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Marvelous Moms: Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2012

by Mark Thompson
EDGE Style & Travel Editor
Sunday Apr 29, 2012

Remember when you were a kid and your entire class made Mother’s Day gifts for your mothers? Pipe cleaner cherry blossom trees and tissue paper flowers?

And your mother was so happy that she put your sorry little centerpiece on the dining table, so that all through dinner you kept staring at your handiwork, thinking how pathetic it really looked - and especially next to the silver bowl from Tiffany’s that your father gave to her.

In truth, there’s nothing as good as the gift of time.

After all these years, what your mother most wants from you is time. Time with you.

This year, head home and take your mother for a walk along the beach or through a garden or into a park. Pack a lunch and sit with her - and listen. Listen to your mother - and when she’s finished, hand her a gift and remind her how much you love her.

Mothers are marvelous - and yours is one of the best - because she’s yours.

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It’s Me: For Her

When we were young, we used to pore over our mother’s college yearbooks, flipping through the pages, staring at the young women in white dresses, corsages on their wrists. So many sorority girls in the spring of their lives, heading off to a dance with their beaux.

If your mother is eternally young at heart, still the young woman dressing for a homecoming weekend, still waving from the float, then it’s likely that she’ll be immediately entranced by Jacomo’s latest fragrance for women, It’s Me: For Her.

Youthful and effervescent, It’s Me: For Her is packaged in a spray bottle that evokes a smartphone, which means the fragrance fits into even the most discreet minaudière.

A burst of pineapple and orange citrus opens the fragrance like a Fifties dessert served at the Waldorf-Astoria. Bright fruit notes blend into a lovely heart note marked by freesia and lily of the valley, evocative of the nosegay your mother wore the night she met your father. You can almost see the lipstick stain on the flute of Champagne.

Founded in the late Sixties by an American art collector and a French pianist, the Jacomo boutique in New York was a haven for aficionados of fashion and luxury. Their popular fragrance Jacomo de Jacomo launched in 1980 to become one of the top ten fragrances of the decade.

One of the signatures of Jacomo fragrance has been a graceful and elegant dry down. It’s Me: For Her has basenotes of iris powder and sandalwood, which linger on the wrist as hauntingly evocative as the nosegay on your mother’s wrist when she was the epitome of youthful promise.

Give your mother a gift of It’s Me: For Her - and return her to that rush of romance that marked her sorority days.

PRICE: $45.00 / 1.7 fl. oz.
LINK: It’s Me: For Her

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OKA b. Footwear: Madison Pink Ribbon

Remember how your mother cared for you when you were sick and in bed? Compassion and empathy, that’s what mothers are made of, which is why your mother is certain to respond to your own compassion when you give her a gift that helps others.

Oka B. footwear teamed with the American Cancer Society to create an exclusive breast cancer awareness shoe called the Madison Pink Ribbon. This limited edition "spa for the street" slide combines reflexology and comfort - as well as compassion - for a shoe that your mother will wear proudly.

Oka B. has donated thousands of free shoes to women battling breast cancer as they undergo treatment - and for every pair of Madison Pink Ribbon slides sold, Oka B. will donate $10.00 to the American Cancer Society.

Made in the USA from recyclable materials, Oka B. cares as much about reducing its carbon footprint as it does about creating super-comfy shoes that will make your mother smile. Waterproof and bacteria-resistant, this is a shoe that your mother can wear when she’s singing in the rain.

Show your mother how well she taught you the lessons of compassion - with a gift for the women of the world.

PRICE: $30.00 / online only
LINK: OKA b. Footwear Madison Pink Ribbon

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Blue Chair Fruit Company: Mother’s Day Gift Set

Some of your mother’s favorite memories of family life are probably centered around meals you shared together (apart from the time she tried to cook egg foo young for Thanksgiving...).

If you’re serving brunch on Mother’s Day, then you’re going to want jams and marmalades that evoke some of the best memories of shared summer meals.

Founded in 2008, this artisanal jam and marmalade company located in Oakland, California is famous for unusual flavor pairings, such as Quince-Orange Marmalade, Orange-Kumquat Marmalade with Cardamom & Saffron, and Apple-Meyer Lemon Marmalade. Blue Chair Fruit Company produces as many as 100 flavors annually, using exotic fruits such as Pink Pearl apples, white guavas, tayberries, and bergamots.

Working with local farmers, Blue Chair jams and marmalades are made entirely by hand with sustainable farmed fruit and cooked in tiny batches in French copper jam kettles for the best flavor possible.

The Blue Chair Mother’s Day Gift Set includes one jar each of Strawberry-Rose Jam, Lemon Marmalade with Cardamom & Lavender, and Greengage Plum Jam, presented in a gift-wrapped custom box with gift message.

After tasting some of Blue Chair’s delectable creations, your mother might also be interested in "The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook" (2010), which contains more than 120 recipes for making jam and marmalade (and which received a James Beard Foundation Award nomination for "Best Food Photography").

Go ahead, slather those crêpes and pancakes, toast and muffins with Blue Chair jams and marmalades - and let your mother sink into a reverie about the persimmons she used to eat in her grandmother’s backyard.

PRICE: $34.00 / gift-wrapped box of three jars
LINK: Blue Chair Fruit Company Mother’s Day Gift Set

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Effen: Black Cherry Vodka

Yes, it’s true: some mommies like to drink. And good for them, we say. After what they’ve gone through with you and your tap dancing around the dining room, they deserve a smart cocktail.

One of the most swellegant vodkas on the (oversaturated) market right now is Effen’s Black Cherry Vodka. Just in time for Mother’s Day - and cherry blossom season - this vodka is smooth enough to be guzzled from the bottle - or, rather, we mean, served neatly on the rocks. Made from premium Holland wheat, which enables a silky liquid, Effen Vodka is distilled hundreds of times - that’s right: "hundreds of times" - to insure a balanced and crisp vodka. Hence the name Effen, which comes from a Dutch word meaning "smooth and balanced."

Rather than adding sugar to their elegant elixir, Effen uses vanilla, which imparts a lovely and light cherry vanilla finish. Add a touch of chocolate liqueur and you’ve got something far more delicious than those cloying chocolate covered cherries. Featured at New York’s Fashion Week, Effen Black Cherry Vodka was a hit when mixed with mint, lime, and Champagne.

If you have yet to offer a bottle of Effen as a host/ess - or Mother’s Day - gift, then you’re in for a treat. Sheathed in a sleek polymer sleeve (which retains the chill), Effen bottles are stylish enough to be lined up on a console or patio bar trolley for service by the pool. (So chic are the bottles that they’re showing up on Etsy, turned into drink tumblers...)

With its black polymer sleeve, Effen Black Cherry Vodka is perfect for the mother who appreciates Faye Dunaway and David LaChapelle. Which is why she loves you so much.

PRICE: $30.00 / 750 ml
LINK: Effen Black Cherry Vodka

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(Mother’s Day Gift Guide continues on next pages...)


Bungalow360: Eva Hummingbird Reversible Tote

Was your mother a bit of a hippie? Did she wear flowers in her hair and flash the peace sign with her big, happy smile?

Some mothers stay forever young, still radiating the love and joy that marked the Sixties and Seventies. If your mother still believes in helping Mother Earth and saving the sea turtles, then she’ll be thrilled with a gift from Bungalow360.

Started in 1998 as a handcrafted handbag business, Bungalow360 is an eco-friendly, fashion company with legions of fanatical devotees. Now sold in over 2,000 stores, Bungalow360’s entire collection of totes, bags, wallets, and accessories are made of 100% natural cotton canvas and water-based ink - and completely vegan.

Bungalow360 founder Susie Pusch and her husband Franz create all of the "earth happy" company’s original designs and prints, which are available in a variety of colors. Best of all, the Puschs and Bungalow360 play it forward with donations to their "Powered by Love" program, which donates solar power to various nonprofit service organizations, such as no kill animal shelters.

Made of lead-free natural cotton canvas, all the tote bags are reversible (for those days when your mother’s wearing pink peace signs or yellow smiley faces) - and come with a silver peace sign zipper pull. As colorful - and practical - as your mother, a Bungalow360 reversible tote is perfect for the beach or the market - or her next protest on Wall Street.

In truth, the Eva Hummingbird Reversible Tote is so adorable that you might consider buying one for yourself, which would fulfill that desire you’ve always had for you and your mother to have matching handbags.

PRICE: $29.00
LINK: Bungalow360 Eva Hummingbird Reversible Tote

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Aveda: Stress-fix Soaking Salts, Rollerball Concentrate, and Body Lotion

Here’s an interesting factoid that we read in a recent study: nearly 70% of mothers admitted that they lock themselves in the bathroom - merely to get away from their families and to enjoy a little private time.

Think about it. Remember how stressed your mother was when you told her that you were...going to be an actor. And how stressed your mother was when you decided to take a year off college and return to your old bedroom. How about the year that you went goth and painted your bedroom black? Let’s face it, you worked your mother’s last nerves, so it’s no wonder her bathroom door was always locked.

Which is why your mother is certain to appreciate Aveda’s Stress-fix Soaking Salts. After all, if your mother is locking herself in the bathroom, she might as well be enjoying a long, leisurely soak in an aromatherapeutic tub.

Aveda’s new line of Stress-fix aromaology products is all about replacing tension with relaxation. Infused with essences of lavender, lavandin, and clary sage, Aveda Stress-fix Soaking Salts are formulated with sugar and mineral-rich salt and pure essential oils. The salts soften the bath water and since Aveda Stress-fix Soaking Salts are certified organic by Eco-Cert, your mother can soak happily, knowing that she’s supporting sustainable agriculture.

There’s also the Aveda Stress-fix Concentrate portable rollerball applicator, which utilizes the same formulation for a pocket-sized stress reliever. Glide the rollerball over your mother’s pulse points, on her wrists and around her neck - and watch her face light up. She’ll be putty in your hands. Just imagine if she’d had the Aveda Stress-fix Concentrate those nights that she was driving all over town looking for your sorry ass.

This year, give your mother some Aveda Stress-fix relief - and remind her how well you turned out, in spite of all the tats.

PRICE: $90 / pre-wrapped gift set of three items
$40.00 / 16 oz. soaking salts $22.00 / 7 ml. rollerball $28.00 / 6.7 fl. oz. body lotion
LINK: Aveda Stress-fix Soaking Salts, Rollerball Concentrate, and Body Lotion Gift Set

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Banfi: Rosa Regale

It’s likely that at least one of your siblings will give your mother a box of gourmet chocolates. Why not trump them with a bottle of Banfi Rosa Regale? A sparkling, semi-dry dessert wine, Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto complements chocolate beautifully - from chocolate mousse to an étagère of chocolate macarons.

According to legend, Cleopatra coaxed her lovers into drinking gourds of Brachetto, the better to unleash their amatory passions. As red as a ruby, Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto smells like a pint of freshly-picked raspberries. A faint hint of summer roses wafts from the flute as the crisp bubbles rise to the air. Haunting and seductive, the fresh berry flavors pair nicely with the velvet smoothness of chocolate.

If you’re hosting your mother for Mother’s Day brunch, Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto works beautifully with crêpes or French toast. And at meal’s end, you can regale her guests with the legend of Cleopatra - and toast to your mother, the original empress.

PRICE: $20 - 25
LINK: Banfi Rosa Regale

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Urban Moonshine: Joy Tonic

Yes, of course you’ve always been your mother’s little bundle of joy. But sometimes mother needs her little helper - to get her through the day.

If your mother is less inclined to reach for the gin than the gingko biloba, then it’s likely that she’ll enjoy a little Organic Joy Tonic from Urban Moonshine.

A small family business based in Vermont, Urban Moonshine seeks to return herbal medicine to everyday life. Urban Moonshine’s line of tonics are formulated with some of the world’s most restorative herbs, which help to increase energy and the body’s natural defenses.

Urban Moonshine’s Certified Organic Joy Tonic helps to calm the mind and lift the spirit by adjusting the level of tension in the body’s nervous system. The proprietary blend includes organic herbs such as motherwort, linden, rose, lemon balm, lemongrass, and mugwort. The volatile components work together to reawaken the spirit, helping to redirect stress into a tool for positive change.

Sounds like the elixir of eternal youth, right? To use, spray into your mother’s mouth 4-6 times - and then stand back. At this point, your mother might well start dancing around the kitchen. Next stop, "Dancing with the Stars" - and all because of your thoughtfulness and a little Urban Moonshine Organic Joy Tonic.

PRICE: $15.50 / 2 fl. oz.
LINK: Urban Moonshine Organic Joy Tonic

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(Mother’s Day Gift Guide continues on next page...)


Le Palais des Thés: Green Tea Gift Box Set

If your mother prefers a good book over a Madonna concert, then she’s the kind of person who might well enjoy a good cup of tea with her good read. Le Palais des Thés is offering a splendid boxed set of 54 muslin tea bags filled with nine varieties of Le Palais des Thés’ acclaimed green teas.

One of Paris’s more illustrious tea purveyors, Le Palais des Thés has been serving some of the world’s most exceptional teas to its savvy clientele at more than 27 boutiques in seven countries.

Each one of Le Palais des Thés’ tea bags is filled with two grams of whole tea leaves, which unfurl completely in the large cotton muslin squares to release their full flavor and fragrance. Le Palais des Thés Green Tea Gift Box contains no less than nine of the purveyor’s most interesting green teas, including Thé du Hammam, Thé des Moines, Fleur de Geisha, Sencha Ariake, Tamaryokucha Impérial, Long Jing, Grand Jasmin Chun Feng, Thé des Sources, and Thé des Alizés.

With six tea bags for each flavor, there’s plenty of tea for your mother as she reads through the entire "Hunger Games" trilogy.

PRICE: $50.00 / gift box of 54 muslin tea bags
LINK: Le Palais des Thés Green Tea Gift Box Set

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Scandle Originals: Travel Candle

What mother doesn’t deserve a relaxing massage at a luxury spa? Go ahead, book your mother a day of treatments for Mother’s Day - and then, with the gift certificate, give her a Scandle Travel Candle.

Scandle makes spa candles that do double duty as body massage oil. The soy candle melts into a fragrant body lotion that can be used for a massage or for a post-bathing emollient.

All Scandle candles utilize 100% fragrance oils, safe for the body - and the travel candles are packaged in a lightweight tin, with a silicone band that can be used as an eco-wrist band reminder to "Reduce. Reuse. Recycle."

The lavender travel candle has a hint of vanilla, making it evocative of a country house in Provence - and what mother doesn’t dream of escaping to the south of France? Light a Scandle candle and give your mother the gift of relaxation.

PRICE: $15.95 / burn time 15-30 hours
LINK: Scandle Originals Travel Candle

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Nik’s Naks: Monogrammed Apron

Some mothers actually make dinner - rather than dinner reservations.

If your mother is a cook, take a lesson from her and learn how to prepare your own dinner. Stop the obesity epidemic and cook what’s good for you and what tastes good as well.

Make sure your mother looks good while she’s cooking with this monogrammed apron from Nik’s Naks. Launched in 2008, Nik’s Naks is a one-stop shop for monogrammed and personalized gifts. Every item on the website can be monogrammed in a variety of color and pattern options.

Measuring 24" x 28", Nik’s Naks Monogrammed Apron ties around the waist, with an adjustable neck strap - just in case your mother decides you’re worthy enough to wear the chef’s apron in the kitchen.

PRICE: $32.00
LINK: Nik’s Naks Monogrammed Apron

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Organic Bouquet: Chartreuse Roses

Thinking of flowers for your dear mother?

Organic Bouquet flowers are not only grown with the environment in mind, but they are also a mission-based company, helping mothers in underdeveloped areas around the world.

The largest online provider of eco-friendly and organic gifts, Organic Bouquet employs over 60% women, while providing workers in underdeveloped countries with everything from zero-interest loans, childcare, healthcare, education, environmental protection, and supplies.

Focused on responsible practices in every step of production, from the grower to the final consumer, Organic Bouquet offers flowers that give back.

Organic Bouquet also carries a selection of "Flowers for Good," with bouquets benefiting over 55 charities, which means that you can give flowers to your mother - while also helping her favorite charity.

LINK: Organic Bouquet

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A long-term New Yorker and a member of New York Travel Writers Association, Mark Thompson has also lived in San Francisco, Boston, Provincetown, D.C., Miami Beach and the south of France. The author of the novels WOLFCHILD and MY HAWAIIAN PENTHOUSE, he has a PhD in American Studies and is the recipient of fellowships at MacDowell, Yaddo, and Blue Mountain Center. His work has appeared in numerous publications.

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