This year I’ve been super inspired by all the fabulous gift guides that my favorite bloggers have been posting on their sites and pinterest. I have been running a gift guide series on my work blog, LowerOakLawn.com, and I’ve been having so much fun I just couldn’t resist the idea of putting together some entertaining focused gift guides for my readers over here.

I have a fairly well stocked set of party ware, so I am excited to guide other gift givers to some of my favorite finds! If anyone else is like me, they’re watching their purse strings this holiday season. As such, all the gifts listed below come in under $30. Despite their economical price tag, I think all these choices feel like big ticket items!

 

Ultimate Entertaining Gift Guide

Entertaining Gift Guide: Under $30

1. Gala Wine Glasses - Any entertainer can attest that you can never have too many wine glasses. Pick up a set of six Gala glasses (I prefer the 16 oz. versions) for just $24. I love how wine tastes out of them — they’re nice and thin. And with a price tag of less than $4 a piece, I don’t feel as bad when I break one! $3.95 a piece // Crate & Barrel

2. Giada Gourmet Panini Maker - I walked away from our family white elephant exchange with one of these puppies and now I’m obsessed! It works just as well as the more expensive models and grills everything from chicken breasts to sandwiches in a jiffy. It’s fun to feel like you’re having a gourmet sandwich every day of the week! $29.99 // Target

3. Oster Electric Wine-Bottle Opener - Every hostess loves a good gadget. This is the niftiest one I’ve found yet! Easy to use and practically foolproof, Oster’s electric wine bottle opener takes the hassel out of uncorking your favorite bottle of vino. My family gifted several of these last year and not only have they gotten rave reviews, they’ve held up too, standing the test of time! $19.49 // Amazon.com or your local grocery store

4. Chargers - Chargers are a fun, inexpensive gift idea for your favorite tablescaping friends. Assemble a set of 6 to 12 depending on your budget and package them with a cute bow. Chargers are something fun to have but I never think to buy them for myself. Several retailers sell chargers in a variety of great colors and I have seen these on sale frequently at craft stores this season. $1.50 a piece at Michaels // $1.99 a piece at Hobby Lobby // $ a piece at Walmart

5. Le Creuset Stoneware Mini Pitcher – I received one of these cute little pitchers as a gift and use it literally all the time. I use it mainly to water plants and hold little flower arrangements, but my favorite use is to serve wine. When I traveled to Italy this spring they would use pitchers like these to serve wine and I love to mimic this tradition for small, casual occasions. It’s less fancy than a decanter, but a nice change up from serving wine out of the bottle. They come in many colors (I have red) and you can find them for cheap at discount retailers like Home Goods and TJ Maxx. $9.99 // Home Goods or TJ Maxx

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Some girls are awesome at pulling off trendy, chunky baubles. I’m certainly not one of them. When it comes to jewelry, I stick to a few staples and layer other accessories as appropriate.

Silver has long been my go-to look. Not only do I love my silver jewelry staples, but each piece has a special meaning to me.

Kendall's Silver Jewelry Staples

Pi Beta Phi, Official Crest Ring; Swiss Army, Alliance Watch; Tiffany & Co., letter “K” pendant,

First is my Pi Phi Crest Ring. You’ll rarely (if ever) see me not wearing this ring. My mom gave it to me for Christmas several years ago and then again last year after I lost my first one. Looking at this ring reminds me of all the amazing friendships I’ve made through my involvement in the sorority over the years. It also reminds me to live the values of Pi Beta Phi: integrity, honor and respect, lifelong commitment, personal and intellectual growth, philanthropic service to others, and sincere friendship.

(While that’s special and all, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t secretly hope that someday I’ll have a cheeseball moment a la Legally Blonde 2 where a fellow Pi Phi recognizes the ring and we can do our secret handshake!)

My next silver jewelry staple is my Swiss Army watch. My mom and dad gave this to me as a gift last Christmas. Ever since I was a kid my dad has worn Swiss Army watches. I’ve always loved the look of their watches and was so excited to finally have my own. It’s waterproof and tough as can be, but still dainty and feminine. Exactly what I look for in a watch!

Lastly, but certainly not least, is my cursive K necklace. My cousin Katie gave this to me as a thank you gift for being a reader in her wedding. Katie and I not only share the same first initial, but also a friendship and sisterhood in Pi Phi. This necklace is so special to me and reminds me of Katie whenever I wear it. Plus, it’s so cute and it’s Tiffany’s — totally classic!

Kendall's Gold Jewelry Staples

Michael Kors, MK-5071 Gold Watch, Dogeared Wishbone Necklace

As it has become more trendy to wear gold jewelry recently, I decided I should pick up a few staples in this metal as well. I fell in love with the idea of the gold wishbone necklace after seeing Jennifer Aniston sport one in He’s Just Not That Into You. After lusting over it for almost a year, I was finally gifted this little treat. The wish bone is a symbol of luck and I always feel a little extra lucky when I wear it!

My Michael Kors watch is my most recent acquisition and I love it. I was a bit hesitant to try a larger face watch even though I know it’s trendy. I have small wrists and many boyfriend watches just look ridiculous on me. Luckily, my mom found this great style which is a bit bigger than I’m used to but still well proportioned.

I’m still searching for a ring to round out my gold collection. Let me know if you have any suggestions! And next time you see me around, check out my jewelry. I’ll likely be sporting one of the combos pictured above!

Do you have jewelry staples or do you have a different set of accessories for every outfit? Does any of the jewelry you wear have a special or significant meaning?

Filed in: Finds & Favs, Wear | 1 Comment »

Power Band

A couple of months ago when my mom was in town visiting I noticed a bright, white silicone bracelet adorning her wrist. Was it in support of a cause a la Livestrong, I asked. Nope, a neighbor kid gave it to her for helping her out with homework. “It is supposed to increase strength and flexibility” she explained. Disinterested and unimpressed by her lack of enthusiasm, I left it at that.

That was until last weekend when mom was back in town I was intrigued when I saw her still wearing the same bracelet. After a more rigorous questioning, this time, she instructed me to stand with my feet together and put my arms out so I was in a T position. “I’m going to push your arm down to your side. Try your hardest to keep it up,” she said. Yes, I’ve been slacking on the gym lately, but still I was surprised at how quickly she was able to defeat me. Next she slipped the bracelet off her wrist and onto mine. We repeated the same exercise. The results: incredible! I was much stronger than before.

We repeated it with a few other flexibility exercises and again I was wowed by the power of this magical little bracelet.

My mom explained that these bracelets were apparently “all the rage” with professional athletes and in Hollywood. So why hadn’t I heard of them?

Mom didn’t know the brand or manufacturer, so I ran a google search for “silicone strength flexibility” and PowerBalance.com came to the top. After a bit of research I learned that these $29.99 bands (which also come in neoprene and in the form of necklaces) are said to work by balancing the body’s energy with a small holographic disc that is on the band. Their site is loaded with all sorts of testimonials, (including some from some big name athletes like Lamar Odom & Shaq) but very little information about how the bands work.

The reviews on Amazon.com run the gamut. Some people swear by PB, others warn of scam. Some of the discussions are actually pretty heated which kinda makes me laugh. It costs $30. It’s a novelty. It’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t work, right?

The only good article I could find about the bands (besides the robust Press section they have on their site which is mainly geared towards pictures with celebs sporting the bands) was this one from the San Francisco Chronicle. The article basically says that the bands have no medical merit and chalk the phenomenon up to the placebo effect.

Nonetheless, after seeing this puppy in action, I seriously want one. This begs the question: Does being a believer make me a fool? Tell me what you think in the comments, or keep reading to read the research I did on how to get the best deal on a PowerBand!

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When I was a little girl, I loved to play with Barbies. I was constantly rearranging the furniture in her “dream home,” but when it came to dressing the dolls, I was at a loss. I forced my little sister, Bailey, to assemble outfits and dress all my dolls.

Fifteen years later, not much has changed. As much as I enjoy fashion, I just can’t seem to put together outfits on my own. Two to three times a year I invite my sister on a shopping spree where she chooses and pairs my outfits for the season. Bailey, guess what?! You’re off the hook! {Well, sort of.}

Cara Morgan & Holly Hargrove, founders of PeacockPlume.com

This spring two of my friends from high school, Cara and Holly, launched at an online boutique called Peacock Plume that caters to the budget-minded, fashion clueless gals like myself. Not only do they have an adorable collection of dresses, tops, bottoms, accessories and handbags, but they’ve paired most of their outfits into complete looks! And the best part — every outfit (including shoes and sometimes even handbags} costs under $150!

Outfits from PeacockPlume.com

{Meet the Parents, Secret Garden, Backyard Bash}

My first order will include the adorable “Romp ‘n Roll” romper pictured above, the 100% silk “Royal Treatment Tank” and the Frill Seeker Clutch in black. (For only $50 I might have to invest in the white one too!) I’m also contemplating the Boot Scottin’ Boogey Dress as a Fourth of July outfit. What do you think? Yay or nay?

They have plenty more outfits, many perfect party dresses! {Yes, of course I would tie this back to entertaining!} Be sure to go and check out PeacockPlume.com and sign up for their email list. They’ve been known to send out coupon codes to their subscribers, so it’s totally worth it!

Filed in: Wear | 2 Comments »

Sipatiniz: Spill-Resistant Martini Glasses

Martini glasses are effortlessly chic but notoriously spill-prone. How chic can you really look with a pink cosmo stain down the front of your shirt? Renee Williams, inventor of the SIPATINIZ, has come to the rescue! Pronounced sip-a-tee-neez, this  uniquely designed beverage holder is designed to  prevent spills while still serving up your favorite cocktails and mocktails in style.

Though price is a little steep — $74.99 for a set of four — you might end up saving yourself a bundle of cash in dry cleaning bills!

To purchase a set of Sipatiniz, visit Fabulous Touch Gifts.

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Get these Entertaining books for Free!

What is the one plastic card that is useful for party planning that doesn’t have the ability to hurt your credit score? Your library card! That’s right, my library card is one of my most valuable and inexpensive party planning resources. Read below to see how I discovered this precious resource and tips on how to easily find party books in your local library!

I’m a pretty avid reader and earlier in life I learned that having a passion for books could become a rather expensive hobby when you read as much as I do. I became a regular library patron in college when I learned that (for some reason) Ole Miss had an extensive John Grisham collection.

So when I moved to Dallas a priority was to find the closest public library. In a stroke of luck, I learned that the largest library in Dallas was just across the street from my office! About once a month I trek my way across City Hall’s concrete laden plaza, past the hobos and pigeons, over to the Dallas Public Library to browse for new books and enjoy a lunch out of the office.

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Filed in: Read, Series, Surprising Inspiration | 8 Comments »

Last week I entered a giveaway to win bar ingredients from Stirrings at one of my favorite entertaining blogs, Celebrations at Home. I can’t believe it but, I won! Just wanted to give a quick shout out to Chris and encourage my readers to check out her blog!

Filed in: Contests & Giveaways, Finds & Favs | Leave a Comment »

Blog LUV Award

My oh-so inspirational friend, Chris, at Celebrations At Home has picked Design by Kendall for the Blog LUV award! Thank you for thinking of me! I’ve had so much fun tracing the award back and finding all new fun and inspirational blogs! Now it’s my turn to blog it forward. For my contribution, and to keep the awards going, I’ve added a new award graphic! Now, here are the rules and ten blogs that I LUV!

Honorees please follow these instructions and share the LUV!

  1. Put the logo on your blog or post. (You can highlight the photo and text of this post and copy/paste wherever you need to…start your highlight from the bottom up to get the photo)
  2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show GREAT ATTITUDE and/or GRATITUDE
  3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
  4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
  5. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received the award.

I am going to try to share the LUV with some great blogs that haven’t been recognized yet! Drum roll please…My ten awards go to:

  1. I Hate Green Beans << My current fav!
  2. Create my Event
  3. Cupcakes take the Cake
  4. Snippet & Ink
  5. Michelle Rago Ltd. Blog
  6. McCain Blogette
  7. Chris Harrison “The Bachelor” Recap Blog
  8. Beebop Cola
  9. Totally Tabletops
  10. Setting the Mood
Filed in: Finds & Favs | 1 Comment »

Valentines Day Dish Towels

In need of a last minute hostess gift? Look no further than the $1 rack at Target! Target supplies cute and festive dish towels and pot holders for most every holiday. They range from $1.00 to $2.50 which definitely fits my budget! The valentines dish cloths pictured above made a perfect gift for the hostesses of last nights Bachelor watching party. Simply remove the tag and tie the towels together with coordinating ribbon for a homemade touch!

Filed in: Give, Valentines Day | 1 Comment »

Today I want to share some of my favorite magazines. I’ve also listed a few that I’m thinking of trying out. Leave your own reviews of the magazines listed here and let me know if there are any other must-subscribe mags out there that I’ve missed!

My Favorite Magazines

  • Real Simple– I have subscribed to Real Simple since I was 18. While it addresses many issues I’m not yet  facing – kids, in-laws, aging, etc. –  it is cross generational enough to keep my interest. I love the simplicity of their ideas and inspiration! Only one complaint: I have been rather unimpressed with the few recipes I’ve tried from this mag. They may be quick and easy but they aren’t always that tasty!
  • Martha Stewart Living – I started getting living when Martha’s new mag, Blueprint, was cancelled. I skip through the gardening parts but there are always great entertaining and decorating ideas. I rarely cook any of the recipes but the few I have tried have turned out really well.
  • Budget Travel – This is truly a multi-generational magazine. It is a great resource for travel planning, and it provides a great escape from everyday life! The different features give great ideas on non-traditional vacations and smart money-saving travel tips.

Magazines to Try

Here are a few more mags I have been thinking of trying but am not sure if I would enjoy. Does anyone subscribe to these? Please leave a comment and give me your feedback!

  • Domino – I don’t know much about this one other than it is a decorating magazine focused on younger readers.
  • Every day with Rachael – From what I gather this mag is focused on recipes. Is that true? Or is there more to it? Keep in mind, I’m not a great cook and don’t tend to try things with more than 5 ingredients.
  • The Nest – It looks so cute but I am worried it is too centered on newlyweds. (I’m very single!) I’ve never actually bought a copy so I don’t really know.

UPDATE: I emailed the editors of the three “to try” magazines listed above. I promptly recieved a reply from the Editorial Assistant at The Knot. She provided this description of “The Nest”:

The Nest Magazine is a controlled-circulation lifestyle publication for newlyweds and is not sold on newsstands. So who gets it in their mailbox? Members of our sister site, TheKnot.com, who have just gotten hitched. The good news is,  you can get all the great content from our magazine on TheNest.com, plus so much more. We have everything from home-buying and money advice to easy dinner recipes and décor tips, plus tons of relationship articles. You’ll also form online friendships on our addictively fun message boards. Become a member (it’s free!) of TheNest.com.

Filed in: Read | 4 Comments »

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