By Jef With One F
By Pete Vonder Haar
By Abby Koenig
By Olivia Flores Alvarez
By Jef With One F
By Christina Uticone
By Angelica Leicht
By Altamese Osborne
Digital photography continues to get more affordable. Two introductory cameras to consider are Fujifilm's FinePix A101 and A201. They retail for $180 to $250.
Cantoni Furniture accessory buyer Sarah Gibbons says the stores carry a variety of one-of-a-kind gift items from all over the world, like hand-blown stretch vases and quirky teapots. Go to www.Cantoni.com or visit one of Can-toni's local locations.
Now she can travel in style with her pup or kitty in tow with the Sherpa Bag by Sherpa's Pet Trading Company. Fea-tures include adjustable shoulder straps, large zippered compartments, and deep interior and exterior pockets and a choice of black, green, navy, or red. To order, call 800-743-7723 or go to www.SherpaPet. com.
Scrapbooks are a wonderful way to record, reminisce and cherish memories. Make her one or show her how using Simple Scrapbooks ($19.95 soft cover, $25 hardcover, published by Creating Keepsakes magazine). The book is de-signed to help scrapbookers get started and finished in one weekend and will help a mom, child or friend preserve me-mories without sacrificing huge amounts of time. To order, call 888-247-5282 or visit www.creatingkeepsakes.com.
Patriotic Christmas ornaments from Vaillancourt Folk Art are in high demand this season. The American Red Cross will receive 10 percent of the proceeds from sales of the ornaments. To order, call 877-665-2244 or visit www.valfa.com.
Get her inspired and give her hope with New Psalms for New Moms: A Keepsake Journal. With its nondenominational prayer-poems and multicultural illustrations, this book/journal is a thoughtful gift for any mom. It takes her on the journey from pregnancy through the first year of her baby's life. Comple-ting the journals sections results in a personal memoir. Available by calling 800-458-3766 or clicking www.amazon.com.
Specific gifts for. . . Wife or Girlfriend
For the mom with a little one, check out the myriad offerings from Mumsies in Highland Village (4029 Westheimer, 713-850-1999), $100. This store proves that diaper bags, baby totes and maternity wear needn't be drab. Other great places to find gifts for moms and moms-to-be include Cowboys and Angels (Uptown Park, 713-622-5437) and A Pea in the Pod (2367 Rice, 713-522-3400).
Or, get away from it all without leaving the kids too far with a romantic evening of dinner and a room at the Houstonian Hotel, Club and Spa. 111 N. Post Oak Lane, 713-680-2626.
Another luxurious idea is a custom outfit from Vanessa Riley of London Vanessa has helped dress ladies for the Grammy Awards and Oscars, and carries a full inventory of over 700 items for sale at any one time. "It's all luxurious women's wear in fabrics like silks, organza and cashmere," Riley says. "We can make any dress to fit any size within two weeks during the holidays. We do luxurious gowns and one-of-a-kind designs, so you can have your dream dress." Riley also carries a collection of silk velvet scarves and novelty handbags for under $100. Gift certificates are available for $50 and up.
A stocking stuffed with fetching accessories could be lots of fun. Consider filling it with python print headbands, a small box of Godiva chocolates (multiple locations, 713-623-4707), and a Body Shop (multiple locations, 713-626-7144) gift certificate.
Why not help her kick back with a bottle of wine from Spec's (multiple locations, 713-526-8787), elegantly wrapped in a velvet wine bag from the Pottery Barn (4011 Westheimer, 713-627-8901) Add fabulous Christmas CDs from Cactus Music and Video (2930 S. Shepherd, 713-526-9272), and she'll be ready to relax on her days off.
Brighten up her desk with a permanent flower arrangement. There are some lovely ones available at La Maison (242 West 19th Street, 713-869-2441).
And like always, gift certificates for a day at a spa are a sure thing. See the spa section for details.
Sister, Aunt or other relative
Who doesn't love sumptuously scented candles and gorgeous candle holders? Plenty of options can be found at the Longoria Collection (Uptown Park, 713-621-4241), Paula Fridkin Designs (713 981-2022) and Loft N Home (1009 Missouri, 713-522-5638). More affordable selections can be found at Wicks n' Sticks (multiple locations, 713-627-0919) or the Candle Ware-house (multiple locations, 251-580-7890).
Beth Woodman, owner of Tu Chez (1906 W. Alabama, 713-533-0818), suggests treating that special woman to fresh table linens ($18-$250). Striking pottery, from functional to arty, is also a great gift for an office desk or home decor. Find items in all styles at Tu Chez, Houston Potter's Guild Shop and Gallery (2433 Rice, 713-528-7687) and Latitudes South (1837 W. Alabama, 713-520-1233).
Sleepovers are a ritual for girls growing up. Send her off in style with an Angels Slumber Party Bags from Cowboys and Angels in Uptown Park (713-622-5437). The monogrammable bags come in a variety of patterns and hold a sleeping bag, pillow, pajamas and more. She'll trea-sure an heirloom piece of antique jewelry for years to come. Past Era Antique Jewel-ry has a vast selection. 2311 Westheimer. 713-524-7110.
Portraits are popular gifts, and understandably so. What better way to capture a moment in time than with a picture of her beloved family? Photographer Kim Herzog Bonner (713-722-7273) specializes in portraits of kids and holiday cards. This mom of four, ages four to ten, shoots in both color and black and white.