Okay, the turkey sandwiches are gone...stuffin' long gone...but, tomorrow is Cyber Monday following Black Friday, this is the equivalent of Black Friday online! Whoohoo...free shipping, great rates and great items make shopping online pretty great all from the comfort of my armchair...but, sometimes I need something a little different...for that unique or hard-to-buy for person...here's some of my favorites. I like to make a donation to the person's favorite charity in their name: animals, children, environmental, libraries and educational non-profits are high on my list for this type of gift. It gives twice--once for the recipient who knows their gift is helping their favorite charity and once for the giver who also feels they are giving the gift that makes the world a better place. Donating to the SPCA, local public library, local YMCA/YWCA, or Big Brother/Big Sister as well as the Sierra Club, Greenpeace always brings a glow to both giver and receiver. Since I love classes, I've received gift certificates to local arts center workshops/classes as well as gift certificates to the Center for Book Arts to be used for classes or handmade artist's books...these are my favorites... :D This is a great way to support the arts locally. Give a membership to the local arts/historical museum or a gift certificate for classes at the local arts center or a membership to a local arts organization. Another great idea for those hard-to-buy for people is a magazine subscription geared to their passion...something like "Travel", "Architectural Digest", "Food and Wine", etc. definitely is the gift that keeps on giving 12 months a year. Gift certificates to art cinemas are a great way to get people to those movies that never quite make it to the chain cinnemas and supports indie filmmakers. I've given tickets to local film festivals with a bottle of wine and heard about the gift for months because of the film discussions that ensued. I think gift cards and gift certificates from local small businesses is a great way to shop local and buy local. Local, small businesses are more intimate and unique and gift certificates or gift cards from local businesses is a great way to support local entrepreneurs and the local economy...unique one-of-a-kind items abound and aren't carried by larger retailers. So, here's to Cyber Monday...a lot of gift-buying will occur but not everyone will be satisfied as there is always that unique person or the person who has everything that may need a little more effort to buy for...hope some of these ideas help! Here's to a stress-free holiday! Only 4.5 hours to Cyber Monday...now, where's that coffee mug?
Just back from five days in Rome and still coping with time changes, makes one fuzzy, woozy and wishing to be back in the Roman time zone. All kidding aside, Rome certainly is the eternal city. Historically, we were in Rome at a time where Italy itself is at a crossroads. With the resignation of their Prime Minister, Silvio Burlesconi, and a new Prime Minister in, Italians are optimistic but cautious in moving forward. Inviting and warm, Rome and its citizens greeted tourists with open arms. After visiting the normal Roman sites like the Vatican, Coliseum and the ruins of Imperial Rome, here are some quiet little gems that are close to the well-trod tourist paths. On the Capitoline Hill, directly across from the Palatine Hill, sits the Capitoline Museum, the first public museum created by the papacy. It contains many treasures of statuary, sarcophogi, etc. including a wonderful exhibit of Leonardo and Michelangelo drawings of both artists time in Rome...surely a gem to be seen if in Rome between now and late January. Another delight was the National Etruscan Museum located near the Gallery of Modern Art in the Villa Borghese. Containing a life-size coffin of husband and wife from Etruscan times, there was a well-designed exhibit accompanying all artifacts. Certainly a delightful way to learn about Rome during its early history and Etruscan settlements. Outside of Rome lies a district called Flaminio where the newest contemporary museum of Rome has been created. Called the MAXXII, it highlights a collection of Italian architecture from WWII to modern times complete with drawings and architectural models as well as a wonderful exhibit called "Indian Highway" detailing contemporary Indian artists depicting the move of populace from country to city. Other smaller galleries hold smaller more intimate video exhibits. A delight to journey to, the MAXXI is surely to become a world-class institution. Other side trips included Tivoli with Hadrian's estate as well as Naples and Pompeii. Rome is a city where one trip is definitely not enough. The Vatican Museums could take a full day and St. Peter's deserves more than an hour of oohhinng and ahhhingg...so enjoy the coming week and have a wonderful, healthy, happy Thanksgiving as we wind down from our whirlwind trip to Rome...eternally yours, Rome...
Maryann J. Riker, owner of JUSTARIP Press is a mixed-media artist who delights in designing and creating artist's books and creating collaborative book art projects as well as viewing other book artists' work. She definitely enjoys the process!