My Holiday Gift Guide

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I love this time of year. I am a gift giver, and there are some really great ones on the market this year.

I wanted to share some of the things I will be gifting this year in my annual gift guide.

There’s something for everyone. Great gifts for your man, your kids’ teachers, your BFF, and of course, a little something for you.

1. For You! Style Photo Workshop in TuscanyBe sure to add one of my Style Photo Workshops in Tuscany to your wish list. You’ll get to visit the Fortress, drink wine in our vineyard, and learn from the best of the best. Treat yourself!

2. For Him! Men and Style Book by David Coggins: From Amazon: Men and Style reaches beyond standard “what to wear” advice: It is equal parts style guide and intriguing conversation about the masculine identity within the world of fashion. David Coggins explores the history of men’s style and learns from some of the most notable tastemakers in the industry and beyond. Its essays and interviews discuss the lessons men learned from their fathers, the mistakes they made as young men, and how they emerged to become better men. Some of the most dapper men in the world discuss bad mustaches, misguided cologne choices, and unfortunate prom tuxedos. All the men here have arrived at a place in the world and have a keen understanding about how they fit in it. Men and Style celebrates singular men who’ve lived well and can tell us about how they earned their worldview. They’re smart enough to absorb the wisdom that’s hidden in the world, and even smarter to wear that wisdom lightly.

3. For your BFF! Williams Sonoma Copper Corkscrew: Never underestimate the power of a well-made corkscrew in a beautiful finish. This one would be great for your BFF or make a wonderful hostess gift throughout the season. 

4. For the Teacher! Sling Shot Coffee Caramels: Give the teachers something sweet and something delicious. These are reasonably priced if your student has several teachers, or you can add them to a big basket of other goodies.

5. For your Hairdresser! Scandinavisk Candle: Girls, let’s be honest: our hairdressers are our lifelines; we couldn’t do life without them. When you’re making your list this year, pick up a candle or two for your beauty team.

6. For the Jet-Setter! Herbivore Rose Mist: Rose water is a fantastic pick-me-up, especially after a long day of travel. A little spritz of this will leave her feeling refreshed.

7. For the Business Owner! In the Company of Women: From Amazon: Across the globe, women are embracing the entrepreneurial spirit and starting creative businesses. In the Company of Women profiles over 100 of these influential and creative women from all ages, races, backgrounds, and industries. Chock-full of practical, inspirational advice for those looking to forge their own paths, these interviews detail the keys to success (for example, going with your gut; maintaining meaningful and lasting relationships), highlight the importance of everyday rituals (meditating; creating a daily to-do list), and dispense advice for the next generation of women entrepreneurs and makers (stay true to what you believe in; have patience). The book is rounded out with hundreds of lush, original photographs of the women in their work spaces.

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A Nutty Valentine’s Day treat

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Hi Everyone! I’m Nicole, Annette’s blog manager. When Annette asked me to share a Valentine’s Day post with you, I couldn’t wait to get started. Over the years, Valentine’s Day has become one of my favorite holidays.

Whether you’re celebrating with a significant other, your best friends, your children, or your coworkers, it’s a day to stop and remember the good and loving people around you.

My husband and I live in a quaint little neighborhood in Atlanta, and we happen to have some of the best neighbors around. They get packages off of our porch if we’re not home, smile and ask about what we’re up to, and make it a point to always look out for us. As a street, we take care of each other; I love the camaraderie!

I decided I wanted to give a little token of appreciation to each of my neighbors (a nutty Valentine’s Day treat!), and I knew the first place to look was Minted. Minted is an online marketplace for independent artists and designers, and a vibrant playground for paper lovers like me.

You can find everything from photo backdrops to home decor at Minted, but this time of year, I love looking through their Valentine’s Day cards. Of course, Minted has a large selection of photo cards, postcards, and greeting cards, but did you know that Minted also has classroom valentines?

I’ve always enjoyed how cheeky and funny kids’ classroom cards can be, so I knew I would find exactly what I was looking for…and I did! Minted kindly sent me a set of these Nuts Classroom Valentine’s Day cards for the neighbors’ treats. With Minted’s easy to use personalization options, I was able to change the color, select my own wording, add a scalloped edge, and include an adorably nutty background. So cute!

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Once my Valentine’s arrived (within a week!), I picked up some cute food-safe pails** from my local craft store along with Valentine’s Day crafting supplies. I used scrapbooking stickers and ric-rac washi tape to decorate each pail before filling it with Annette’s Big Game Snack Mix from her book, Picture Perfect Parties.

Her snack mix packs a punch and includes a lot of flavors that meld so well together. Plus, who doesn’t love snack mix? Annette’s mix is incredibly easy to toss together and requires no extra work other than picking up the ingredients from your local grocery store. I love that I didn’t have to dirty any dishes, pots, or pans and just could just mix everything together. Her recipes are great like that!

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I can’t wait to leave each of these pails on my neighbors porches as a fun little Valentine’s Day surprise. Let me know if you find any other cute uses for classroom Valentine’s beyond the classroom. Minted has a great selection, and I’m excited to hear your ideas! Thanks for having me, Annette!

xo, Nicole

Thanks to Minted for sending me the classroom valentines seen here in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.

**Be sure to read the labels to get food safe containers for any food crafting.

Photos: Nicole Letts

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Mother’s Day Book Bundle Giveaway!

Mother’s Day is one of those holidays that I look forward to every year; not just because I’m a mom and my kids love to spoil me, but because it’s incredibly important to honor the women that have made the biggest impact in our lives, our Moms. You know by now I love giving gifts, so here’s my chance to give the ultimate book selection to one of you deserving Moms out there. I am honored to call all of these talented authors my friends; I am a lucky girl!

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Here’s what you’ll win: 4 signed books from some of the most amazing tastemakers in the country. And here’s the winner’s tasty selection: my book Picture Perfect Parties Rizzoli NY. You will also win an advance copy of Hugh Acheson’s latest book, The Broad Fork Clarkson Potter (May 12, 2015), Eddie Ross’ yet-to-be-released book, Modern Mix Gibbs Smith (September 1, 2015) and Barbara Westbrook’s newly released book Gracious Rooms Rizzoli NY .This book bundle giveaway is the perfect Mother’s Day gift for you or that special Mom in your life. I hope you win!

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Mobile users, please use this link to enter the giveaway.

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About the Authors:

HUGH ACHESON is the author of the James Beard Award Winning cookbook A NEW TURN IN THE SOUTH: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen and chef/owner of the Athens, Georgia, restaurants Five & Ten and The National, the Atlanta restaurant Empire State South, and the Savannah restaurant The Florence. Hugh’s cookbook titled A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen published by Clarkson Potter in 2011 won the award for Best Cookbook in the field of “American Cooking” by the James Beard Foundation in 2012. His second cookbook is Pick a Pickle: 50 Recipes for Pickles, Relishes, and Fermented Snacks. Food & Wine Magazine named him Best New Chef in 2002 and the James Beard Foundation awarded him Best Chef Southeast in 2012. Hugh competed in Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, Season 3 and starred as a judge on Top Chef, Seasons 9, 10, 11, and 12. He lives in Athens with his family.

EDDIE ROSS is the East Coast Editor of Better Homes & Gardens, producing home, decorating, DIY and entertaining stories for print, digital and video. He has been a design, decorating and food editor for House Beautiful, Martha Stewart Living and Food Network. A trained chef from the Culinary Institute of America, Eddie has styled parties and table settings featured in Southern Living,Lonny and InStyle. His design work has been published in Domino,Vanity FairCountry Living and the New York Times. He also appeared in Bravo’s interior design competition series Top Design and entertaining specials for HGTV. His first book Modern Mix:Curating Personal Style with Chic and Accessible Finds will be publishedon September 1, 2015 by Gibbs Smith.

BARBARA WESTBROOK launched Atlanta-based interiors design firm Westbrook Interiors in 1992 after designing under the tutelage of Southern greats Nancy Braithwaite and Gandy-Peace. her proejcts – homes, second homes, showhouses, large-scale renovations, spas, and her persona homes have been widely published in magazines such as Architectural Digest, Traditional Home, House Beautiful, Garden & Gun, Better Homes & Gardens, and Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles. Barbara also publishes a quarterly online mini-magazine, www.workbookbywestbrook.com.

*Note You will be getting Eddie Ross’s book in late July as it releases in Sept, but you will be getting your copy before anyone else.

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