Friday, December 18, 2009

Shopping: Les Derniers Moments. . .

Welcome to the first in a hysterical -- not always in the ha-ha sense; more like frenzied -- series of last minute shopping ideas from some of my absolute favorite bloggers. (Today is Part I of a four part saga.)

I'm so please they agreed. Surely they've got better things to do.

I treat my blog as my own little magazine which allows me to invite imaginative writers of quality, taste and style to contribute -- as you will see below. (You're probably thinking too bad she doesn't have someone editing her from time to time, but c'est la vie: typos, non-agreeing verb tenses and all. I would be more than happy if any of you would like to jump in and publicly humiliate me with corrections of any sort from my French to my punctuation. Really, I don't mind.)

I digress (so what's new?) I'm sure you will enjoy the following responses from, in this order: "Skye Peale" at Privilege; Deja Pseu at Une Femme and Lily Lemontree at Lily Lemontree to the simple question -- with absolutely no direction: "Tell us some of your favorite last minute cadeau suggestions." Oh, yes, followed by: "Please and thank-you."

We're talking to three women who take good manners very, very seriously.

Here is what they said and if you want more where this came from you must go visit them chez eux. You will not be disappointed, I promise.

By Lisa (aka: Skye Peale)

Tish has done me the singular favor of requesting that I post my thoughts on last minute presents. Luckily, I have some. Thoughts, I mean.

All last minute presents are not created equal.

There's the last minute present of obligation. You owe the ballet teacher, tonight's hostess, or your cousin arriving in town. Surprise! For those situations, I rely on certain retailers with sufficient taste. Mass market, I'm a Pottery Barn gal. Pottery Barn vs. Crate and Barrel vs. William Sonoma vs. Restoration Hardware is the Ford vs. Chrysler vs. Dodge vs. Chevrolet of our generation. Park close by, run in, grab something pre-wrapped, run out. Cheese markers, for example. Nobody has those. I've also found a few boutiques on University Avenue - Palo Alto's main street - offering unique little thingamabobs. Odd objects of desire amongst some, well, some other stuff. Just make sure there's meaning attached, if you go for objects. The blue horse below would be good for an equestrienne, not so good for the math teacher. Unless she liked native American crafts. This kind of present says, "I see you. I acknowledge you."

Then there's the last minute present of love. Usually these are put off because they are hard. Of course, not for my sisters. I can buy for my sisters in my sleep. If I had a million extra dollars my sisters would have to buy new houses for all their presents. I just get them what I want.

My brother is more complicated. First of all, he's a man. I am somewhat mystified by men's style. That part where the salesperson lays the shirt and ties lovingly on the glass counter? And tells you that the orange dot/stripe picks up the taupe? Yeah. Not getting it. But I do, by now, 49 years into his life, know what my brother likes to wear.

He's got style. You look at him and think, hey, that guy dresses really well. Doesn't look like he tries. Classic at first glance. Subversive and artistic on closer examination.

What I also know about men is that if they have certain jobs, banker, lawyer, psychologist, professor, salesman, CEO, venture capitalist, a long storied list, they have to wear A. LOT. OF. SHIRTS. While they own the basics, a white, a blue, a something else, there is almost always something missing. One shirt with a certain detail. Or higher quality of cloth than they usually invest in for work.

As the perfect last-minute present for your beloved professional male, here is my nomination. The Etro shirt*.

Etro at ShopStyle

Classic. Wearable almost everywhere except perhaps when you ring the Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Blue. Have you noticed how much Corporate America loves blue? We do. It makes us feel safe. Like we've all read the same contract. Subversive. That little bitty stripe. Slight hint of something handwoven from a country where they ingest substances illegal in the USA. Ikat. Peruvian. N'importe quoi.

Not cheap. I spent $225 on my brother's last minute birthday present. But I figure bargains are for the prepared. A 15% premium over my budget isn't an issue. When time is short but affection profound. Happy Holidays to you all. A little Otis Redding for the season.

*Available last minute at Neiman Marcus. I know.

By Deja Pseu
Les Cadeaux for Paris Lovers
For those Paris lovers on your gift list, here are une femme's last-minute gift ideas to remind them of their ville favorite. (Click on the image above for details about each item.)

1. Gold charms of her favorite Paris landmarks (including the amazing croissants!) or fleur-de-lys ring or earrings.

2. A picnic basket including some favorite French treats (
foie gras, Maille mustards in various flavors, perhaps a jar of cornichons, and of course some Valrhona or other chocolats noirs, all available at a local gourmet grocery or online).

3. Gifts for the home: some nice dishtowels, a set of hand-painted espresso cups, a quirky welcome mat with
un chien de garde qui dort.

4. One can rarely go wrong with a bottle of good French champagne, either on its own or included in the picnic basket above.

5. These aren't your average guidebooks. From "Little Known Facts," did you know that the figures atop Notre Dame are "grotesques" not "gargoyles?" (To qualify as a "gargoyle," the figure must function as a rain spout.) "Paris Out of Hand" is one of the most borderline surreal, yet highly
amusant guides of Paris ever (the chapter on Toilettes pour les femmes offers some helpful guidance on where one can fais du peepee in luxury).


By Lily Lemontree *

It might not surprise you but my always reliable go-to last minute gift is personalized or household stationery. One of my quests in life is to bring back the beautiful art of letter writing and correspondence and I try to re-introduce this lost art whenever I can. There are many great sites that offer a vast selection of beautiful stationery and a quick turnaround/delivery time, like Tiny Prints (, Stacy Claire Boyd (www., Dabney Lee Stationery (, Mr. Boddington’s Studio-one of my personal favourites (; (and of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my own company, Lily Lemontree (

If I am really pressed for time or need to pick up a gift on the way to someone’s home, there are always your local stationery stores that usually carry monogrammed stationery featuring an initial that will correspond with the recipients first or last name.

I always scout my city (Toronto) throughout the year for stationery and fine paper stores that can facilitate a quick pick up of personalized stationery. These boxed sets of initial stationery are usually packaged in lovely boxes that can be topped off with ribbon, a pretty bow and they're ready to go.

I have always received great responses to my stationery gifts and have been told on numerous occasions that it was my gift of stationery that jump-started the gift recipients new found love affair with correspondence through the post.

*(For technical reasons -- another problem when one runs one's own magazine without an art director, eh oui -- I've placed Lily Lemontree's note cards at the top of the post instead of with her words. Update, now fixed.)


Jeanne-Aelia Desparmet-Hart said...

1st: your blog is great, so don't worry about the typos, fautes en francais etc.; we love it because of and in spite of all that YOU see as flaws. 2nd: where do you get all these fabulous guest bloggers who find treasures and write so magnificently, amusingly, interestingly and on and on? 3rd: answer to #2: MUST be doing something right! can't wait for the other days to come, and merci to you Tish and merci aux blogeurs amis et invites de Tish..

BonjourRomance said...

Tish you have featured three fabulous bloggers - I'm heading over to all their blogs right now. Don't worry, I have yet to find any flaws in your posts, mine is full of all sorts of blunders...
I find yours a pleasure to visit - and I love your incredible sense of humour.

BigLittleWolf said...

I love these suggestions! (Cheese markers - who would have thought of that???) And the French thingamajigs, and stationery - absolument. Always elegant, always tasteful, and useful - especially when you are trying to revive the handwritten note. And as much as it is (delightfully) an online world, I am a firm believer in fundamentals - and that includes real books, real letters, and thank you notes.

Delicious post. Comme d'habitude.

(PS - There is a little question concernant la femme et l'oreille, chez moi. Would love your continental input.)

Dedene said...

I enjoyed your guest bloggers today. Champagne is always the right gift for anyone in France.
Joyeux Noël.

LPC said...

Tish, thank you so much for having me. Your readers are lucky to be graced by your presence. Me among them.

Deja Pseu said...

Tish - thanks so much for inviting me to join these other amazing bloggers chez vous!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Really enjoyed these- what novel ideas!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

I've always wanted the cheese markers for some unknown reason. I hardly ever serve a cheese tray because it isn't appreciate where I currently live. However, the French champagne is.

I smiled at the "chien de garde". When we were in Provence we saw a small blue & white metal sign announcing "chien de garde" on the gate at their Mas. I knew right away that the sign would make a perfect gift for our friends at home with dogs. We searched everywhere, I mean everywhere for them. Bricolage shops, everywhere we could think of. We quickly learned the word "paneau." Finally we found a paneau, but it wasn't the elegant blue and white one on the gate of the Mas, but we bought it anyway. Everyone loved them as a gift.

Janean said...

i am so impressed. you've given this a lot of thought. i admire those prepared souls who keep a "stash" of non-gender gifts, wrapped and ready. maybe some day....

Lily Lemontree said...

Tish-thank you so very much for the lovely comments on my blog today and for the wonderful opportunity to share my thoughts with your readers.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Sher said...

Wonderful job to all the ladies! All are such personal lovely gift ideas. I still have to do a bit of shopping.

Jacqueline said...

Lovely last minute thoughts, Tish.
I never think that you can go wrong with champagne. Although not particually original, everyone will use a bottle of champagne even if they are teetotal. There are brilliant savings on champagne at the moment here in the U.K. I bought a box of six bottles that were half price and when I went to pay for them there was an extra 25% off. That's the sort of shopping I like !! XXXX

BigLittleWolf said...

By the way - I don't seem to recall that my last minute holiday shopping in Paris ever included any fruitcake. Hmmm. (And I notice, there was no such weighty confection on your guests' shopping lists.)

Daffodil Planter said...

I'm a fan of Deja Pseu's blog (yes, I have two Parisian charms on my bracelet) and am glad to encounter new blogs that I will enjoy in 2010!

Lindy said...

These women write three of my favorite blogs! As usual,they have wonderful ideas.

Just want to add that my favorite Parisian charm is a stain glass window made of gold and enamel.

Belle de Ville said...

Thank you for posting Deja Pseu's gift suggestions.

The Paris charms and fleur de lis jewlery were from

For the rest of December there is a 15% discount for all jewlery $1500 and above. The discount code is HOLIDAY09.

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