Modern Love

Looking for something that symbolizes love at home all year? Our modern takes on gifts and sweet gestures do the trick.

Christopher and I have enjoyed picking up artwork and furniture together over the years. Adding to that collection can happen on trips together or can be given as surprise gifts. I love that this gift idea is built together, over time—kind of symbolic of your life together. Nice! If you're not into investing deep (an original signed Robert Indiana serigraph goes for around for $5,000), a framed reproduction above is an equally sweet addition to your collection. Or, you can go pop-tastic with this pair of Andy Warhol prints from (below). There are also a lot of great original pieces from emerging artists on Etsy as well as on 20x200.

The ubiquitous map and neighborhood prints popularized by designers like These are Things (below) and FlyingJunction are great ways to commemorate places you've lived or visited together.

It's always nice to know that someone is thinking of you across the miles,'s time to rethink the gift basket. In theory, the gift basket is such a great idea but the execution has gotten pretty generic and dated. It needs a makeover! And Früute, the dessert and tart company in LA with the to-die for website we've all been oogling, has done just that. They also make cookies and packaged confections, and I'm really falling for these wonderful gift boxes and baskets they offer, including some special ones for Valentine's day, too. I mean, the gray felt basket alone—swoon!

This basket also comes with rose-scented incense (great idea) and a little message in a bottle that you can customize at check-out. Früute photographs their products beautifully and accompanies them with detailed descriptions of each baskets' contents. This cookie above is the Lavender Noir, "a delicate layer of fragrant lavender cream in between extra dark chocolate wafers." Mmm.

Whatever you decide to send to loved ones, be sure to wrap up that package with the very modern and boldly declared "packed with love" tape designed by Nina von Wahlberg.

I can't think of anything more romantic than spending hours upon hours sifting through digital photos, deciding what to print (um, kidding). If you are anything like us in the photo department, you have thousands of them sitting on your computer and not many on the walls. This year, we promised ourselves to get years of vacations, parties, holidays—and dare I say, our wedding pictures from 6 years ago—printed, framed and hung. I finally decided where to put such a photo collection: above our great room's bookcase. It has enough continuous wall space, is visible to guests, and is well-lit:

Once we pick the selection of frames and sizes we want, I plan to use this trick I have always liked to help determine the placement and arrangement of the frames. (Image via BHG).

I've been collecting inspiration for framing on my "Spaces // Clever Arrangements" board on Pinterest. I am leaning toward a light, natural wood finish frame with a white mat right now. We shall see. I'll post it when it is completed. Here are two organized, yet not-too-rigid, arrangements I liked:

Left: Dining room arrangement by blogger Jake, featured on West Elm's Front & Main blog.
Right: Norwegian freelance photographer and designer Hilda Grahnat's home.

So, how about a romantic evening hanging a collage of framed photos as you reminisce over each one? (Just be sure to save the champagne until after the measurements are made and the nails have been hammered.)

Chocolates in a heart-shaped box from CVS? You can do a bit better. I'm all about "it's the thought that counts", but that one sounds like it was born somewhere between gassing up the car and picking up milk. And ladies, we're not the only ones who might enjoy something chocolate-y. Spice things up with a decadent preparation of authentic Mexican hot chocolate.

There's nothing better on a cold winter's night, as a dessert after that dinner date in, or when simply hanging out with friends. Try to find small biz artisans like Taza, who are located right here in my city. I've toured their factory and they throw fantastic tasting events and dinners—which is also another great gift idea. You may be able to find a similar chocolate maker near you. Or, you can also order pretty much all of Taza's products online.

1. Hernan Olla De Barro pot
2. Taza Cinnamon Chocolate Mexicano
3. Moninillo carved chocolate whisk

Here is the Authentic Mexican Hot Chocolate recipe. Enjoy!

Love, from Ourhaus to yours.