kinda genius: universal wrapping paper

Confession time: I’m terrible at wrapping presents. I always have the best intentions. I walk by Paper Source’s windows and think, “Ohhh, that’s what I want to be!” I want to be one of those people with a gift wrapping station complete with a dozen different colors of washi tape and tinsel bows. I want to present my wedding shower gift and have everyone coo over the homemade tissue paper violets perched beside the bow. But, let’s cut the crap, I never am. I don’t have the time, money, or energy to make paper turkeys to decorate Thanksgiving cards. I always end up wrapping birthday presents in leftover Christmas paper. My cringe-worthy, rock bottom moment came when I presented a baby shower gift in a slightly used Halloween trick-or-treat bag.

There is hope for me yet! A light on the end of the horizon has appeared in Wordless Design’s universal wrapping paper. The paper allows you to choose your own celebration by circling the appropriate sentiment. Not only is the paper universally usable (cutting down on having to stock rolls and rolls of specific birthday, mother’s day, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, Festivus, etc. paper), but it’s also sharp, clean, and minimalistically appealing. Five sheets of this rad wrapping is about 15€.

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surpisingly clever entertaining advice from tori spelling

I remember years ago, perhaps in an early InStyle magazine or on Robin Leach’s Lifestyle’s of the Rich & Famous, I learned that Candy Spelling had a gifting room in her Beverly Hills mansion. In other words, she had a whole room dedicated to wrapping presents. Twenty years later we’ve all been Martha’d and the idea of having a space in our homes to wrap presents doesn’t sound preposterous at all. Indulgent, yes, but not preposterous.

Today, there is another Spelling stealing some of the spotlight away from Martha, and it’s 39-year old Tori Spelling. She’s grown up to be a professional mom-to-be (she’s on number four), reality show queen, web hostess and someone who gives really good advice on how to throw a party. Her new book, celebraTori: Unleashing Your Inner Party Planner to Entertain Friends and Family, is chock full of clever tips and insanely steal-able ideas. Here are a few gems of advice from Tori:

Always serve soda in liter containers
: When you put out cans, guest often take a whole can, drink a few sips, then set it down and abandon.

Make a Mood Board for your party: Tori suggests making a real one for your wall, but obviously a great way to do this is through Pinterest. Don’t just clip not ideas and recipes, but also colors, photo inspirations, music you want to play, anything.

Set your food as far away from the bar as possible. You want people to be forced to cross the space and mingle.

Give carnations a chance. Flower arrangements don’t have to be pricy. Just buy a ton of carnations in the same color and present them clustered in thick balls in short vases.

Deep clean the week before a party.
Then, plan to spot clean the day before and you can start with clean slate without wasting time.

For more party advice from Tori, check out this feature at iVillage, or click on over to amazon.com to purchase for yourself. It’s a keeper.

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a new take on campers: the cricket trailer

Another Wednesday, another vacation fantasy creeping into my head. Last week it was tree houses, this week, it’s campers. Just look at these beauties! They are from Cricket Trailer and they are made to order starting at around $15,000. They are made from lightweight, eco friendly materials (go Earth Week!) and are just the right size for a small family of three, like ours (sorta). Each camper is about 6 and half feet by 15 — or the size of my first NYC apartment. True, that’s tiny, but when the whole wide world is at your doorstop, who cares! You can customize it to suit your needs — adding kitchen, bathroom, storage and bunking comforts. Because Crickets are made to order, you need to “get in line” for yours. Roadtrip spring 2013, anyone? What a fun caravan we would make.

BTW, I spotted Crickets on Pinterest, via our friends at Charles & Hudson. Their other awesome and insanely inspiring site, Built by Kids was just nominated for a well-deserved Webby. Please vote for them here!

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forget hotels. now i’m treehouse dreaming

The thing about vacations is that as soon as one finishes, the next one starts blooming in your fantasies. As you know, lately I’ve been daydreaming about all the houses we can rent while traveling. That was until I came across Treehouse Point, a collection of Treehouses outside of Seattle available for overnight stays, weddings, events — even business meetings! I am sure a lot of creative thinking could be done up high with the birds — think of all the Hunger Game role playing you could act out up there. But a destination wedding would be really dreamy (leave the Tarzan jokes behind, please). If your night up in the canopy leaves you really inspired, you could take a treehouse building workshop. In three to five days, you’ll learn everything you need to “get off the ground on the right foot.”

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help! where should I eat in san antonio?

Last year, I called on Shelterrific readers to point me towards the best food in New Orleans. I ate like a queen during my trip (I’m still dreaming about Café du Monde) and so now I’m hoping to tap into your fabulous culinary expertise again. This March, I’m fleeing the chilly Chicago city limits and heading south to the land of legendary brisket for my first ever trip to Texas. I’ll be spending most of my time in San Antonio and one day in Austin. Help me out, y’all: where should I eat?

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