Holiday Gift Guide, Published In Elegant Lifestyles Magazine

Holiday Gift Guide

In preparation for writing “Ideas to Take the Guesswork Out of Gifting,” I took a day off. Well, not really, but window shopping at a bunch of stores didn’t feel like work. I’d never written a Gift Guide before, so it was a challenge to think of people’s ages, stages, and interests and figure out what kinds of holiday gifts would be well-received.

That reminds me, hon–I have more holiday shopping to do!

 

Charming River Town, Frenchtown

In my recent post, Book Launch Buddies, I mentioned visiting Frenchtown, NJ and, hon, I have to tell you about this charming river town. It’s the kind of town I love and where Hubby gets hives–meaning he’s allergic to my ability to window shop in every adorable store!

After joining my writer friends at The Book Garden, I was walking through town when I spotted a familiar store, Lord Ivy.  So, that’s where it moved! The store, which had been in Summit for many years, was one of my favorite places to find lovely gifts, fun accessories and pretty tops. If I had time when I got off of work, I’d stop in to see what was new. (shout out to owner, Inge!)

I hope to visit again with my daughters or girlfriends. Hubby can come, too, as long as he finds something else to do while we take in the town.

The Borough of Frenchtown, comprising just over 1 square mile, was settled over 200 years ago. Variously known as the village of “Sunbeam”, “Sherrod’s Ferry” and other names through Revolutionary War days, it finally came to be known locally as “Frenchtown” in reference to a French-speaking Swiss immigrant who settled here in the late 1700’s. M. Mallet-Prevost left French military service before being called to the guillontine during the French Revolution. He bought a large tract of land from a local Irish landowner and settled down to a somewhat quieter life in west Hunterdon County.

Frenchtown, N.J. is a quaint little town at the western end of New Jersey’s State Highway 12, which cuts across beautiful, rural Hunterdon County on the Delaware River. The well-known River Bridge at Frenchtown crosses the Delaware to Uhlerstown and Tinicum in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The first train came to Frenchtown February 4, 1853. Frenchtown was served by the railroad for just about one hundred years. The former train station is now a cafe. The old railroad right of way is now a hiking/biking path.

Photo Sources: Love Frenchtown, Huffington Post

Creepy Cowboys and Other Oddities

Giant arrows and teepees outside a shop in between Durango and Mesa Verde, Colorado.
Giant arrows and teepees outside a shop in between Durango and Mesa Verde, Colorado.
Old West store front.
Old West store front.
Propped up and its not even a movie set.
Propped up and its not even a movie set.

Forget online shopping, catalogs, t.v. and newspaper ads.  Nothing says, “Pull your car over RIGHT NOW and SHOP HERE” than giant arrows and teepees!  Hon, Hubby hates to shop but even he was curious about what we’d find inside.

WARNING:  Do Not Proceed Reading This Post if you are an Animal Activist.  It might be the 2000’s, but the West is still wild and animals skins and taxidermic animals are everywhere you look.

In my last post, Window in the Wild West, I mentioned stopping at the Roadkill Cafe and getting the heebie jeebies in the back room.  I don’t know why going to the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan doesn’t bother me.  Maybe its because the animals have been there so long.  Maybe its because they’re behind glass.  Or maybe because you know what you’re going to see.  Whatever!  Hubby, Tween Daughter and I gaped and gawked…all under the watchful eye of The Sheriff!

 

Buffalo jaw bones.
Buffalo Jaw Bones.

I’m not sure who would buy Buffalo Jaw Bones and what you’d use them for.  The sign says, “The Historical Native American War Clubs.”  Umm, really?  I haven’t read any American history text books that mentioned this but, then again, those text books were probably biased in favor of the Colonists.  So, maybe war clubs were kept out of the mix.

Turtle Shells.
Turtle Shells.

Here’s another head scratcher.  I asked the saleslady what on G-d’s green earth would you use these for and she replied, “Indians used to make rattles out of them.”  That’d be a mighty big rattle for little hands.  Even if they were used for rattles back then, what about now?

Pelts.
Pelts.

Le’s face it, fur is warm (and feathers).  I bet, if you lived in Siberia…or on the North Pole…or in Antarctica…or on some very high mountain in a wooden hut, you’d rather have fur (and a down comforter) than something made of Thermoloft.  Not to knock modern technology (I have many coats made with Thermoloft), but ecology and evolution will outlive and outperform all of us humble humans.

Porcupine.
Porcupine.
Taxidermic wall.
Taxidermic wall.

Consider the next photos sorbet to cleanse your palette.

Not odd.  Pretty rugs and wraps.
Not odd. Pretty woven rugs and wraps.
Beautiful strands of turquoise.
Beautiful strands of turquoise.
Need a lasso?
Need a lasso?

Now for the strangest things we saw. 

Varmint Tails.
Varmint Tails.
Varmint Faces.
Varmint Faces.

I have three questions about the oddities above.  1) What would you do with a Varmint Face?  2)  Unless you’re making a Davy Crockett hat, why would you buy a Tail?  3) Who says “Varmint” besides actors in a shoot-em-up Western movie?

And then there were the Creepy Cowboys.  

The first one sat friendly-like outside a store in Old Town Albuquerque. He was strange but he didn’t scare me silly.

Creepy Cowboy #1.
Creepy Cowboy #1.

Tween Daughter and I came around a corner and realized we were being watched by The Sheriff!

Creepy Cowboy #2.
Creepy Cowboy #2.

I actually said, “Hi.”  When The Sheriff didn’t answer, I figured he was the silent type!

Have you seen strange things in your travels?  I’d love to hear what curiosities and oddities you’ve seen.