bonsai trees

Plenty of invites and so many bottles of wine are endlessly toted to party after party. It’s time to be more thoughtful with your choices of gifts you bring to the hostess.  As the style contributor for Marie Osmond's show, I shared a variety of choices that satisfy everything from a host with a sweet tooth to a green thumb.


Let the host have a reprieve from the kitchen. Bring the hors d’oeuvres so friends and family can have a chance to socialize before sitting down to the main meal.  Or if it’s a causal gathering watching football or playing board games, this mix of savory and sweet options from Hickory Farms satisfies everyone’s snacking needs. $25-65

The host has enough to deal with after the party cleaning up so make the next morning easy by filling a basket with gourmet goodies to take care of breakfast. If you’re spending the night, be sure to get up and make the host breakfast as an extra bonus.

Gourmet goodies and basket all from HomeGoods, $30

Sure you could bring wine, but if your host is a dog lover, why not bring treats for their animals. Make sure it’s a healthy treat and add a dog toy or canister to hold the treats.

Dog treats from

Does your friend have a green thumb? Everything he or she touches just grows with abundance?  Or perhaps a friend who would like to do some planting? Give them a garden they can grow inside or enjoy when the weather turns warmer.

Herb garden, butterfly habitat and bonsai trees from

Sweet tooth? Skip baking and bring the host some our her favorite candy and instead of wrapping it up put it into lacquer boxes that she can place on a coffee table or once empty use for jewelry. Going to home with kids then bring along Nestle holiday boxes with candy inside and trivia to keep them occupied.

Nestle holiday candy and lacquer boxes from Home Goods

The host has enough to take care of without taking out the camera and snapping lots of photos. Take the pressure off him or her and offer to take all the photos and instantly share with all the guests using the new free app from Familiar.

Free photo app from

Share one of your favorite recipes with the host and wrap it up in a new apron or pot holder, napkins and wooden spoon.  I’m a fan of sharing a carrot soufflé recipe that I make every holiday.

Apron, napkins, pot holders from

Carrot Soufflé recipe

A delicious side dish, dessert or breakfast!


1-lb. cooked carrots

   (I use a 1-lb. bag of baby carrots)

3 eggs beaten

½ cup sugar

½ cup melted butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

1/3 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon baking powder

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.

Cook carrots and mash them. 

Put mashed carrots into a blender and add milk. Blend.

         Mix all other ingredients together in a bowl. Then add mixed ingredients into blender. Blend again.

Pour into a butter greased round soufflé/casserole dish or small ramekins for individual servings. 

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour at 350°.

It will rise like a soufflé and get slightly brown on top.



Craft and work station, a tiny indoor forest and faux taxidermy. We're all over the place this week for our Friday Favorites, but we're certainly amusing and you've been telling us that you love our choices. We aim to please!

Alison's Pick

Redwood Forest Growing Kit, Overstock $48.49

Serenity now. I'm missing a green thumb so while I find joy in the thought of growing my own indoor forest and using the adorable scissors to trim it's lush greenery that couldn't house a hobbit; in truth I'd probably kill it. But as a gift this item is top notch and it comes in a steel box with blue ribbon so no wrapping required.

Christina Moffitino's Pick

Metallic Bark Pillar Candles, $23 Pottery Barn

Creating a winter world in your home is as easy as dimming the lights and sparking a candle. I'm really getting ready for the winter season by investing in chic holiday decor. They're perfect for holidays and still stylish enough to keep by bedside all year long. These candles create the atmosphere to pour yourself a cup of cocoa and relax to some  good ol' Christmas music. 

Street Swag

Lauren's Pick

Murphey Wall Mount Craft Desk, $140 Overstock

If you're like me and you have a passion for the crafts and/or you're trying to save a few pennies for the holidays by doing handmade gifts, then your room is probably a MESS! This murphy craft desk is a huge space saver and keeps all my artsy knickknacks all in one place. I use it for sewing, scrapbooking, stationary, jewelry, or sometimes just writing. It's the perfect gift for DIY-ers and crafty kids in the dorms. 

Endless Amusement

Christina Wright's Pick

White and Turquoise Deer Head, $110 Etsy

I need to find a way to convince my husband that we must have this faux taxidermy deer on our wall!! I am building a collage of frames in the living room, and this would be a perfect accent piece to add a bit of whimsy to the room. It's my favorite color too! Modern taxidermy, without actually killing animals...I like it!

Simply Modern Weddings

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