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Recession or not, the holidays are happening. For most of us, that's a good thing. After a tumultuous year, just about everyone is ready for a season to celebrate and the opportunity to express gratitude, love and good will. Because most of us still have a lot—and a lot of people—to be thankful for. So let the shopping commence! 2009 has been a more introspective year, and the season's gift giving is bound to reflect society's newly found thoughtfulness. At least that is what Krista Kolzik of Century House expects. "Because of the recession, people are putting more consideration into their gifts," says the designer and salesperson at the modern and Scandinavian furniture, house wares, clothing and accessories store on Madison's near-west side. So instead of stocking up on one-size-fits-all presents, shoppers are carefully selecting items for individuals. Kolzik says that could mean picking up a Forlife teapot and pairing it with some loose tea leaves for the Darjeeling lover in your life. Or she recommends a pair of Heath Ceramics mugs (some are handle-free—perfect for warming cold Wisconsin hands in the wintertime) and a pound of coffee beans for the java junkie. Both Forlife and Heath Ceramics blend modern forms and bold contemporary colors for fresh but never aggressive contemporary looks. Kolzik also recommends the NotNeutral line of house wares, including dishes, coffee sets and linens. The line's graphic cutout trivets and tea lights blend bright colors and mod shapes for playful yet functional pieces. Frank Lloyd Wright aficionados would love the namesake Architecture series Legos, which are good for kids and adults alike. There's no Taliesin, but you could recreate the Guggenheim Museum or the famous house Fallingwater. Fans of industrial materials and forms would enjoy the Nuance cylindrical nutcrackers that literally put a twist on expectations. A turn of a cylinder is all it takes. Even those pressed for time can find thoughtfully collected gift sets. For example, Marimekko combines a tea towel, cookie cutters and recipe in a reusable red and green tin. And though the word means "tiny" in Finnish, Pikku calendars make a big impact. A paper calendar is attached to a birch wood base, which is screen-printed with an original design. When the year is over, either replace the calendar or allow the base to function as stand-alone artwork. It's this kind of clever, stylish and yet useful gift that Kolzik expects to be popular this year. And despite any worries about a slow economic recovery, Kolzik believes the season will be a strong one. "A lot of people are really optimistic," she says. "I think people are really excited to go out and shop and find things that have quality and purpose." *SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION
his season it's all about the quality, not the quantity, of gifts. So this year's gifts ought to be extra-special. And we've done the hard part for you: shopped and picked out the cream of the crop for local gift-giving ideas. Be sure to stop in these local shops for these (and many more) present ideas that are personlized for your giftee's taste: modern, classic, glam, natural, and, let's not forget the younger set.
ots of families have food traditions that are important to them this time of year. Whether it is our mom's stuffing recipe or Grandma's cookie dough, the recipes themselves are links to our past. They bring back memories of holidays and the people who are near and dear to us. The recipes connect us to our family roots and comfort us as we remember family gatherings.
Check out from the craziness of the holidays—and into one of these local getaways
uring the shorter days of autumn, the early evening offers views of homes with golden light spilling out into the crisp air. Occasionally the glimpse reveals a dining table crowded with people. I love how warm and welcoming it looks.
Tabby & Jack's pampers our furry friends
Exploring the "Rock Elm Disturbance"
he mornings are crisp and clear. There is the rustle of leaves underfoot as we walk the dog. All signs point to the presence of autumn. And while we turn to heartier recipes, lightening up on calories is a yearlong goal. With that in mind, I turn once again to the Junior League of Madison's Mad About Food.
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magination is a powerful tool. You can go any way, visit any place. Sometimes, on a gloomy day, I take myself for a stroll down a Paris street in search of a patisserie.
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