Gifting for the Humble Abode

Gift Guide 2017 - Home

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This year, home for the holidays has a special meaning for me because it’s the first time Tom and I will celebrate Christmas in our very own home. One of the first things I did in preparation for the Holidays was to go out and buy the largest tree that would fit in front of our windows. I’ve always loved a tree in front of a window because not only do you get to enjoy it, but those on the outside do, too.

When it came to thinking about gifts for the home, I gravitated towards really unique items that would really make a house a home. Those things that show others a bit more of your personality and make coming home feel special.

I really love the idea of pairing this acrylic book stand with a gorgeous coffee table book. I have lots and lots of coffee table books that I absolutely love and while they look good sitting on a shelf or the table, I’ve hardly ever seen a guest look at one. I like the idea that you could open your favorite book to your favorite page and encourage guests to thumb through it. Continuing with the book theme, I’m feeling like my bookcases could use a little kick. I love the idea of pairing these beautiful bookends with your most tattered and beloved books to create a beautiful contrast on your cases.

I also looked for items that I thought would make a space cozy and bright. I’m completely obsessed with these pillowcases by Elizabeth Few. I saw them first at Roxie Daisy here in Charlottesville and have been completely in love ever since. I also love the idea of using this coverlet during the holiday months. How amazing would an emerald green velvet coverlet look this time of year.

And last, but not least, those emoji notecards. Last year, I got some emoji cocktail napkins that I just love, and I wanted to continue the theme. My husband has been really into writing handwritten letters this year, and I love the fact that these pair the best of technology with a good, old fashioned note.

I hope you find something in here that will bring a special touch to the homes of those you love this year.

Merry Merry!

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White Space

As an art history major, I theoretically understand the importance of white space. Almost every work of art has it, and it’s almost always essential to making a beautiful piece. Yet understanding it theoretically is very different from understanding it practically. Practicality is really the realm of the artist. It is the artist that is skilled at saying this painting would be better if I didn’t put something in that space.

The problem with my theoretical understanding is that on some level I’m also an artist. I, like you, have many blank canvases in my life to paint. These include my time, my home, and my wardrobe among other things. I often find that these areas of my life are filled with too many things that I don’t love. One of my favorite authors, Leo Babauta, touched on how to remedy this problem in his article, “Too Much to Do, Not Enough Time.” He writes: “You have too many things to fit into your container, and you’ve decided to only put the important and beautiful things into the container. That means a bunch of things you think you “should” do are not going to fit.” What Leo is essentially instructing each of us to do is to become the artists of our own lives. When you boil it down, essentially the work of an artist is to choose – to choose to only depict what is most relevant and beautiful to the subject matter. And in order to emphasize the subject matter, the artist left out a lot of things he might have felt he “should” incorporate. For instance, think about the painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Picasso. What makes this painting truly beautiful and meaningful is really what Picasso chose to leave out. Rather than depicting the women as they actually were (as he probably “should” have done as a highly trained visual artist), he chose to depict only their most basic forms, and it is what he left out that makes this painting a modern masterpiece.

As you think about those blank canvases in your life today, and your hope that they be a little more beautiful and meaningful, I invite you to ask yourself, “what can I leave out?” You might just find that this white space is just the thing your life needs to truly come alive.