Tag Archives: Holiday Gift Guide

Perfect Hostess Gifts with Lovely Wrapping.

hostessgiftpinI grew up with a mom who taught me to write thank you notes. In fact, my packing list always includes them if I am staying with someone. I like to write it while I am there and then leave them for people to find. She also taught me about hostess gifts. Up until recently, my age exempted me from the hostess gift in most cases. My friends didn’t really have homes and I wasn’t visiting them for housewarming parties or dinner parties. But we grow up, you know?

I have six go to hostess gifts. I also use these as little gifts when the occasion falls for it. The reason there is six is because they never fail, especially for the price. (Okay, I have never given the elephant planter but I could not resist including it).

Let me give away a secret. They are all from Anthropologie. I wish Anthropologie was sponsoring this but they are not. It’s just that for my price range (the mugs start at $8,) I can get a friend something truly lovely and let’s be honest, they usually think it is more than $8 because it is from Anthro. There, now my secret is out.

When I was at the Influence Conference, I wanted to get my roommates a little something. It wasn’t a straight up hostess gift because who is the hostess of the hotel room? But it was a Hey-I’m-Glad-We’re-Rooming-Together gift, a gesture of goodwill. I gave them these Anthro mugs because I am on a budget with a capital B.hostess1

Just to give you some reference, the initial mugs are only $8 which seems pretty reasonable to me for a thoughtful gift. The city mugs–which include some of the best cities in the world: SF, Rome, NYC, Paris, London, more–are just a few dollars more. None of these mugs ever miss.

The candle below is my go-to gift for pretty much everything (there are two sizes). You may have heard me call it my Oprah gift because if I could I would buy you all one and say, “You get a candle, and you get a candle, and you get a candle!!”

The scent is divine. It is the best smell in the entire world. And the jars…When the candle is done (so sad), you simply put the galvanized container in the freezer overnight so that you can pop the little wax out easily and it’s a beautiful place to keep things. The biggest one I’ve included here (there is an even bigger one but I’ve never bought it) is the perfect amount for my aunt, who loves the candle too. I get her one every year. There is also a baby version (closer to the mugs prices) that would be a great hostess gift that comes in a variety of iridescent shades and galvanized silver (I just saw they now come in beautiful emerald and red…how perfect for the holidays!).

I don’t feel bad giving a candle (you know how a candle can be kind of impersonal) because this is the candle. Once you try it, you can never go back.

And yes, I sure did include the elephant planter. There is a giraffe and a zebra too. Why bring flowers and a bottle of wine when you could bring this with a succulent? It’s new so I can’t vouch for it the way I can for the mugs and candles but I can say: it’s an elephant planter.

Also, just want to share that Anthro is doing free shipping right now. Click below and shop those items or others.

Part of giving a great gift, in my opinion, is presentation. It’s not a matter of the look of things and wanting to be seen in a certain way. It just shows you went the extra mile and took care with those $8 mugs (also I just thought of this: what a great stocking stuffer to stick a gift card in?). I live in a studio apartment as I have mentioned 1000 times so I don’t have a wrapping paper room. Shocker, I know. I’ve found that brown kraft paper is great because you turn it into anything. I love the look of it with twine. In this case, I mimicked the initial theme of the mugs and tried to pick colors I thought or knew the girls liked. It was a blogging conference so I chose flowered paper because…my blog title.hostess2

I knew I had to include something elephant related so I cut out tiny cards in the shape of the elephant from that same paper and wrote a short note to each of them and tied it with twine to the mug handle. Then I tied everything up with twine because I like how it looks.

(I see this look at stores and it’s so expensive. Go to Amazon and I think I got the twine at Etsy. Please. It’s brown kraft paper.)

By the way, ignore the wet part of the brown paper in the photos. It was modgepodge and dried clear. Finally, I must keep it real. I ran out of the brown paper while wrapping these! So I rationed it out and gave them all an equal amount and then I told them the truth and we all laughed. See, things don’t have to be perfect. You just have to care.

I am always searching for the perfect gift for people. If I find it in June, I will buy it for Christmas. Check out my pinterest board for some really awesome DIYs and products!

Follow Flowers in my Hair | NB Creative Inc.’s board Gifts on Pinterest.
Aren’t those prices reasonable? Like I said, they are my go to all year round but not going to lie, they will come in handy at Christmas. What is your go to?


Subscribe to the Monthly Newsletter!

* indicates required

Straight Mugging


So, I have been very busy trying to get this little blog off the ground. I do love her so. But I like to have a full plate at all times. You know how your plate looks like on a normal dinner night? Okay. You know how it looks like on Thanksgiving? That’s my plate. That’s how I like things to be. So I started a shop on Etsy where I am selling my wares–my wares being, yes, you guessed it! Mugs.

Personally, I love a good mug, not only to drink out, but to eat soup from as well. I also really love to put my pens and pencils or make up brushes in them. So much fun.

I am fairly artistic and very crafty but I needed to choose something I could do in my apartment. HAHA.

I tried to stick to four major categories–Downton Abbey, Beyonce, Mean Girls, and Harry Potter. What can I say? Who doesn’t enjoy a little Dowager Countess with her Beyonce? Tina Fey and Professor Dumbledore? A few of my mugs have veered off the beaten path…Nelson Mandela quote, anyone? As well as custom orders.


Here is my storefront.

This is the number one selling mug these days.






A very close second is this one, from Mean Girls.


Hope you are wearing pink today. This mug inspired me to make another from Mean Girls: “You can’t sit with us.”

Here are some from Downton Abby. I love them.

Matthew's Mug

Matthew’s Mug

Sybil's Mug

Sybil’s Mug

Dowager Countess

Dowager Countess

Dowager Countess

Dowager Countess

Find Mary’s mug on the site as well. She’s my favorite. Or maybe the Dowager. But I think the Dowager is Mary in 50 years so who knows?

The rest are just some I like:

"Who runs the world? Girls!" Beyonce

“Who runs the world? Girls!” Beyonce

The compliment mug

The compliment mug

"It's always impossible until it's done." Nelson Mandela

“It’s always seems impossible until it’s done.” Nelson Mandela

Finally HP. I love this set.

One side

The set.

So, go on and check out what other mugs we have. There are quite a few more, plus we do custom. Be sure to use the coupon code FLOWERS for 10% off because I love you, my blog readers. And don’t worry, I won’t let Straight Mugging ever come between us (and promote it like crazy)…it’s just, if you want to know what I’ve been doing with my week…I’ve been mugging. Straight mugging.





P.S. Stay Tuned next week for a big announcement. Oh, joy. Another difficult blog post to write. But I do love it–writing, it is.



Subscribe to the Monthly Newsletter!

* indicates required

Love it: Columbus & Tutu.

*Contest open until Friday at Midnight PST*tutulogoYesterday, I shared something difficult and personal. It’s no coincidence that I’m sharing this brand–Columbus and Tutu–and this artist–Kirsten Young–today. In fact, Kirsten and I are connected in a way that proves how powerful art can be. When I found out about my aunt, the first person I told was Chelsea. Throughout our friendship, I’ve always left Chelsea random notes, cards, verses, because I love cards and I love to color. So it meant a lot to me that a few days later, I received some snail mail. She sent me a card that touched me so deeply. It still stands out as one of the most important moments in this whole journey for me. And that’s how I met Kirsten…she made the card that brought me to my knees (the full story is below).Screen shot 2013-12-09 at 2.08.34 PM

I want to share Kirsten with you because I love what her brand is about and I think she is amazing. I also love hearing how the creative process works for others and thought you might too. Kirsten graciously answered a few questions for me. Finally, I’ll pick someone randomly from the comments and buy them the card of their choice, including a card from the Christmas collection.

First, where are you from? When did you start creating (in any form)?

That’s a difficult question, I was born in Zimbabwe and spent most of life in South Africa. I have also lived in England and now America. So I will say I am from many wonderful places, and love how each place has molded me a little differently. I started creating with my grandmother when I was little. My first loves were sewing, knitting, crotchet, woodworking and cooking. I discovered painting and printmaking when I moved to America a year ago and wasn’t able to work for a while.

What’s your happiest and/or clearest memory of art in your life?

Drawing with my best friend miserable, rainy weather. We drew really bad portraits of each other, listened to sad music and drank lots of wine. It was so much fun and I still have the portrait. She better still have hers.

tutu3How was Columbus and Tutu born?

I had a friend who told me about her dream to start a stationery business when we were on a hike. So by the time we reached the bottom of the mountain we already had a name and a spontaneous fire to start something new. By the end of the month we had drawn up our first line. Our name was sparked by the greats of our countries. Columbus represents the adventurer and discoverer and is symbolized by the telescope. Whereas Tutu represents the South African side (Desmond Tutu) and is symbolized by the national flower, the Protea, which stands for beauty and strength.  For me, being far from “home,” I value the lost art of writing letters and wanted to start that up, even though I am pretty bad with it!

I received a card from our mutual friend, Chelsea, after finding out a family member was seriously ill. It said: I have no idea how you feel but I care. It meant more to me than any I’m sorry anyone wrote or spoke because it was honest. Tell me a little bit about your tagline: Let’s be honest cards.

Cliché’s make me cringe. We wanted to start something that was real and helped people be honest, even if a bit blunt. Most of our cards are quirky and light hearted, but we loved creating a few that had a bit more depth. I feel so honored to hear that it touched you, thats really humbling. I am so glad that, that card was made, even if it was just for you.

tutu4Can you tell me a little bit about how each card is made?

We value community and bringing our friends into the brainstorming of words in the cards. Each card has a personal meaning or funny story behind it. We have had brainstorms of tag lines on road trips, over a girls night, over mass texting. My husband often comes up with the most ridiculous ideas. He originally wanted out congrats pregnancy card “heard you put on a few” to be a dieting card you gave to a friend, “because girls like dieting together.” Yikes!

I will usually design an image and card around the ideas we bounce around. It’s really something special to have your friends a part of the end product… It makes me feel supported, and I think its nice for them to see their ideas turn into something.

Close up of the amazing artwork by Kirsten of Columbus and Tutu (a christmas present from Chelsea)

Close up of the amazing artwork by Kirsten of Columbus and Tutu (a christmas present from Chelsea)

Speaking of Chelsea, she gifted me a gorgeous piece of yours for Christmas, of an elephant. I love elephants. Can you tell me a little about the process of this piece and how much you love elephants :)?

Oh I love elephants, I love that they seem clumsy and vulnerable, but so strong and powerful. Quiet giants, for sure.

That piece was formed over a print making class I have fallen in love with. Over 6 weeks we etch into plates, dip them in acid, burnish and print and repeat all of the above. It’s a really long process, but I have learnt so much about patience and delaying gratification through print making. It really value pieces that have a lot of detail and effort in them because it goes against every grain in me. It’s something really painful and frustrating for me to do, so I find a lot of beauty in it afterwards.

Do you foresee your artwork being apart of your Columbus and Tutu brand in the future?

Great idea, why not!

Screen shot 2013-12-09 at 2.09.11 PMWhere do you find inspiration?

There are some incredible South African illustrators I love… Ruschka du Toit, Katrin Coetzer, Lauren Fowler. But mostly I get inspired by little things in life, music, flowers, people, God, a nice feeling in the air, I don’t know ;).

What are three words that describe the brand Columbus and Tutu?

Quirky, honest, spontaneous.

tutu2Ideally (and I know that is a loaded word), where would you like to see Columbus and Tutu (and your other art) go in 2014?

Three goals –

1. We have started supporting two charities that we love with cards that they can use. E.g. the Aleph card for Aleph Surfing Organization. I would love this to develop into something that can help support things that excite us, even if it’s the smallest, tiniest way.

2. Start up a passion in people for letter writing and snail mail (and hopefully in me too)

3. Sell a LOT more cards somehow 😉

Screen shot 2013-12-09 at 2.08.14 PM

Love her! Remember to leave a comment and I’ll buy a random person the card of their choice! I think it so important to support not only small businesses but businesses like Columbus and Tutu. Anything of Kirsten’s is always amazing and now, knowing the story behind it all, I am an even bigger advocate.

Let’s be honest (just like the cards!),



Subscribe to the Monthly Newsletter!

* indicates required

Support Small Biz Gift Guide IV

favorite+things+3I’m excited to participate with Cheers Y’all and Down with the Dearmore’s in their Holiday link up again. The requirements are that everything be under $100. I added one more caveat to that because I really wanted to feature small businesses that make their own inventory. I always think it’s such a pleasure to support someone in their business and art and so I combined those two rules and this is what I came up with.

Some of these items would be less expensive if we could buy them at a big chain store but when someone is spending the time to create something and dealing with the overhead of the business, it isn’t as easy to have a 1$ aisle (not that I don’t shop in that aisle too.) So just remember that as the holidays become more commercialized there are plenty of resources and businesses who are following their dreams. I like helping them.

Here are some of my favorite stores, as well as places I asked friends to recommend. Enjoy!

Screen shot 2013-11-21 at 6.31.27 PMScreen shot 2013-11-27 at 12.16.21 PM1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11  12   13

  1. Metal Buckle Engraved Dog Collar//$27.99//Etsy: Shopmimigreen//Why it’s on the list: I think these are adorable and there are dog lovers in every family! Plus then you don’t here that jingling of tags. Haha. In all seriousness, all the other dogs on the block will be jealous of these collars.
  2. Harry Potter Typography Poster Platform 9 3/4//$15//Etsy: Entrophytradingco//Why it’s on the list: I own this. It’s amazing. What I love about it is that obviously anyone who is a Harry Potter nerd is going to freak out over it but if they aren’t it looks totally cool and graphic. Here it is on my wall. I love it!
  3. Love You Nightlight//$25//Artist: Rachel Evergreen SFMoma//Why it’s on the list: How cute. I mean, really. For a friend who is expecting? Or for anyone really! Except maybe my brother…
  4. Bookmark//$2//Etsy: EmDashPaperCo//Why it’s on the list: I love this store and I included the bookmark because I am surprising a friend who reads this blog with something else from them. I’ve given gifts from this store before and I’ve always had great results.
  5. Pardon my Swag//$12//Etsy: Michelledwight//Why it’s on the list: Now this is something I could get my brother…LOL
  6. Faux Deer Head//$89.89//Etsy: Whitefauxtaxidermy//Why it’s on the list: I love this. I want it for myself. I know so many people who would think this is the coolest thing on the planet. Don’t you? They have all kinds.
  7. Newlywed Ornament//$17.95//Etsy: Peachwik//Why it’s on the list: This store was recommended to me. They have all types of things but know any newlyweds? There are all types of styles.
  8. Ladies Quarter Zip Monogram Pullover//$40//Etsy: SEMbroideredBoutique//Why it’s on the list: A friend has this on her wish list in our college colors. We can’t help it; we bleed blue and orange. And while I wish our college colors were prettier, I love a good pullover and a good monogram.
  9. The Jessica Hammered Gold Necklace//$38.75//Etsy: BibandBob//Why it’s on the list: This is perfect for so many of my friends. I don’t know what else to say except I think the picture speaks for itself. For my close friends, the price is good and it’s an obviously thoughtful, handmade gift.
  10. Custom Illustrated Family Portrait//$75//Etsy: Chicksnhens//Why it’s on the list: Someone I know had their wedding invitations done by this store and LOVED the results. I know a couple of people who would love this. How cute would my friend Heather’s family be with this picture be illustrated?
  11. Day Designer//$55//Whitney English//Why it’s on the list: This is actually on my list. It’s not just a planner. It helps you achieve goals and brainstorm and plan. I really hope Santa gets my letter. Plus, so chic!
  12. Bombay Pillow in Fuchsia//$30//Esty:Belquist//Why it’s on the list: I think it is pretty obvious that I adore her pillows. Housewarming/Holiday gift? Love them and love the girl behind the brand. She really puts her all into it.
  13. Chevron Notepad//$13//Office Luxe//Why it’s on the list: This business is run by Mom and Daughter and has a great inventory of chic office supplies. I love these Chevron notepads but there is a ton of other things as well. And they just started carrying Kate Spade!

***In my other gift guides, I have also featured other shops including PearlsandPastries, Columbus and Tutu, and the Everygirl. I wanted to feature them again (because I adore them) but I have already featured them twice. But I still love them! Find them on my other gift guides here, here, and here.

‘Tis the Season to Support Small Biz,



Subscribe to the Monthly Newsletter!

* indicates required

Holiday Gift Guide (Part 1)

I love giving gifts…to the point where it can be a problem for my bank account. I just love finding the perfect gift for the perfect someone. Some people like matchmaking…I do this instead. And I think I am pretty good at it, too! So making a holiday gift guide made me really happy inside. So happy that I am also going to make two more for the next two Fridays because I have so many gift ideas! So, um, I hope you like it because I liked making it.

Either I own these items, I am asking for them this Christmas, or I am giving them to people this year. You would think: Nina, how is that going to work? What if those people read your blog? Oh, silly reader, (you’re not silly, I promise) don’t you know that I am horrible at keeping gifts a secret? Horrible. Beyond horrible. I just get so excited; I can’t keep it to myself.

Screen shot 2013-11-21 at 6.31.27 PM

Screen shot 2013-11-19 at 2.36.57 PM1    2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14

  1.  Mini Capri Blue Glass Candle//$12.00//Anthropologie//Why it’s on the list: I’ve said this before on this blog but if I was Oprah and if I had a television show and if I did a Favorite Things show, this would be a gift on the list every single year. I love the smell more than anything. It’s the perfectly subtle and dreamy. It  just makes everything right in the world. Then once the candle is finished, I have a glamourous container for anything. These minis are even more fun!
  2. Ceramic Jewelry Plate in Mint//$19.50//J. Crew//Why it’s on the list: Isn’t she lovely…Isn’t she wonderful…Doesn’t she like to display her jewelry?
  3. Luxor Pillow in Wheat//$30//Belquist (on Etsy)//Why it’s on the list: I won’t lie to you. These pillows are on my Christmas list. Hopefully, I’m not on the naughty list because I love the textile that is used and I can’t wait to see them on my gray bed. (Hint, Hint, Santa aka Mom!) Also, I love supporting women who make things. Period. I searched high and low for the perfect pillows with a hint of glint for a long time and as soon as I saw these, I knew they were it!
  4. Limited Edition Golden Monogram Mug//$10//Anthropologie//Why it’s on the list: Anthropologie is typically out of my price range but Nonna didn’t teach me nothin’ for nothin’. There are great finds at anthro (like the candle) that are totally within my price range (I just won’t be sporting one of their dresses for awhile or purchasing their bedding. Best of all, you can wander through anthro and live in a fairytale for FREE). Who doesn’t love a golden monogram? This is the perfect gift for your girlfriends or your boss (outstanding pencil holder) and really, who wouldn’t want to drink hot chocolate out of this (but probably not both without washing it)?
  5. Wine Bottle Basil Garden//$36//Why it’s on the list: I love Basil! And I love easy things like this. In fact, you can grow an entire herb garden this way! A great gift for moms or anyone who likes to cook (Nonna, close your eyes!).
  6. What would Blair Waldorf do? pencils//$8 for 6 pencils//The Carbon Crusader (on Etsy)//Why it’s on the list: Again, I love supporting a woman making things. She has a ton of pencils that say different witty sayings. What I’ve done in the past is buy some and add them to a group of gifts. Perfect gift for a friend: the mug, the candle and a pencil.
  7. Aromatic Stress Treatment//$80//Aromatic Irritability Treatment//$65//Aromatic Bedtime Treatment//$60//Tata Harper//Why they’re on the list: Because they WORK! These are the most expensive item on the list but frankly, I don’t know what I did before these oils. I happened to get a deal on them that since passed but I am giving these for Christmas to some people. Don’t be offended if you get the irritability one, okay? But in all seriousness. Yes, I am gifting these to a few people and it is all they will get because it is luxury. What is amazing about the brand in general is everything is COMPLETELY natural and you are paying for the PRODUCT not the packaging. I have many friends in beauty and they will tell you that when you pay for high end products that is where the money is going–the packaging. That ain’t so in Tata Harper’s case. I’m in love with these.
  8. The Original Sequin Hanger//$18//Pearls and Pastries (Etsy Show)//Why it’s on the list: Again, I love supporting women who make things. At first, you think, why does anyone need a sequin hanger? And then you realize: why does anyone not need a sequin hanger? I have one that hangs on a mirror and another I am planning to hang in the bathroom with a print. The hangers are very well made as well. What a fun unexpected treat, I say.
  9. Bubbly Gold Champagne Flutes (set of 4)//$34.50//Why it’s on the list: who likes champagne? This girl. I love these flutes because they have a Kate Spade feel without the price tag. I think they’re so fun.
  10. Scour the World Gold print//$30//Everygirl//Why it’s on the list: I just love this saying. And this blog. So I love this brand.
  11. More Adventures, Less Plans Card//$4//columbusandtutu (on Etsy)//Why it’s on the list: Again, I love supporting women who make things. I found this shop when a friend sent me a handmade card and gave me an early present of an art piece (hint: it includes elephants!). The card my friend sent me was perfect and honest and handmade. Again, this would be great to pair with a pencil and two or three of her cards.
  12. Keep Not Settling iPhone 5/5s case//$34//Everygirl//Why it’s on the list: I have a severe fear of settling. Let’s keep not settling. Blog post for later.
  13. Cabana Stripe Notebook//$16//Sugar Paper//Why it’s on the list: I love this list and I love this brand. I am very picky when it comes to notebooks and line sizing and this one is perfect and chic.
  14. Threshold Wood & Brass Bar Cart//$129.50//Target//Why it’s on the list: So it is expensive but what a great gift for a couple? Maybe your parents need a hip gift? Or maybe someone you know and love (a lot) that lives in an apartment would like it? Maybe your guy fancies himself a mixologist? I also happened to spot some gold, retro cocktail accessories at anthro.

Anything you’re adding to your Holiday lists? Anything catch your eye for someone else? Let me know!

Yay, Gifts!



Subscribe to the Monthly Newsletter!

* indicates required