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Gift Selections from Fred Flare

by Jamie Sanford on December 17, 2010

Online shopping can be just as exhausting as in-store shopping, especially if you’re frustrated about not being able to find what you want. It’s easy to go on Amazon and look for things, but now is the time to start shopping the smaller vendors that are still offering guaranteed delivery by Christmas.

One of my favorites is Fred Flare. If you order by EOD on December 17th and spend more than $75, you get free shipping! In addition, their page with shipping info and delivery times is really well done, and I have great appreciation for that.  Here are some of my favorite items from the Fred Flare site.

Sparrow Hooks!  The set of 2 is available for $20. I’ve been trying to find a way to hang my purses on the wall in my bedroom without it turning into a hot mess, and I think that cute hooks like this might be the answer.

Skull Christmas Tree Ornaments! $18 for the set of 4. This perfectly combines my love of gold tree decor and skulls on things.  My whole tree is scattered with gold, I would have to buy at least 2 of these sets so that I could have the gold skulls spread throughout the tree.  I wonder if they will be on sale after Christmas?

Russian Nesting Doll Measuring Cups.  These are very cute, can totally sit on the counter, and don’t take up the weird space in drawers that my current set of measuring cups does.  The Russian Nesting Doll Measuring Cups are $16.

The positivity glass.  I do not tend to always be the most positive individual, so this would be a good reminder that my glass really is half full and that I should quit my bitching.  $14 from Fred Flare.

I would not have this in my house because I’m sure my husband would be very WTF IS THAT about the whole thing.  Even though you could definitely store something in here that isn’t lollipops but is still on a stick of some sort.  Mostly, I enjoy bird things.  The Jonathan Adler Peacock Lollipop Holder is available for $99.

What did I say about birds? That goes almost double for owls these days.  I have a few owls on my tree, I wore an owl necklace yesterday, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like another, especially if it is this cute. $22 at Fred Flare.

Forget Me Knot Ring – I don’t care so much about the implication that this ring will help you remember anything, I just think it is really cute.  It comes in silver or brass, either choice is $54.

Photography is my other great love, and I would buy cameras all day if I had money and space.  Fisheye lenses for my DSLR would cost me at least $500, so this cute camera for $75 is a great deal.  This is actually a film camera though, so that has to be kept in mind as well.

So that’s it for my Fred Flare current favorites. I am always on the lookout for new stores to check out, let me know what your favorite online shops are so I can shop there too.

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Shopping for Holiday Gifts? 5 Tips To Get Moving!

by Jamie Sanford on August 13, 2010

I asked a group of my colleagues the other night if they had started their holiday shopping and they were shocked that I had suggested it. I had a similar encounter on Twitter where I talked about having started my holiday shopping already and getting messages back saying things such as “WHAT?”  I knew immediately that I needed to offer my tips on fulfilling your holiday shopping list to my readers.

The Tree at Rockefeller Center.

This famous tree will be up in no time!

Why is everyone so surprised by this? There’s no reason why holiday gifts need to be purchased around the holidays, unless you’re shopping for someone who must have the absolute latest gadget—some tech toy purchased in July may conceivably be outdated by December, sure. But most other gifts have staying power. In addition, I don’t know anyone who actually enjoys going to a store after Thanksgiving.

So, I’ve purchased 3 or 4 holiday gifts so far, smallish things but I’m working through my list. It’s not as if the major holidays won’t come around this year, so why not start gift shopping now?

Here are my top 5 tips for getting into early holiday gift shopping. (Note that these ideas can also apply to your year-round gift shopping, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.)

1.  Keep notes! Your friends and family probably drop subtle and not-so-subtle hints all the time about things they like and are interested in. If you think someone is consistently hard to shop for, remember this tip and it will be much easier in the future. My husband saves emails that I send him about things I like and revisits them later when it is gift time.

2.  Expose yourself to opportunities for saving money! I have been having a ball checking out the daily sales from the following websites. The first 5 are mostly focused on product purchases, but Groupon has daily deals on things to do or see in your area – and most of the experiences you can buy can be redeemed within long period of time, completely making this viable for holiday gift shopping.

Gilt Groupe
Beyond The Rack
Swirl by Daily Candy

Leave a comment below if there are other sites in this category that readers should check out.

3.  Set a budget. This process is much faster in general if you have a hard number in mind as a budget for each gift you are going to give. It makes snap decisions very easy, especially when using the deal-a-day websites. If it is above your budget, let it go. If it is below your budget, great – this can work especially well if you get a really hot deal on something. Keep in mind that smart shopping means that a small budget can go a long way!

4.  Go “shopping” in a real store, or at the mall. As much as I love the Internet, you can’t see everything online. There is a lot to be said for window-shopping, and it can really help to jog your memory—passing a display of perfume can remind you that your mother-in-law mentioned liking/wanting it. I highly recommend doing this memory-sparking shopping early in the week, at night. This is the time I find the mall to be the quietest. Feel free to take notes (or photos with your cell phone if you prefer), and order the items online when you get home. You might be able to find a much better price online, but the experience will help you nonetheless.

5.  Have fun! I know I’m not the only one who really gets a kick out of giving gifts that really makes the other person happy. I’ve been told that I’m great at finding holiday gifts (hence this blog), but for the most part, anyone can do it if you put some thought into it.  It really does bring a great feeling and it is worth the effort—there really is no need to default to buying holiday gift cards!

Here’s a great 30-second clip from 30 Rock, where Jack discusses the beauty of gift-giving. It pretty much sums it all up. The clip is gone now and I can’t find it anywhere. The best quote from Jack Donaghy is this:

“Gift giving is the purest expression of friendship. I’m going to think about what I know and like about you and that will lead me to the perfect gift, and you do the same.”

Please post your early shopping tips in the comments!

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