gift giving guide: allison's wish list

Our longtime contributor Allison Reynolds — and style editor extraordinaire — spent a day dreaming about her wish list. Here’s what she’s fantasizing about finding under the tree this year.

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Flocks Pouf, at DWR, $800. I love this!!!!

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Herend Moose, at Dinnerwareetc.com, $500. I triple love this, saw it in the window of a Jackson Hole, WY shop.

A Hydrangea Blue tree, at arborday.org, $4.50. Love!

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La Cornue CrnuFe Stove at Williams-Sonoma, $8,000. Oh yeah!

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Ladder No. 2 a painting by Robert Perillat. I want this painting; it’s in a Woodstock gallery. It’s also 8000 bucks.

A Donna Cole pet painting. I want a portrait of Owen Meany.

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Lucha Loco at AMMO Books, $50. I bought this for a friend.

Vixen Opera Glasses, at binoculars.com, $20. To see Hansel & Gretel better next month.

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Marni Short Sleeve Dress at marni.com, $925. To go with my Jimmy Choo patent leather Ramona bag (sympathy gift).

Katai Coat Rack by Chris Martin at the Artful Home, $1400. In person this is a work of art.

Want to see more of gift giving guides? Click here for Erica’s and
Leah’s
!

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leah’s ebay finds: aluminum christmas tree

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When I was growing up, our next-door neighbors had one of these aluminum Christmas trees, which they’d haul out every year and set up with a lighted color wheel turning its sparkly silver branches from neon red to yellow to blue to green and back again. I’m pretty sure my parents considered it the height of tackiness, but I thought it was absolutely magical.

I’d forgotten about it for years, and Christmas after Christmas my own family would drive out to the country to chop down a farm-grown tree — or, if our December weekends were especially packed, simply pick one up at a local lot. I always feel guilty and wasteful around January 2, when we toss the dried-out tree onto the curb for the trash pickup.

I recently remembered our neighbors’ space-age-style tree, and decided that I simply must have one. Not only will it work nicely with my favored holiday color scheme of silver and chartreuse with black accents — it turns out that, despite its glorious artificiality, a vintage aluminum tree (as opposed to a new, nonrecyclable fake evergreen, which uses all sorts of toxic chemicals and petroleum products in its manufacture) is actually a fairly Earth-friendly option. Plus, while new aluminum trees cost $300 or more, there are hundreds of vintage models on eBay starting at just 99 cents. I’m quite taken with the tree above, for instance, which stands 6 feet tall and comes with 46 pom-pom branches. Current bid: $10.

(P.S. Don’t forget the color wheel!)

See more of Leah’s great finds on her blog, More Ways to Waste Time.

From our partners

leah's ebay finds: aluminum christmas tree

shelter_ebaytree.jpg

When I was growing up, our next-door neighbors had one of these aluminum Christmas trees, which they’d haul out every year and set up with a lighted color wheel turning its sparkly silver branches from neon red to yellow to blue to green and back again. I’m pretty sure my parents considered it the height of tackiness, but I thought it was absolutely magical.

I’d forgotten about it for years, and Christmas after Christmas my own family would drive out to the country to chop down a farm-grown tree — or, if our December weekends were especially packed, simply pick one up at a local lot. I always feel guilty and wasteful around January 2, when we toss the dried-out tree onto the curb for the trash pickup.

I recently remembered our neighbors’ space-age-style tree, and decided that I simply must have one. Not only will it work nicely with my favored holiday color scheme of silver and chartreuse with black accents — it turns out that, despite its glorious artificiality, a vintage aluminum tree (as opposed to a new, nonrecyclable fake evergreen, which uses all sorts of toxic chemicals and petroleum products in its manufacture) is actually a fairly Earth-friendly option. Plus, while new aluminum trees cost $300 or more, there are hundreds of vintage models on eBay starting at just 99 cents. I’m quite taken with the tree above, for instance, which stands 6 feet tall and comes with 46 pom-pom branches. Current bid: $10.

(P.S. Don’t forget the color wheel!)

See more of Leah’s great finds on her blog, More Ways to Waste Time.

From our partners

post off: do you brine your bird?

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I have heard over and over again — from Martha on down — that brining a turkey before roasting makes a world of difference. Brining means to soak the bird in a large container, filled with salt water, and refrigerate overnight. This year I noticed that sites like Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table are selling pre mixed spice blends and brining bags. So now I’m a little confused — brining should be a blend of spices? And you don’t need a large pot? You can just wrap the thing in a big plastic bag? The reason I’ve always skipped this prep step is pretty simple — there’s never room in our fridge for a big pot. Does it really make the turkey better? And, can you really tell the difference between a fancy spice blend and just plain salt? Share your turkey roasting secrets here! (And if you want to read more about brining, check out this page at All Recipes.) — Angela M.

Looking for more Thanksgiving dinner ideas? Check out our Real Life Test Kitchen on Domino’s one-hour feast.

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real life test kitchen: prize-winning pumpkin pie!

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The other day, I happened to be browsing through PEOPLE magazine’s Country special. While I know nothing about country music, I am always open to new sources for recipes. And there, low and behold on page 74 was a story on “Blue Ribbon Pies” that featured four top desserts from four different state — it was too tempting to pass up! I decided to give “Cheryl Christiansen’s Pumpkin Pie” a try — how could the best pie in Kansas be wrong! My pie making experience is extremely limited (see previous post listing, below) but this seemed simple enough. Make the crust from flour, salt, shortening and 1 egg white. Roll it out and fit nicely into pie pan. Then, mix the filling: sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, two eggs, one can of pumpkin pack and one can of evaporated milk. Pour into the crust and bake for about 50 minutes. The result was a pretty damn perfect pumpkin pie. The filling was light and flavorful, the crust tasty but not distracting. Mine didn’t turn out quite as pretty as Cheryl’s — I’m still a novice when it comes to rolling dough — but I’d definitely do it again. Would be a great thing to bring as a guest to a Thanksgiving dinner! I couldn’t find the recipe online, so click through to the next page to read in full. — Angela M.

And, if you’re not a fan of pumpkin, but are in need of another dessert idea for T-day next week, I still LOVE LOVE LOVE Jamie Oliver’s Apple Pie. Click here to see that post!

Click through here for prize-winning pumpkin pie recipe. (more…)

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