Where the Wild Rose Grows

Welcome to the Winter of My Discontent (with links!)(and updated seventy times!)

It is Saturday, two days after a Thanksgiving where the primary cooks were supposed to be my cousin Bridge and myself, but which naturally turned into my mother pretty much doing everything, while giving us “important,” non-cooky jobs like, “wash the potatoes” and “turn on the oven and stand over there.” The meal was excellent, though, and the fact that I did not actually perform the bulk of the cooking does not prevent me from taking full credit.

“I cooked Thanksgiving dinner,” I am telling everyone. “I made that.”

But I lie.

I hope all of y’all who celebrate the holiday enjoyed your own; I hope that you all ended up spending the late night at someone’s house (read: mine) listening to the menfolk play the guitar while the women stared, fascinated, at a surfing movie El Dukay stuck in the DVD player.

Dukay has this…I guess we can call it a “belief” about surfing DVDs. He thinks that, no matter what the gathering, no matter what kind of music we’re playing or food we’re serving, a surfing movie must be playing on the television set. On mute.

Dukay believes this creates “ambiance.” I believe it is weird, but I am, apparently, in the minority, because anytime ANYone comes over, they are immediately sucked onto the sofa, where they stare, transfixed, at a bunch of criminally tanned men doing half pipes or whatever the hell all over my television screen.

Seriously! Come over, you will see this. Dukay keeps the movies on rotation. He is not kidding you with the surfing movies. It would even lead one to believe that one of us had ever actually…surfed. In reality, we have not. In reality, surfing scares me slap to death. I can hardly even swim. And aren’t surfers the ones who are always being eaten by the sharks? YES THEY ARE. And don’t sharks already kind of…like me? YES THEY DO.

But, um, anyway. That is neither here nor there, and has absolutely nothing to do with this entry. This entry is not about how Dukay and I met (he swears he’s working on it), nor does it include pictures of the dogs (I swear I’m working on it). It is a whole nother thing entirely.

See, now that Thanksgiving is over, it is, of course, time for the shopping. This year, I decided I would get an early start, and try to have all of my shopping done before Monday. This is funny. This is funny for very many reasons, but possibly mostly so because I do this EVERY YEAR. Every year, I do my shopping early. Then, some time in mid-December, I start to loathe all of the presents I have purchased, and so I buy new presents. THEN, around Christmas Eve, I am paralyzed with certainty that I Have Not Bought Enough, and so I shop again, and then everyone receives a multitude of presents, few of which make sense, none of which were requested, and ALL of which I hate.

Really, this is what I do. And…wait. Does this sound familiar? Because I believe…yes, indeed, I have complained about this before. Heh. I am both predictable AND wasteful! What a magical combination!

Anyway. Yesterday, I spent all day shopping. Being horrified of anything involving a mall, I only went to these cute new boutiques that just opened around the corner from me. Turns out THAT was a good idea, because know what they had there? Mimosas! Mimosas for the shoppers! AND everything was 20% off, and their stuff was really cute, so you know. I bought some things. For…um. Myself.

Unfortunately, that is not the holiday spirit. That is Grinchy. So I had to down my mimosa and give myself a stern talking-to.

“You are shopping for other people,” I scolded me.

(That I is a bitch. Me just wanted some nice things, man.)

Eventually, I did manage to purchase a few things for friends and family, but for the most part, I dislike going out to do Christmas shopping. I feel oddly pressured, and really, I would rather sit at home with a glass of wine and order everything online. So that is what I did: I went home, poured a glass of wine, settled in with the dogs on the couch, and began an ordering frenzy which guarantees many, many visits from the hot UPS man. (The one with the big shoulders.) Obviously, this is win/win for all parties. Except my Visa card. My Visa card is quaking in fear.

Now, in the above-mentioned frenzy, I managed to stumble upon some excellent deals for presents, and I was thinking, “Self, people should know about these deals! People should know that there are attractive, cool gifts for other people, gifts that do not cost a lot of money, and which are available to everyone, The Shoppers, who need gifts this holiday season, but who do not want to spend an arm/leg. If ONLY I knew how to show those gifts to the world!”

I am embarrassed to report that I was contemplating sending a mass email to all of my friends before I remembered that: oh. I have a website. And, duh.

So I am going to show them here. Because I am helpy today, and it’s Saturday, and I just don’t feel like moving right now. Couch = comfy.

Now, while Robyn remains the expert on Christmas giving, I am going to attempt my own little list of excellent holiday gifts. But to make this more sporting, I am going to give myself Rules, and as such, all of these gifts run under ten bucks. Ten bucks! (Okay, yes, plus shipping, but we are going to ignore that for now.) Ten bucks is, like, two mimosas, y’all. It is three packs of cigarettes, or half a blowjob from that one lady I keep seeing in midtown (she has a sign).

So, without any further ado, I present you with:

My Kick Ass Ten Dollars And Under Christmas Gift Guide, You Are WELCOME, World!

We shall start classily. Know what is cool? Art. Art is always cool, and possessing some knowledge of art always makes you seem more interesting. When I am trying to seem interesting, I say things like “Bauhaus” or “Rembrandt.” That is why I am so fascinating to everyone.

Or…wait. That’s right; I’m not! But whatever, because art remains interesting, and that is why these are such a cool idea. These are fifty postcards in a lovely box, featuring all manner of important modern art pieces. What is especially nifty is that they’re about 4 by 6, which means you can either give the whole set to someone who loves art (at a very practical $9.95), or buy them, split them up, and frame them in standard frames (like this one, which is fifteen bucks, but also the only example I can find of what I’m talking about; I am sure you could find the same thing somewhere else and keep it under ten, is what I am getting at with all of these words), and then THAT is very lovely, as well. And will take care of ever so many gifts for all of the artsy people in your life. See?

But what, you might say, should I get for someone who does not like art? What should I get for that person in my life who considers “high art” to be a successful evening of binge drinking without vomiting in any moving vehicles? What should I get for the person whose idea of literature is being able to quote Office Space (“I celebrate his entire catalogue!”) at painful, painful length? For THAT person, my friends, how can you get much better than The Napoleon Dynamite Quote Book?

Coming in at a respectable eight bucks, this book is definitely going to several people on my own list, because if I hear, “Tina, you fat lard, come eat your dinner!” one more time, I may have to start issuing beatings. It is time for people to learn new lines from that movie. I am only here to help.

(And to issue beatings.)

Still, I understand that the above gifts are not going to work for all. Around this time of year, there is always the need for the Generic Gift, the picture frame or the vase, that you can whip out of a closet and give to anyone. And for this purpose, I like these from West Elm. They’re bronzish! And running from seven to nine dollars, on sale. AND you get free shipping.

While we’re here, I should also note that West Elm has this pretty 8 inch pitcher for seven dollars. It seems somehow peaceful and clean to me, in whatever manner a pitcher can inspire such a reaction. And if you wanted to fancy it up, you could always pair it with a little bag of gourmet hot chocolate, and tie a pretty brown silk ribbon around the handle. This would equal maximum Marthaness.

(Ooo! While we are on the Martha-ing, have y’all seen those reed diffuser things? They are little bottles of oil into which you stick reeds, and they make your house not smell like dog? They are awesome, but also kind of expensive for a room freshener, so I have been making it my Sworn Duty to find cheaper versions, and guess what. Pier 1 has them for twelve dollars, and I have no idea what ginger peach smells like, and maybe I am a little afraid, but whatever, I’m trying it anyway, and also I realize that this is more than ten dollars but THAT IS WHY it is in the parenthesis, y’all. Parenthesis do not have to comply with the ten dollar rule. That is another rule I just made up right now.)

Another good gift is stationery. I buy stationery for everyone, all of the time, because I personally like stationery, and also I am not all that creative. Basically, if you know me, you are probably going to get some stationery from me at some point. There you go. Now you know what is in the flat box.

An awesome place for stationery is Bird In A Skirt, a little indie-online site that has these incredibly awesome notecards in packs of ten for ten dollars. They come with little ribbons around! And animals on! I kind of want about ten packs for me, but then I remember how I had to tell me that We Are Shopping For Other People Today, and so me has to grumble and get them for other people. Stupid friends. (Incidentally, and back in parenthesis, that site also offers very adorable personalized stationery sets for $12 if you are willing to splurge that extra two bucks. You get two whole more cards, too! It is both logical and pastelly.)

And…hmm. I have been sitting here for two hours already. This is going to take nineteen years if I feel the need to offer two paragraphs of commentary for every gift suggestion, so I shall now take this to the list:

This pillow makes me happy in a way I cannot describe. Plus, it’s marked down to ten bucks from fifty something, so hello, bargain. Also, has owl on.

For the girly girls, I like these cute little flower hairpin sets from Bonnin designs, which claims to have free shipping, even. Also, I am oddly fascinated by this ring, because doesn’t it look really nifty on their homepage? I think that’s two rings smooshed together, but they’re just eight bucks a pop, so two together is Still Reasonable.

Oh, and while we’re talking about rings (or, I am, anyway), I think The Carrotbox has some of the most awesome big plastic rings in the universe. Many are under $10, but they’re just so nifty, y’all. Definitely check out the prototype handmade section, where everything is extra inexpensive.

More girl gifts I think are excellent include good smelling candles; these really cute altered notebooks from bunnidesigns (25% off and free shipping makes each book six bucks, people. SIX BUCKS); funky but inexpensive ($4.50 to six bucks) mod switchplates; pretty silk eyeglasses cases for eight bucks; or ten dollar soaps that looks like a doggie. And, speaking of doggies, I will highly recommend pretty much anything from Crafters for Critters, where a bunch of independent designers have donated goods for the betterment of our four-legged friends. I have bought all KINDS of gifts from them, but it’s all one of a kind, so…get moving.

Okay, seriously, I could go on with girl stuff all day, so here is where I give you Good Ideas for Boy Types, like these personalize-able belts from Neighborhoodies. I would like to get Dukay a camo one with pink letters that says “I’m a pretty fisherman!” but I have a mysterious and sneaking suspicion that he would not wear it.

He is a pretty fisherman, though. I like waders! They are rubber pants you are not allowed to pee in. (Believe me on that; I went fishing one time.)

Anyway. You could also go for any of the many entertaining tee shirts at Threadless, all of which will run you an even ten bucks. I love them kind of unreasonably. I want a shirt with an octopus holding its little teddy bear. LOOK AT ALL THOSE LITTLE TENTACLES. COME HUG ME WITH YOUR TENTACLES, MR. OCTOPUS.

And…moving on. For the babies in your life, I adore these cute little $8 handscreened tee shirts. I also love these teeny little crocheted booties for ten dollars. It is almost enough to make me want to have a bab…wait. Never mind. I said nothing.

Now, for larger children, I am partial to creative toys, because I am just like that (you may have noticed this above; seriously, could I link to any more independent craftspeople today? Independent craftspeople, you owe me a drink), and so I like play-doh and beads (fifteen THOUSAND beads. Parents of the world, this is what I send to your children. Which is why I owe you a drink. Happy vacuuming!)

Also, Lite Brite has gone flat screen. I can dig it.

Hopping on the train of thought that leads us back the general gift front, you can always go with fun something-of-a-day calendars, like this one from the New Yorker, or this one with Sudoku games. (I have recently become kind of obsessed with Sudoku. Blame Ziz for that; I would never have started doing anything that challenges my mind on my own volition. I prefer to keep my mind flabby and unexercised. Like thighs; I want my brain to be like thighs.)

Now, books are always a good option, and to celebrate the upcoming opening of the new Narnia movies, there’s a paperback reprint available now of the original full-color The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe book. For the more adventurous, you could give a book about the odd questions doctors are asked at dinner parties (yes, it’s a nickel over ten bucks, but let’s be flexible, folks). Or you could take a hop over to profanity with On Bullshit, which is an entertaining read. On bullshit.

I mean…have you read my blog? I could have written that book, people. On bullshit, indeed. Sir, you have no idea.

And, finally, if all else fails…have you considered a surfing DVD? Because I hear they’re great at parties.

Now, I showed you mine, so you show me yours. Y’all tell me your own brilliant gift ideas. My Visa is waiting. And it is sore afraid.

Ooo, Shoppy Update:

The lovely Miss Bonnin, of Bonnin Designs, has emailed to let us know several things; first, her site is working again. Or should be. At any rate, it was briefly dead. It has been (or will be) revived! Frankenstein like! Only with jewelry.

Anyway, Miss Bonnin would like us to know that yes indeedy, she does give everyone free shipping, and ALSO, you can get a 15% off coupon by going to bussbuss, then to haute shops, and then to jewelry (or you could just click there. ME = HELPY.) That is where the coupon is (scroll down), and o, happiness, it abounds.

Seriously. One word: HELPY.

Also, incidentally, y’all are awesome with the gift ideas. Please keep them coming; I am loving (and, um…buying) everything. (And if your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry; moveable type thinks anything with lots of links is spam, and so I have to approve it. It is silly, but it is, apparently, how I roll.) Kisses! Now go buy rings!

Another Update! Again!

I just received an email from Jen at Sweet Pea Handcrafts, and she is kindly offering all of you pretty Miss Doxie readers 10% off of your purchases. Just use the code CRAFTY at checkout, and voila. Voila, I say! Be sure to check out her line of handmade aprons, which are very sweet and maybe one wants to come live at my house this holiday season. For when I’m…uh. Cooking. Obviously.

Good LORD Stop UPDATING This Entry Every Seven Seconds

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. I should probably just write a whole new entry already, as opposed to updating this one every time I get within six feet of a computer, but…lazy. I’m kind of lazy. And (dude, for ONCE) I don’t have enough to say to justify a whole new entry.

But here are new things:

1. Uh, because I’m an asshole, I forgot to link to the site that originally gave me the idea for the ten-dollar-and-under gifts. See, what I did, was that I bought a bunch of these, which are the best and most adorable stocking stuffers ever. Seriously. Hi. I bought them for everyone. Including people who are reading this site right now. ENJOY YOUR BOOKPLATES, PEOPLE!

Pink Loves Brown also offers very cute personalized stationery, but did I remember to tell y’all that? Nope. Because I’m an asshole.

2. This site sent me an email and wanted me to let y’all know that they have several products for under $10. I haven’t had time to check it out, but there you go.

3. Totally unrelated, but y’all, last night, I went out to a nice dinner party with Dukay, and spent the majority of the evening with him before I realized that he was wearing (1) a plaid shirt; (2) a plaid blazer in a different plaid; and (3) corduroy pants with hundreds of birds emboidered on them.

I mean…what the hell? Is someone missing a grandfather? Because: found him. Dukay just turned seventy-six. For Christmas I’m going to get him a new hip!

4. I linked to this site above, but justjenndesigns has more than cute little onesies. This gift set is twelve bucks, and these little totes are only eight dollars. I don’t see how I can afford NOT to buy them.

5. Thank you all for your excellent suggestions! Except for the one about the arm! I am still kind of terrified about the arm thing. But everything else has been awesome. I really have bought, like…everything, including:

6. THIS. And I recommend that you do the same.

I would say goodbye, but I’m sure I’ll be back in an hour with something else. I’m just annoying that way.

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