Category Archives: gifts

Etsy Mondays: Amy Alexander Designs

We all know how much I love the collage-y statement jewelry trend. Well, at least, we should — remember my wedding bracelet from Etsy seller Tatty Chic?

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Which, by the way, I had given one of my bridesmaids to hold in her purse that night, and just finally got back from her TWO MONTHS ago. And I see her ALL THE TIME.

Well, I wanted to talk about Amy Alexander Designs for my first Etsy Monday, because her pieces are so amazing. If I were getting married now, instead of two years ago, I would totally be buying up everything in her shop.

Antique Bronze Flower Pocket Watch Necklace Jewelry by Amy Alexander Designs

Shop owner Rebecca Harris uses both new and vintage components in her creations, like this pocket watch necklace made from a filigreed clock pendant, white enamel and metal flowers, a pink glass rhinestone, and a brass chain.

Gold Bracelet, Wedding Bracelet, Bridal Jewelry, Beaded Cuff, Wedding Accessories by Amy Alexander Designs

I think if this were my listing, I’d call it “The Amazeballs Bracelet.” Handcrafted by a golden-toned double-layer butterfly with glass rhinestone detail, a metal emerald green rose, green resin flowers, a white-and-gold Swarovski rhinestone flower, gold-plated leaf and flower embellishments, and a white enamel flower with a rhinestone center.

Wedding Brooch Bridal Pin Bridal Broach Wedding Broach Gold Jewelry by Amy Alexander Designs

Her pieces would work equally well for a vintage or modern wedding. I was always looking for one-of-a-kind items like this to give my bridal style a unique edge. This brooch is handcrafted from a pastel green resin rose, vintage opal, wildflower with gold-toned trim, and gold-plated leaves.

Some more of her amazing creations (click on any image to be taken to its listing):

White Flower Bridal Hair Comb , Wedding Hair Piece , Crystal Rhinestone Wedding by Amy Alexander Designs Cuff Bracelet , Sage Green Beaded Bracelet , Wedding Cuff , Peacock Bracelet by Amy Alexander Designs Bridal Ring, Ivory Wedding Ring, Flower Jewelry by Amy Alexander Designs White Rose Wedding Earrings , Gold Plated Dangle Earrings , Turquoise and Topaz Bridal Accessories by Amy Alexander Designs

And by the way, Rebecca didn’t pay me in any way to rave about her jewelry — I just stumbled across her shop and had to give her a shoutout because her items are so unusual and sweet.

Check out Rebecca’s shop, Amy Alexander Designs, if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind piece for your bridal look, or just for your jewelry collection in general.

XOXO

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A New Baby

I have an announcement to make!

Um, no. Not that kind of announcement.

THIS kind of announcement:

FrannyandFranky Etsy shop!

 

I’ve opened my own shop!

Because I don’t have enough to do in my spare time. You know, taking care of an 8-month-old boy, working full time, writing a book, and trying to spend time with my husband just leaves SO MUCH empty time for me to run a graphic design shop.

But I’m having the best time.

This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while now. Back at my last job, when I was going through the darkest, “I hate this place” times, I talked to a friend of a friend about taking action and creating my own destiny. She asked me what, if time and money and everything else was not a factor, I would want to do. I toyed around with graphic design and started taking some online tutorials, but then ultimately decided on interior design.

You know, because looking at pretty blog pictures and rearranging my living room meant I should run my own interior design business.

So I went to night school, part time, while working at a horrible job. And after a year, I got a different job (my current job, which I’m totally not leaving anytime soon) and I took a semester off and I realized, hey, I don’t want to be an interior designer, I just don’t want to do what I was doing at my last job anymore.

The good thing about that year in school, though, despite the additional student loan debt that it racked up, was that it got me through the worst times at my previous job.

The other good thing is it showed me that I have more talents. More passions. And that if I want to do something, I should do it.

I’ve always wanted to write a book. I’ve always wanted to get into graphic design. And you’d think having a baby would totally tank all those dreams. But instead, it’s somehow motivated me. Maybe I want to be a good example for my son. Maybe I need an identity aside from “mother.” Maybe he’s just inspiring me to create. Whatever it is, it’s a blast.

SO. What am I doing in this little shop of mine?

State heart maps

State map heart prints…

City map heart prints

City map heart prints…

State typography, slogan, and motto art prints

State typography art prints…

Wedding guest book alternative heart map from Franny & Franky Designs on Etsy

Custom wedding date and wedding guest book alternative art prints…

Typography art print from Franny & Franky Designs on Etsy

Typography prints.

Plus, I’m doing custom orders for specific cities, color combinations, and special holiday orders.

A few special deals:

  • If you like Franny & Franky Designs on Facebook and click on “My Etsy Shop” below the cover photo, you can purchase any of our prints from that portal and receive a 10% discount.
  • We also have several “print package” deals on our custom orders page — 2 prints for $25, 3 prints for $40, or 4 prints for $50.

So… what have you been up to?

xoxo

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Holiday Gift Guide: Picks for the Brand-New or Soon-to-Be Mama In Your Life

Now, I’m no mom yet, but when my husband asked me to make a wish list of Christmas gifts for him to go off of, you could certainly tell what was foremost on my mind. Being due in February, my main concerns are upcoming comfort and style, along with personal items like jewelry and beauty products — with a mom-ly twist.

Based off my own wish list, then — and with the caveat that a lot of my reasoning is based on “I’ve heard” and “I think” — here is a gift guide for the brand-new or soon-to-be mama.

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1. Your Name Here Silk Necklace ($400 14K gold, $80 gold fill or sterling silver, COATT). I still think this is the most ingenious and stylish piece of “my kid’s name” jewelry — way better than any birthstone or silhouette concept. I’m too superstitious to ask for this before I even have the baby, but I would love to own it at some point — in fact, a certain somebody has a birthday coming up in August (*hint*hint*wink*wink*).

2. Vintage Kaleidoscope Locket ($65, Etsy). I love lockets. I don’t even put anything in them, but I love the idea of a piece of jewelry you put sentimental stuff in, and a locket necklace is especially sweet, with a visual memento close to your heart. This is a really stylin’ locket that would make any new mama look totally hip, even when she pops it open to show you a picture of the dreaded drooling babe. Bonus: a shiny toy to distract babe when upset/fussy/etc.

3. Kate Spade New York “Idiom” Ultra Thin Bangle ($32, Nordstrom). This is a really sweet way to get the new or to-be mama in your life a one-of-a-kind piece engraved with her child’s name or a simple phrase to remind her of all she means to you. It’s especially sweet that whatever you choose to engrave it hidden against her wrist, known only to you and her — and whomever she chooses to show.

4. Timex Weekender Strap watch ($53, Timex). I never wear watches, but I’ve been on a watches kick lately. I’ve been pinning awesome watches left and right — perhaps because the mama-to-be in me knows that there will soon enough be plenty of appointments and more reason to keep time than “I need to meet a friend at Starbucks in 15”? My hands won’t always be so free as to reach for my iPhone when needing to check a clock.

5. Enamel Locket ($90, Alder & Co.). Another amazing locket piece that is so simple and so chic.

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6. Bobbi Brown Beach Body Oil ($30, Bloomingdale’s). All I want to do is pamper myself, and after giving birth to another human being, I’ll totally deserve it. All I hear about is the postpartum period where all of a sudden you smell like blood and pee (yours and another person’s) and milk and spit up and your body odor changes and you barely have time to shower. Wouldn’t this be wonderful to slather all over after a quickie shower to make her feel totally special and pretty?

7. NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer ($42, Beauty.com). I am one of those chicks who can’t leave the house without makeup. It’s not that I’m vain (OK, I guess it is that I am), but I have had bad acne since I was 13, and so I’m a little sensitive about my breakouts and red marks. While my routine isn’t exactly in-depth — just some mineral foundation and powder, blush, mascara, and lipstick — I have the feeling there will be even less time for it soon. A beauty balm like this would be amazing and cut things into fractions.

8. Motherlove Sitz Bath ($14.25, Amazon.com). I love the idea of a postpartum kit for new mamas, a little basket of items they can use to make themselves feel so much better. Made from organic ingredients like sea salt, witch hazel herb, and yarrow, this is formulated to soothe the perineum, slow bleeding, reduce swelling, and ease hemorrhoids. Plus, it has a zero rating on EWG’s skin deep database. Isn’t that so much nicer than Epsom salts?

9. Clinique “All About Eyes Serum” De-Puffing Eye Massage ($28, Nordstrom). OK, so you might not want to give this as a gift if it’s not specifically asked for (it’s sort of like saying, “You look like shit, here, take care of that… please.”) but it is such a thoughtful addition to the new mama’s beauty repertoire. Because as much as I have no plans to leave the house for some time after birth and think I really won’t care all that much about my appearance, we’ll have enough visitors that I wouldn’t kick a product like this out of my cosmetic bag.

10. Drawstring Jersey Pants ($34.95, GAP). Yeah, I want to live in pajamas for at least six weeks after giving birth… but lounge pants are at least classy enough that you’re not welcoming close friends and family in your ratty jammies. Plus, I’m awfully sick of the same two pajama bottoms that have fit me for the past six months.

11. New Mama Bottom Spray ($14.95, Earth Mama Angel Baby). I live by the Earth Mama Bottom Balm for certain prenatal… um… *conditions*, so it stands to reason that this blend of water, witch hazel, cucumber, kosher vegetable glycerin, and lavender and peppermint oil will be just the thing a new mama needs to soothe herself without feeling like she smells like a pharmacy.

12. Maddox Zip Clutch ($75, Fossil). This isn’t really baby-related, true, but I really need a new wallet and I love the pop of color and mod design of this one. OK, maybe I can make it baby related — I need a bigger wallet to show off all those pictures of Bean when he comes. (Do people even carry pictures in their wallet anymore? Oh, well — I’m going with it).

13. Medela Sleep Bra (from $14, Amazon.com). I’m planning on breastfeeding, and if the experience of others is any indication, I’m going to be quite large and sore in just a short handful of weeks. These sleep bras come highly rated and would be the perfect little piece of soft sleepwear for that soon-to-be mommy.

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14. Handpainted Still Life Monogram ($48, Anthropologie). I’m always on the lookout for fun design pieces for the home, and I love how versatile these are. You could buy just the new baby’s initial, or spell out their name, or spell words like “Love” or “Home” — anything that might strike the new mama’s heart.

15. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Standard AutoFocus Lens ($104.99, Amazon.com). Known as the “nifty fifty,” this is a great, cheap little lens for taking indoor shots — like, oh, of a newborn baby? Since I just bought a Canon T2i a few months ago, I would love something like this to add to my camera bag — especially since we opted not to purchase a newborn photo session.

16. Felix Weekender Duffle ($137, Deux Luxe). How amazing would the mama-to-be in your life feel waltzing into the hospital with a bag like this to hold all her daily essentials? Birth is gonna be a big ol’ deal, and I would love to add a little sparkle to my stay.

17. The Graphic Canon, Vol. 3: From Heart of Darkness to Hemingway to Infinite Jest ($21.47,  Amazon.com). Along with a plethora of movies and television shows, I myself would love something to read — but who will have time with a new baby? Something like this that’s more visual and easy to digest might be just the thing that the literary mama in your life needs to distract her from the trials of early childhood.

18. Nursing Shawl (42, Seraphine). Most nursing coverups, to me, scream “I’m nursing under here.” And while it’s really not that big of a deal, I love something a little more sophisticated and soft like this bamboo/viscose blend. It can be used six ways — as a nursing shawl, a poncho, a scarf, a cape, a wrap, or a swaddling blanket — which makes it a huge bang for your buck.

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19. One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book ($11.53, Amazon.com). I love journals, especially as gifts, and something like this is just perfect for the new mama with no time to jot down all of her thoughts. I adore the idea of taking down just one line a day and then being able to look back five whole years at how things have changed.

20. San Ysidro Hobo diaper bag ($299, Danzo). Diaper bags are either really crappy looking, or super expensive. I’ve found maybe one affordable one that I would be able to stand carrying around (I’m a snob, I know). This one totally would break my bank, but it’s so incredibly gorgeous. All of Danzo’s bags are amazing, but I love the lines and color of this one in particular. And since I don’t plan on carrying a purse in addition to a diaper bag, I need all my style in one.

21. World Map art print ($56, Famille Summerbelle). As different decor items catch my eye lately, I find myself thinking about how they tie in with a new little human. This beautiful print is great for adults and children, looking so modern but imparting plenty of education. It would look great in a living room and playroom alike.

22. Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool Washable Plaid Blanket ($118, Amazon). The baby’s already got plenty of blankets — swaddling blankets, receiving blankets, handmade blankets, hand-me-down blankets. What about mama? As I cozy up on the couch with Bean or cat nap while he naps (hopefully), a cozy Pendleton blanket is just the thing I’ll need to make me feel safe and warm — even if only for 5 minutes at a time.

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23. Luxury Plus Slippers ($32, Restoration Hardware). I love slippers, and I have none. We have two pets and I never get around to cleaning more frequently than once a week, so I always get dust and dirt on the bottom of my feet when walking around, which makes me feel gross (our house isn’t that dirty, but come on, we don’t have a maid or anything). I caught word that these are the most wonderful slippers around, and am now totally lusting after a pair to take me throw those postpartum days.

24. Kimono Style Robe ($65, Plum Pretty Sugar). Who doesn’t appreciate a pretty robe to lift the spirits? Again, since I’ll likely be living in pajamas and loungewear for an indeterminate amount of time come February, a beautiful robe from Plum Pretty Sugar totally fits the bill for helping me feel comfy but put together enough for company.

25. Tieks ($165, Tieks). The next best thing to slippers, these super-comfy flats are great for all occasions, from lounging around the house to grabbing the mail to taking a walk around the park with the new little one. They’re even great for those late third trimester days when nothing but flip flops fit (seriously, I had to buy a new pair of pumps for my baby shower just because none of my shoes fit, so I’m hoping this new size my feet have arrived at is a permanent deal, because even though the pumps were a $30 Target deal, I’d hate to have spent that money just for a few swollen weeks here at the end).

26. Lace-Waist Hiphugger Panty ($10.50, Victoria’s Secret). OK, here’s the deal: None of my underwear truly fits. I can make most of it work, but it’s just basically covering the barest of essentials. These are so pretty, don’t slip, and in cotton, are basic enough to comfily hug even the sorest of lady bits. Once the new mama in your life can transition from granny panties, a bagful of these would be much appreciated.

27. Netflix subscription (from $4.99/month, Netflix.com). OK, this wasn’t on my wish list because I already have Netflix, but you can bet your sweet bippy that I’ve saved pretty much every TV show known to man, from Cheers to Felicity to LOST, for viewing pleasure during those initial weeks of nonstop nursing and sleeplessness.

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