Top: Lauren Conrad, Kohl's
Shoes: Guess, DSW
Bag: Betsey Johnson, gifted
Belt: Wet Seal
Easter flowers still going strong (at least until recently).
Some gorgeous beach blossoms for which I'm (thankfully) not responsible.
In honor of the first official day of summer, I made this Sunny Saturday Necklace. On a Saturday, as it turns out, that was somewhat less than sunny. If the pendants are familiar, then it's because they're made from the famously value-priced Haskell earrings from Boscov's, or, more accurately, from the equally famous (or perhaps I should say infamous) Boscov's tent. The tent and store were packed, and the salespeople were muttering, "Why aren't these people at the beach?" (I was there on Friday, not the partly sunny Saturday.) Apparently, choosing between catching a wave and a sale is no contest.
The start of summer doesn't just mean tent sales. It also marks the end of the celebration-surfeited spring, and with it, the standard gift-buying season. And I should know, as I come from a long line of enthusiastic gift givers. Exchanging tokens for all occasions is a fine tradition and keeps things fun and festive. But it does present one problem; with so much gifting going on, it's not uncommon to grapple with what-do-I-get-this-time syndrome? Indeed, when faced with choosing items for loved ones, it's all too easy to fall into the giving-what-you'd-like-to-get trap. I always thought that the idea of picking out presents that you secretly wanted was nonsense, especially when my seventh-grade Sunday school teacher advised us to do just that for our Christmas Pollyanna. Or at least I did until I ended up with a stuffed moose sitting atop a plastic dome of questionable candies. "Why didn't you listen to Mrs. McPreachy (not her real name)?" I silently demanded of the gifter. "Surely you wouldn't want this holiday horror." I should mention that it wasn't the monetary value of this offering with which I took issue (especially as it was probably just within the $10 cap that typically accompanies such exchanges). I would've been thrilled with a Bonnie Bell lip gloss. No, it was the complete lack of thought that triggered my disappointment. That and the insinuation that I was the kind of girl who would appreciate a glucose-bearing game animal.
That having been said, when I'm shopping for others, I try to strike that all-important balance between choosing something that's appropriately thoughtful (that's the giving-the-kind-of-gift-you'd-want-to-get part) and appropriately them. As in, put down that neon pink and chartreuse zigzag print sweater that you think is totally awesome and pick up the solid oatmeal waffle weave one that your sister wants instead. If you're struggling, then just try to imagine how disappointed you'd be if you unwrapped the oatmeal sweater. At least, that's the mantra I live by.
Such restraint is especially important when shopping for men's clothing. Men don't get a lot of choices when it comes to fashion. They have their stripes and their plaids and their checks, all in manly (which is to say toned-down) shades of red, blue, black, brown, green, and gray. So, it's difficult to get something that doesn't look like everything else in your brother's or dad's or boyfriend's or husband's closet. That's why it's tempting to pounce on a pink polo or an orange and green madras plaid button-down. Don't do it. (Unless, of course, the man in question is peacock enough to be into that sort of thing.) It's better to get something similar to something he already has that he likes rather than something different that he'll probably hate. Even if it means having to say, "No, this isn't the same red and blue checked plaid shirt that I got you for your birthday; see, this (Father's Day version) has a subtle grid of yellow running through it."
Then again, sometimes surprises are welcome. This past Easter I received an unlikely item in the form of a purple flowering plant (I don't know what it's called, although I remember that I can't pronounce it). I say unlikely because I'm not the most nurturing of plant guardians, unlike the husband, who's kept a St. Patrick's Day clover plant (complete with leprechaun head pick) going and thriving since March. So, when I received the plant, I immediately told myself, "You'd better keep this thing alive." I watered it (almost) every day after that. To my surprise, it lived and even sprouted new flowers until just last week when it finally succumbed to the heat. Although it lasted for almost two months, its demise still made me sad, reminding me that flowers are fleeting. That's why I walked to the beach tonight to take a few pictures of the flowering dunes. I'd noticed them yesterday when I was without my camera and knew from years past that they don't last all summer. Just this April I missed out on the cherry blossoms in front of the library, and I wasn't about to go through that again.
Because when you get down to it, capturing the wonder of nature is more important than finding the perfect present. And as they say, living in the present is present enough. And as I say, it's nice when you find just the right corny saying to bring your post full circle.