Dec 23, 2006

If You Have Bank...

...and want to majorly impress someone, here are a trio of fab options.

Is she a whiz in the kitchen? A total foodie? An attractive version of Martha Stewart? Or, better still, is she Giada De Laurentiis? Splurge on this great kitchenware necklace. So cute, without being cloying. Very expensive.

If you simply want to demonstrate how luxe your table setting can get, spring for this set of pagoda salt and pepper shakers. 'Tis the season to let your seasonings be decadent.

And, for the pièce de résistance, how better to fight the chill in your swank modernist apartment (or the swank moderist apartment of your dreams) than by installing this Blomus Chimo fireplace? No chimmney required, runs on ethanol, and very space-efficient. Not to mention totally rad.

Dec 22, 2006

Wii-alistic Expectations

Okay, let's face it: You want a Wii for Christmas. But, what with the shortages and the lines, it's a pain in the glayven. So you're not getting a Wii for Christmas. (And definitely not a PS3, but that's no great loss—it costs $600, weighs 17 pounds, and looks like a George Foreman grill.) To numb the pain of a Wii-less holiday, get a DS Lite (in either polar white or onyx black), which is awfully handy for when you have to take three flights in one day. And, in preparation for your eventual ownership of a Wii, get this shirt.

Dec 21, 2006

Stuff It—In Your Stocking, Obviously

Soap Rocks are a little bit funky, a little bit gorgeous.

Okay, neither of these is very exciting, but they're both pretty useful. The Travel Gal Pal is a portable spongy-type thing that removes deodorant or other such schmutz from your clothing. Meanwhile, for certain ladies (my grandmother, for starters) who tend to lug around massive purses full of everything short of the kitchen sink, the Purse Pal clip-on purse light might just be a tiny godsend.

These little keyboard brushes would make great stocking stuffers, except that I haven't a clue as to how much they cost and/or how to purchase them. (It's a Japanese site.) Maybe eBay? Or maybe you're lucky and have a friend who lives in Japan?

These snarky buttons come in a four-pack: the little box of lies.

Socks. Socks are always great. These nice, warm, colorful cotton tights are extremely good wintertime options, too.

Dec 18, 2006

Have a Very British Christmas

Here's one for all the expats (or anyone with a fondess for English sweets). I found a site that will, quite cheaply, ship to the U.S. Thus you can buy some mince pies and a Christmas pudding and have a proper holiday feast.
Incidentally, should you be in the market for mince pies, here's a handy guide to some of the common brands.

Dec 15, 2006

Oh So Write

Even if it's just an occasional postcard and the rent check, everyone writes. Of course, some of us enjoy writing more than others. Some of us still hold our pens wrong and therefore particularly appreciate comfy writing implements. Some of us absolutely need a pen on us at all times, just in case we should have Very Important Thoughts and have to make some impromptu Very Important Lists.

Needless to say, pens can make great presents. (Okay, I know some of you just tuned me out. Bear with me, though.) Anyone who's all about technologically advanced gizmos (or even just elegant design) will appreciate a Fisher Space Pen. Astronauts use them 'cause they can write in space. They're amazing. Seriously, I once wrote on a wet glass with a Space Pen. That rocks. Both the chrome bullet and the matte black bullet (sort of the Darth Vader of Space Pens) are as sleek and sexy as a pen can get. Incidentally, make sure you buy the version that comes with a detachable clip. The pens aren't quite as simplistically stunning with the clips attached, but get used to losing them if you don't. They're slippery little buggers. (As Afshin—now on his fifth Space Pen—can attest.)

Though they're not as technomalogically forward as the Space Pens, Sensa pens are great. I have a light amethyst one that I've been using since...middle school, actually. Damn. Admittedly, I have replaced the ink refill, but that's to be expected. Not only are they attractive, well-made pens (that are available in an array of colors), but they're exceptionally comfortable. There's a little squishy gel bit around the barrel that makes writing so much less painful if you a) hold your pen incorrectly or b) have to write for an extended period of time. I'm not sure precisely what the difference is between these two types of Sensas, but this is the less expensive Cloud 9 range and this is the rather more expensive Stylist range. If you really want to splash out, go for the gold-plated, platinum-plated, or titanium models.

Dec 13, 2006

Since We're Discussing Shoes...

...I do have some shoe-related suggestions for the holiday gift guide. These earrings are so cute—check out the heels, which double as the earring backings. And there are matching necklaces! I'm going to drop dead from a cuteness overdose.

Better Than Blue Suede Shoes...

...are these purple suede boots. Okay, I know this isn't technically an entry for the holiday gift guide (unless you're looking for suggestions for me), but they're too fabulous not to mention. (And I'm very picky about boots.) They remind me so much of a pair of purple Chinese Laundry boots that I had and adored but which eventually fell apart. I killed them with love. I'm still not sure that I ever threw them away, even though they're clearly unwearable.

Other (Inferior) Gift Guides

Boy, both the New York Times gift guide and that of New York magazine (which is usually chock-full of good, albeit expensive, suggestions) are remarkably disappointing this year.
Oddly enough, after I wrote the preceding sentence, I read Slate's guide to gift guides, which gave its highest rating to New York mag's guide. I wonder how dreadful the others must me...

Dec 12, 2006

Merry Boozemas!

If you plan on having a party this holiday season, you might take a look at this wine-related accessory sets of a silver bottle stopper, bottle cover, and wine glass charms. Personally, I think it'd be overkill to buy all of them (too matchy-matchy), but I think the bottle stopper alone would be cool. Not to mention vaguely reminiscent of a popping Champagne bottle.

Just as entertainingly useless is the DollyPop bottle cover. I'm not sure where you can buy it and, quite frankly, I wouldn't recommend it. I don't need a sheepskin to cover my wine bottle, thank you. However, I think it looks nifty and is a great way to cover up a less-than-attractive bottle. So go the crafty DIY route: Buy a cheap wine bag (or fabric if you're particularly handy and want to whip one up yourself) and a feather boa. Swirl the boa around the bag and baste it in place. I'd also suggest scrounging around a hardware store for some sort of rubber/plastic piece to put at the top of the bag to stop drips and avoid staining your decorative new wine bag.

While we're on the topic of wine, allow me to plug this Pewter Octopus Wine Aerator. If you're the sort of person who actually decants your wine, you might find this useful. I don't. Decant, I mean. So it would be of no use to me. Yet I can appreciate the concept, and I think it's generally interesting-looking. Weird, yet strangely elegant.

I know they're a bit blingy, but these sparkle cocktail glasses are fun and festive. And remind me of a pair of Champagne flutes I once customized. Good for your girlfriend who's single and fabulous.

On the other hand, this flask-in-a-Bible is good for humor and Simpsons-related value only. Mmm, sacrelicious.

Lest you think I'm forgetting the most important component of Boozemas (i.e., the booze), I present this trio of Glenrothes Scotch whiskies. Excellent brand, usually rather expensive, totally worth getting for the lush you love.

Dec 11, 2006

Deck the Kitchen

Best. Brownie pan. Ever. With the crunchy edges and the chewy middles and the HOYven MAYven.

Say you're not a fan of gingerbread cookies (though I can't imagine why not), but you love the festive little gingerbread people that seem to pop up and multiply every holiday season. This silicone gingerbread man–shaped muffin pan has you sorted.

Incidentally, if you're going to whip up such treats, you might want an apron. And you couldn't find a more retro-licious (yet eminently practical, as it wipes clean) apron than one of these.

And if you've been a very good little boy or girl, maybe you'll get a Vita-Mix, which is like the Porsche of blenders. Even the basic model is apparently excellent, but this one is unfuckingbelievable.

Dec 8, 2006

Let It Snow

Even in the warmest of climes, you can host an in-home snowstorm with these snowflake wall decals and great felt flurry runner, trivets, and coasters.

Kiddie Crafts

It's always nice to buy handmade and/or one-of-a-kind goods when possible. It just makes gifts that much more special. With that sentiment in mind, peruse the soft, squishy offerings in two Etsy shops: Fantastic Toys and Making Mitsi. While I'm not equally tickled by all of their products, some of the little felt creatures are awfully cute.

Fabulously Frozen

Even though it never gets that cold in the Bay Area, if I bought some of these goodies, I could create my own winter wonderland. I'd be slightly delusional, but that's par for the course with me.

I love these Cube Tube Vases—the idea of flowers sprouting from ice is inherently picturesque.

Despite their somewhat gay name, these Frozen Moment picture frames are pretty cool. (Hah! I just made an unintentional pun. Not a very good one, though.)

I've had my eye on this ice bracelet for a while now. Of course, if you wear icy jewelry, does that mean you're frigid? Hmmm....

These Verner Panton Dodecahedron candleholders are appropriately chilly and crystalish, but for a less expensive option, go with the Kosta Boda Snowball Votives. Not only are they significantly cheaper, I think they're actually prettier. They really do look like chunks of ice in person—you half expect them to melt when you light the candles.

And I know I've mentioned it before, but I still think this Ice Cubed ice bucket is fantastic.

Kern with Pride

Just one little suggestion for today. (Hey, it's been a busy day. And the mags come first, since they actually pay me.) This one goes out to all the copy editors in the (publishing) hizzouse: a kerning hoodie. Why explain when you can demonstrate? Oh, I know it's deeply dorky, but it's awesome nonetheless.

Vagrant of the Day

Vagrant guy, rapping on his head: Hey! I don't have a fucking side of my head! It's all titanium and plastic!

Yeah, I'm thinking that Vagrant of the Day will have to be a recurring post. I keep overhearing thes pearls of (hobo) wit and (gutter punk) wisdom, yet, because these gems are dropped on the streets of Berkeley, I can't submit them to either Overheard in New York, Overheard in the Office, or Overheard at the Beach, (which, let's face it, are the originators and really the best quality overheard sites).

Dec 6, 2006

Scary Mary, Quite Contrary

Totally unrelated to the holidays, but amusing nonetheless: Scary Mary. I never before realized how ominous Mary Poppins could be in the right (wrong?) hands.

Practical Presents

Practicality isn't always exciting, but sometimes it's greatly appreciated when given in gift form.
I know I pimped the PowerSquid last year (and I've since bought one, so I stand by that suggestion), so, in a similar vein, here's the (stupidly named) LaCie Huby, a betentacled USB and FireWire hub. Again, a practical solution for when you've got wires coming from every which direction.

Let's face it: Everyone must, at least occasionally, bust some dust. But DustBusters and Dirt Devils have always been, at best, inoffensive, at worst, ugly. Until the advent of the Karim Rashid–designed Dirt Devil Kone. It's sleek, stylish, and functional—and the white one even glows!

Since it's almost 2007, it's about time to get a new calendar. Or two—I use a mini wall calendar at work (though a desk calendar would be just fine, too) and a large wall calendar at home. If you, too, are into the pinups, take a gander at the mini and maxi versions of a 2007 Gil Elvgren calendar. I'm also partial to this Anne Taintor calendar.

Another solid option (well, for me, anyway) is a sewing machine. I'd love to be able to repair fallen hems and torn seams in about a quarter of the time it takes to stitch them by hand. Not to mention that I'd finally be able to take on some of the larger, more complicated projects that I've been postponing. Target has machines starting at $50, but I'm not sure I'd trust just any old brand. Still, at $80, $85, and $90, you could get a Brother, Shark, or Singer, respectively.

Entirely unrelated to appliances but, in some circumstances, just as useful are these fingerless mittens. They're convertible fingerless gloves/mittens that are a godsend in cold weather. You can even type in them, which I've done before. I own several pair and would gladly stash a few more in a drawer, just in case. these are some less expensive options, but they're also less attractive, what with the bulky leather buttons.

Dec 5, 2006

Tree-Trimming Trinkets

Okay, I'm sorry if you're Jewish/Muslim/Hindu/whatever. But come on—what does a tree have to do with Jeebus anyway? Zip. So I say put one up regardless of your religion or lack thereof.
Now that we've established your right to a tree, you'll want to decorate it. As usual, I have suggestions for you.

Want to convey your "edginess" in ornament form? Try a glittery gun. (It's sold out online but still available in at least some stores.)
I double dog dare ya to find anyone who doesn't love A Christmas Story. Now put poor Ralphie in his bunny suit on the tree. Just don't drop it—it may be fra-gee-lay.
Here are some sweet little fishies, available in peach, red, and yellow. Equally as random but (almost) as cute are these four mushroom ornaments.
This purse and boots ornament set is the latest in Mrs. Claus–chic; get it for your holly jolly girlfriend, sister, aunt, or mom. Or even your rather hip grandma.
Also for the girls, the Met has an ever-increasing collection of shoe ornaments based on vintage designs. They're reasonably pretty, but here's my personal tip: If you want some fancy-schmancy shoes on your tree, check out the Just the Right Shoe collectibles by Raine. There's a great selection of fabulous, outlandish, and generally spiffy shoes. They're not ornaments per se, but see how most of the designs involve an ankle strap, a slingback, or some other sort of strap? Just slide a sturdy ornament hook or ribbon through the strap and voilà! Instant ornaments.
Finally, I should mention the soft-sculpture ornaments of Gladys Boalt. Trust me when I say that they're much, much, much more attractive in person than they are in pictures. Really detailed, nicely made, and representing a variety of historical, literary, cinematic, and legendary (fairy tale–iary?) characters, they're minor masterpieces (that clearly don't photograph well). (To further elaborate, compare and contrast a surprisingly good photo of the awesome Teddy Roosevelt ornament with a photo that's more representative of most of the Boalt pictures floating around online. See what I mean?)

New in Awful Things: Names, Hair

Somehow I managed to miss this whole phenomenon of Ben Underwood, the blind kid who uses echolocation to get around. Pretty amazing, though. More power to him. Also, I bet he'll be spared when our dolphin overlords seize control.
But I really feel compelled to highlight a tidbit just glossed over in the related video: The kid's mother is named Aquanetta Gordon. Aquanetta. Like the hair spray, Aqua Net. I have since spent a chunk of the morning trawling the internet for evidence of when Aqua Net was invented. (I know it was de rigeur in the '80s, but I think it's been around for much longer.) Aquanetta Gordon is in her 40s, so if the hair spray was invented after the mid or late '60s, she's got a crappy name and that's it. If Aqua Net was invented any earlier, though, Netta's parents must have been vicious bastards.

This is related by the slimmest of threads (i.e, hair), but I had to share anyway. As I walked to work this morning, I noticed a man about a block ahead of me. He was wearing a cap with what I initially thought was a long, rectangular piece of fur or sheepskin hanging from the back of the cap. As I closed on him, I realized that the "fur" was in fact his hair. It had been matted into a solid, rectangular mass as long as a table runner. (Without exaggeration, I can attest that it hung below his ass.) It was like one giant, steroidal dreadlock. Ugh.

Dec 4, 2006

And an X-Wing in a Pear Tree

Okay, how'd you like a little Star Wars action to kick off The Pinup's 2006 Holiday Gift Guide? I'm kinda down with the themes this year, and this one's good for kids, fanboys (and -girls), and, generally, most boy-types. Do the sensible thing and pretend the prequels never happened. Instead, pick up these excellent editions of the original trilogy, each of which includes both the original release and the tarted-up (fine, remastered) 2004 version.

To enhance the Star Wars experience, consider giving one of these funny yet fashionable tees: the ubiquitous Dark Side of the Garden or the lesser-known Boo Boo Walker. More for the kiddies is the Yoda backpack, which would also make a great substitute stocking.