Stress-free gift giving guide for the holidays

We here at Mette Vangso like to help you take the stress out of everyday life – and what’s more stressful than gift-giving? As the holidays slowly but surely creep up on us, and promise to drain us of our hard-earned money, we thought we might give a shout out to some local designers and businesses where you can do your holiday shopping guilt-free.

For the globe-trotter

"Parallel Structure Black" scarf from Indigo Handloom

One of my former classmates, a woman named Smita Paul newly transplanted to the Bay Area by way of New York City, introduced me to her business venture by way of a very lovely scarf she was sporting one day. Indigo Handloom, named for the hand-made, fair-trade textiles that she sources, makes a very convincing argument for itself; its website promises good karma to all its customers. Couldn’t we all use a little of that? Purchase a sassy sundress or a silky wrap, and support budding entrepreneurs half way around the world build a better life for themselves and their families – all while looking très chic.

For the bibliophile

The Thing Quarterly, Issue #12

Until recently, the two gentlemen behind The Thing Quarterly were working out of a studio space just down the hall from the Mette Vangso design studio. And since learning about what exactly the “thing” is, we’ll be sorry to see them go! But apparently there are bigger and better things ahead for editors Jonn Herschend and Will Rogan, who started The Thing in 2007. Their mission is simple:

THE THING Quarterly is a periodical in the form of an object. It’s like a magazine, except that each issue is conceived of by a different contributor and then published on a useful object.

For those of us who balk at the Kindle or iPad, what better way to support the publishing industry AND come off as savvy art world connoisseurs? The issues have been as eclectic as the artists and innovators involved, from a cutting board designed by writer Starlee Kine, to a who-knows-what from the mind of James Franco to be delivered as issue #14 in spring 2011. Beats any magazine those middle schoolers down the street keep trying to hawk.

For the fiscally responsible fashionista

The SeedStore is full of rare finds

I’d like to vote Seedstore my favorite new business of 2010. A small boutique tucked away in the Inner Richmond, discreetly operating among the numerous Korean BBQ and potsticker establishments of Clement Street, Seedstore is one of those places that has everything you didn’t know you needed until you got there – for women AND men. Specializing in little-known and retro designers, such as MaraisUSA and Swedish Hasbeens, the store sells adorable things and is run by an adorable pair of sisters, and I promise you won’t leave empty handed. My favorite purchase? A lovely little vintage enameled picture frame, for $13.

For the sweet tooth

Our friend John's son crowning Anthony the "King of Cookies!"

Give the gift of sustenance. Sweet, sweet sustenance. Occasionally I’ll take a break from the hustle and bustle at the Mette Vangso studio, and stroll down Valencia St. in search of something delicious to eat. First stop – Anthony’s Cookies. A stark storefront adorned with little else except milk bottles, the saliva starts to flow once you reach the counter and gaze at their offerings: Cinnamon spice! Toffee chip! Oatmeal Cranberry! A bakers dozen of these to one lucky person, and you’ll have a friend for life.

For the Benjamin Button in your life

Marie Veronique Anti-Aging Kit

“If I could turn back time…” Cher had the right idea. What if you could go back in time? Well, we’re probably not going to figure that one out before Christmas, but you can help someone turn back the clock with an amazing line of 100% organic skin care products from Marie Veronique. Headquartered in Berkeley, Marie herself, with an incredibly dewy and youthful complexion that belies her age, will stock you up with so many samples that you may get away without actually spending any money. But once you try a few of her holistic cleansers and toners – each formula so natural you could practically eat the stuff – you will be happy to fish out the charge card. And we can’t help but endorse a product that shares our initials.

For the man who has everything

Volunteer at Glide Memorial and help break the cycles of poverty and marginalization.

What to buy the man who has everything? That’s easy – nothing! Why don’t you take him with you to the cafeteria at Glide Memorial Church and help him give to someone who actually needs it. Register on their website ahead of time, spots tend to fill up about 2-3 days in advance. Breakfast, lunch, dinner – it’s a few hours well spent for which you will experience zero buyers-remorse, guaranteed.

She knows if you’ve been bad or good…

Finally… of course don’t forget Mette! A scrumptious “Monroe” Eye Catcher, or a cozy “Fandango” is sure to please just about anyone on your list this year.

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