Monday, May 31, 2010

Back to the Beach House

Growing up, I was always fascinated by my mother's gift chest. Cards for every occasion, perfectly wrapped gifts purchased for no one in particular, and rolls of wrapping paper and ribbon lay waiting, like puppies at a pet store. Her philosophy was simple: when you see a card or a special gift - especially one that is also an amazing bargain - purchase and store in the gift chest. Mom did not believe in scrambling last minute - gifts were to be purchased with thought and care - and presented at the appropriate time. Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, and I think Coldwater Creek is an amazing place to collect the perfect "hostess gifts" you will inevitably need. Four blissful, sun-drenched months of pool parties, weekends at beach houses, barbecues, and rooftop cocktails lay ahead, so why not start a gift chest of your own? Coldwater Creek is on 69th and Third, but you can also access some items online.

What a perfect "frame" to give when visiting someone's beach house. Add a personalized picture of their child, or pet, and go down in gift giver's hall of fame! It's only $19.95 and can be purchased here.

I think the chair would delight my friend Jane Green, author of Beach House and several other terrific books to read while you are on the beach.

But back to Coldwater Creek - how whimsical and fun are these beach birds?

A bag of decorative shells is the perfect compliment to a glass bowl or vase - less expected than flowers and just as beautiful.

Or three beautiful candles in dropped-glaze bowls of azure blue on a wooden platform - long burning and scented "ocean breezes." For under $25, this is a steal.

A collection of summer gifts on the center table:

The beautiful little book above is a gem - a perfect gift for Erin, the creator of one of the most beautiful sites online, House of Turquoise.

You can go here to read the complete interview with the author, Roger Housden. His philosophy for creating this book rings very Back to A.

When I have not known what to do with myself or where to turn next in my life, my deepest consolation has usually been to spend some quiet time in solitude. There, I am usually able to return to myself. In times such as these, my companion is likely to be a book of poetry. Unlike prose, poetry does not explain things. It conveys the feeling of what happens. It articulates our deepest wonderings and aspirations, it shows us the world and ourselves in ways we might never have noticed before; it can name the questions that we wrestle with. Sometimes, it can prompt you to live your own answers in response. All of the ten poems in this book have done this for me. The essays that follow them are a response to the poems from my own life experience. Poetry, like anything else, is no miracle cure; no quick formula that you can apply to kick-start your life into action and fulfillment. Nor are the essays that follow the poems. But good poetry emerges from the wellsprings of the human spirit, and if we are in the right place in ourselves to hear it, it can call forth our own inarticulate knowings, and offer a mirror into the core and the truth of our own life. It can show us the spark, the fire at our center, which, in the end, is the only thing in us likely to endure; the only thing worthy of our true name. That fire is the real life in us, and it is this, in their different ways, that the poems in this little book invite us to claim. The book is little because there is no need to overstate its case. These ten great poems are more than enough to send a shudder through your bones and remind you who you are and can be (for that is the real question). More than enough, too, to help you feel without fear the emptiness that can well up when you are faced with the big canvas of life, and, seemingly, no paintbrush.

I was so lost in the beautiful little book that it took a couple tugs from Harold to focus on his ultimate find. . .A 16 piece dinnerware set in the design of Back to A!

Harold thinks self-gifting is too often undervalued. 


Erin said...

Scrolling down I had to have a closer look at that lovely book! Then I saw you mentioned ME! Too funny! Yes, it would be absolutely perfect!

I think the idea of a gift chest is a great one...I'd love to start collecting gifts!

Thanks so much for the kind mention!

Trece said...

I raced right over to my library to get Beach House. Looking forward to an air-conditioned night of reading!!

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