like I need to protect her. But I’ve never known anyone filled with so much love and compassion for others. Right now she’s off at school learning how to be a social worker, and the downside to that is I don’t get to see her or talk to her as often as I’d like. Next year she’s moving out of the dorm and into her very first apartment, so these gifts are all about building a bright, cheerful home, where she can can look around at all her pretty things, and know I’m always looking out for her.

1) Mini Succulent Planters: Because every house needs some green, and succulents are *nearly* impossible to kill.

2) Tissue Tassel Garland: How could you not wake up in a good mood every day with this festive beauty hanging above your bed?

3) Harry-Inspired Notebook: Because in your mind’s eye, she’s still twelve years old and dressing up for the midnight release party.

4) Chevron Vanity Tray: So she can get ready each morning in style.

5) Where the Wild Things Are Mobile: So she can have a wild rumpus every day.

6) A Beautiful Print: Because everyone needs a lovely home.

Check out my Pinterest for more gift inspirations!

The Purplest House Gift Guide! For the Refined Dude

Today’s gift guide focuses on that gentleman who really appreciates the finer things in life. His interests run to good food, good drinks, beautiful furniture, and beautiful women. Paul was my roommate for the better part of last year, and he holds a really special place in my heart. He’s one of the most thoughtful people I know, and he always knows how to have fun. He can make friends with anyone he meets, and he brews a darn fine cup of coffee. He’s a true romantic spirit in the best possible way. He believes in the grand gesture, and in the power of small perfect moments. He surrounds himself only with objects of value; he’s the kind of person who would rather go without than buy something cheap and poorly made. I’m so glad that The Boy has such a good friend, not least because now Paul is a part of my life, too.

1) Camano Coffee Mill – Because, much like Agent Dale Cooper, he understands the magic of a perfectly brewed cup of coffee.

2) Enamelware Mugs: Paul is continually breaking mugs and glasses; he just doesn’t know his own strength! These steel enamelware mugs are stylish and sturdy enough to withstand his he-man grip.

3) Handbound Leather Notebook: For all his musings and grand ideas.

4) Grow Your Own Mushroom Kit: Because he’d always rather make his own than buy something, and now he can extend that to his food. Plus mushrooms are fascinating and delicious.

5) Grooming Supplies: Because he always needs to look his best.

6) A Beautiful Print: Because everyone needs a lovely home.

Check out more of my gift ideas on my Pinterest!

The Purplest House Gift Guide! For the Best Friend: Part Two

I mentioned in the first gift guide that I have three best friends, and today I’d like to talk about another one. Maggie has known me since I was fourteen years old, and she loved me so much that she followed me to college. We’ve known each other through all our most embarrassing decisions and fashion choices. I can’t get rid of her now, because if I ever get famous, this girl has the dirt for the tell-all. So this gift guide is dedicated to Maggie: the friend with the great job, great taste, and great advice. She bakes, she hosts dinner parties, she works a million hours a week and she’s always available to talk you down when you want to shoot your boyfriend in the kneecaps.

1) Picasso Cats Scarf: I once promised Maggie the most hideous cats sweater for her birthday. It had tiny ceramic cat figurines sewn on it. We’ve never been able to find it since, but I think this Leah Goren scarf is way better.

2) Glass Pyramid Display Box: Because she owns more baubles, doodads, and jewelry than anyone you know, and they deserve to be displayed.

3) Vintage Crystal Decanter: So she can start her grown up bar collection.

4) An Olivebox Subscription: The papercraft gift that keeps on giving!

5) A Beautiful Print: Because everyone needs a lovely home.

Check out more gift ideas on my Pinterest!

The Purplest House Gift Guide! For the Big Sis

Today’s gift guide is all about your older sister. All my life, my big sister was classy, pulled together, poised, and I was… not. She had neater handwriting and straighter hair. She was more photogenic, and (unlike me) she never chipped her manicure before she even left the nail salon. When I was a kid, we were bitter rivals. Today, we live in the same city and we’re good friends. I love her because she has impeccable taste and she always thinks of the wittiest comebacks.  But sometimes, just because she’s my big sister, I still want to kick her in the shins.

1) Gold Bar Necklace: Because she loves shiny, sparkly things.

2) Gold-trimmed Champagne Coupes: Because champagne is the only drink she actually likes, and you can’t make a champagne pyramid with flutes.

3) Chic Stationary: So little miss manners can send her thank you notes in style. Or, you could go with this alternative

4) Oversized Narwhal Pillow: Because no matter how pulled together she looks, she’s still a big goof sometimes.

5) A Cute Print: Because everyone needs a lovely home.

Check out all of my gift inspirations on my Pinterest!