At restaurants it is on the smaller first courses where the chef takes the most exciting and creative risks. The same can be said for home accessories and tableware, where whimsical and innovative design can be found without a major commitment. Here are 20 little gifts you can give yourself (or someone else, if you must). None costs more than $50 (but please note that some of these pieces are on sale so may not be around much longer!). What I love about lists like these is that even if you don't love any of the items profiled, you have at your fingertips links to some of the best online retailers around!
Image 1 (clockwise from top left)
1. Magnetic vases. Generate, $49. The vases are held in position by magnetic attraction to a thin metal base placed under a tablecloth.
2. Birthday cake mold. Generate, $35. Because my cakes always look like a two-year-old decorated them.
3. Chilewich faux bois placemats. Velocity Art & Design, $11.
4. Alex Marshall sphere vase. 2Modern, $43 and up. I have two Alex Marshal lamps and three of her vases. So simple, so beautiful.
1. Jonathan Adler photo frames. The Company Store, $6.99 (60% off).
2. Karvt wooden MacBook skins, Generate, $39.
3. Tate Otama standing ladle. Generate, $25.
4. Bob's Your Uncle diner dinner plates. Velocity Art & Design, $40 (for four).
1. 6-pack wine rack by Etcetera. Greener Grass Design, $40. I love that this collapses when not in use.
2. Albie Design New York print. Velocity Art & Design, $40.
3. Aladdin Artist series bowl - matte stephens. Velocity Art & Design, $16.
4. Flowered stool and cover, Wisteria. $29.70
1. A container for one thing, Rare Device, $28.
2. Robex bruco serving dish. Greener Grass Design, $28. Attractive and durable.
3. Iznik design ceramic plate. Yurdan, $23.80.
4. Jar tops/lids, A + R Store, $25. These fit on any standard jars. So cool.
1. X mini speaker, MOMA Store, $32 (non members). My tech-savvy brother got this for me for Christmas and it is fantastic. Perfect for young kids or anyone on the move.
2. Cubic switchplate, supermarkethq, $8. Jokey but not too hokey.
3. Ink Dish Irezumi side plate (gift set of 4). Velocity Art & Design, $50. Ink Dish does it again.
4. Set of six napkins. Saffron Marigold, $34.99.