December 8, 2010 at 10:46 am , by Sara Dayton
I’m always thrilled to find gifts that treat friends and family to something special while giving back during the holidays (’tis the season, after all). This year I’m inspired by three sites that provide the perfect solution: original, affordable art that supports various charities.
1. The Working Proof
Founded with the goal of promoting art and social responsibility, The Working Proof donates 15% of every sale to a charity of the artist’s choice. With a new print released every Tuesday (and prices ranging from $25–100), there’s a ton of great options to choose from. Charities include Doctors Without Borders, The Jane Goodall Institute, and Smile Train.
2. Tiny Showcase
Tiny Showcase has a fitting name: Every week (also on Tuesday), founders Jon Buonaccorsi and Shea’la Finch pick a small piece of artwork to feature, turning it into a limited-run print edition that is sold on their website. They made donations a part of the site in 2005, and now a portion of each sale goes to a group chosen by the artists. Charities include St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Youth Pride Inc., and Oxfam International.
3. Creativity Explored
Based in San Francisco, Creativity Explored is a nonprofit visual arts center where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit, and sell art. If you live in the area, check out the studio—they welcome visitors. If not, you can buy the works online here. Creativity Explored splits the profits evenly with their artists, using their half of the proceeds to pay for local, regional, and national exhibitions of work produced in their studios.
November 24, 2010 at 11:51 am , by Sara Dayton
I’ve left the house to shop on Black Friday only once. I came home with plenty of bargain purchases, but I was also permanently scarred by the crowds of rabid shoppers. Now I spend the day after Thanksgiving eating leftovers and shopping from the comfort of my living room.
One of the most exciting parts of this year’s shopping craze is the number of stores using Facebook to promote their Black Friday specials. Instead of scouring the internet for deals, I’ll simply “Like” my favorite stores’ fan pages and they’ll send coupons and promotions right to my inbox. How convenient is that? As a bonus, many stores are also offering sweepstakes and giveaways to their Facebook fans. (Of course, if you really love the idea of free stuff, enter our Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway.)
For discounts and deals on everything from art and décor to home improvement supplies, check out the Facebook pages of participating sites like Lowes, Overstock.com, and Soap.com. And don’t think that only the big chains are using Facebook promos—many local businesses use the site to advertise special deals directly to their fans. You can show support for your favorite indie shops and restaurants this weekend on Small Business Saturday. American Express is giving registered Cardmembers a $25 statement credit when they shop at participating small businesses on Saturday November 27th.
So search around for your favorites, both big and small, and get ready to save!
How will you spend Black Friday–shopping online or in the stores? Or relaxing and recovering from a day of big eating?
November 17, 2010 at 10:14 am , by Sara Dayton
Thanksgiving is coming up fast, and I’ve barely started to think about what décor will grace my table this year. Luckily, there’s a great selection of holiday-themed products available online. Here are my top picks for a beautiful turkey day table.
1. Snap up a new platter
These serving dishes are from West Elm‘s collaboration with Sesame Letterpress, a boutique letterpress printing studio based in Brooklyn, NY. I especially love the Turkey Platter: it’s perfect for heaping piles of mashed potatoes or sliced turkey, and right now it’s on sale for $31.
2. Make homemade place cards
To avoid any drama when it’s time for my friends and family to sit down and tuck in, I’ll spend Wednesday afternoon making place cards and figuring out seating arrangements. Pick up rubber stamps and blank place cards from Paper Source—they have a wealth of Thanksgiving-themed options to choose from. If that’s not your style, try a simple floral design like the one at left. Use gold ink on a dark place card for extra impact. Read more
November 10, 2010 at 12:20 pm , by Sara Dayton
Whenever I feel like my apartment needs a change—which, I’ll admit, happens pretty often—I always turn to home décor websites for inspiration. The beautiful photos and products always give me great ideas that I can reinvent to fit my space and style. There are dozens of sites to choose from, and sifting through all the options can be overwhelming. To get you started, here are several of my tried-and-true favorites:
ApartmentTherapy.com provides a mix of house tours, product guides, and decorating and entertaining tips (the House Tours are my favorite: there’s something so cool about getting a peek into people’s homes, especially because they’re usually incredibly stylish). Apartment Therapy readers are a passionate crowd, so the Comments section on almost every post provides a second level of content that’s great for finding new ideas. And posts are added continually throughout the day, meaning there’s something new to read every time you visit. Read more
October 27, 2010 at 11:05 am , by Sara Dayton
I’ve always loved the spooky, ghost-story side of Halloween. Well, that and the chocolate. So this year, while I’m waiting for trick-or-treaters (and not eating their candy), I’ll curl up with Corinne May Botz’s Haunted Houses. Botz spent ten years hunting down ghost stories across America, and her book is filled with eerie photographs of more than eighty haunted locales. Even if you’re not a believer, the accompanying first-person supernatural accounts will send shivers down your spine. Go ahead, read the stories of those who lived through the creaking floors, apparitions, and cries in the night. But be warned: You might just jump out of your skin when that first trick-or-treater rings your doorbell. Get into the Halloween spirit with a few of my favorite stories.
October 14, 2010 at 3:08 pm , by Sara Dayton
Out of the corner of your eye, you see it: perfection. Maybe it’s just the right shade of purple to match that new duvet cover. Or a bold pattern with a jumble of colors that magically ties your whole living room together. Whatever the style, there’s nothing quite like the perfect piece of fabric. I can relate—I stumbled across the swatch at right a few months ago and haven’t been able to stop thinking about how great it would look with my sofa.
But now that I’ve made enough throw pillows to last a lifetime, I’m on the hunt for new ways to incorporate fabric into my decor. Here are my three favorite ideas (so far): Read more
October 7, 2010 at 2:28 pm , by Sara Dayton
As a recent transplant to New York City, one of the most exciting things about my new apartment was deciding where to hang all of my favorite pieces of artwork. Getting everything up on the walls was the first step in making my new digs feel like me. Although my bare walls were daunting, I’m happy to report that they’re now adorned with some of my favorite things.
Here are some tips and tricks I picked up during the decorating process.
1. Bring a friend. Aside from the usefulness of a second pair of hands, a friend who can offer suggestions and unexpected ideas is a huge help. And if they happen to be a whiz at home decorating, all the better. Read more