Ampersand Design Studio

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happy holidays & see you next year 12.22.2011

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Well, the countdown to the holidays is coming to an end and 2011 is winding down! 
2011 was a really crazy, fun, and busy year for us! Each day, we have learned a little more about how to balance motherhood, taking care of a home, running a business and at the same time having a life outside of all of that! Looking back over the year though, we are really proud and happy with where we are! We’ve gotten to work with some absolutely amazing clients (you know who you are) and can’t wait to continue those relationships into the coming years! We’re SO thankful for everyone that visits our blog and shop each day–we absolutely love our readers and have had the best time getting to know so many of you!! 
We’ve got some fun changes on the blog and new products launching in shop in the new year!!
We’re going to take a little time off and hope that you are able to do the same!
We’ll see you all back here on January 2nd!
Have a wondeful holiday and cheers to a Happy 2012!
-Morgan & Carrie

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holiday gift guide: guy’s wishlist by zack kiefer 12.21.2011

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Today is our final gift guide coming to you from my husband, Zack. We are definitely running out of time for shopping at this point, but if you are still looking for something for the always-hard-to-buy-for guys on your list, here are a few more ideas to add to the great ideas from Dan. (You’ll notice there are some similarities between the two guys’ lists in the booze and music departments.) Zack is an amazing gift-giver, but can be a little tougher to shop for so I am certainly happy I had a few insights straight from him to help me with my shopping this year. I’m pretty impressed with what he’s rounded up here so I hope it helps you cross those last few dudes off your list.

What Zack had to say:

 1. Years ago, he never put all those records of his parents’ on tape, then he didn’t burn them to a CD… This is a really cool turntable that converts those old albums into digital copies. Maybe this is what he need to do it this time…just maybe. Listen to that old time rock ‘n’ roll.

 2. Typically, a man won’t get too excited about a plant. A tiny tree, however, is a different story. With proper attention, this tree will outlive us all. Pretty cool.

3. A good pair of hikers is hard to find. These are waterproof so his feet will stay dry in the woods or when his wife sends him out to get coffees in the rain.

4. This ipod speaker fits in his bike’s water bottle holder. This way, when he rides his bike way out there, he’ll have music to motivate him to make it back home.

I love to share a little bit of Kansas City with out-of-towners. These are two local gifts that are always popular:

5. Boulevard’s Double Wide IPA is corked to contain all that delicious, hoppy flavor.

6. The only problem with giving this sauce is that whomever you give it to will be sure to ask for more in the future.

7. Zombies seem to be everywhere these days. Prepare yourself for “Z” day with Max Brooks’ Zombie Survival Guide

8. This whiskey is great for poker nights. It’s crazy smooth.

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holiday gift guide: bookworm by susan giffen 12.20.2011

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I’m so excited to share a gift guide by my mom, Susan Giffen, today. I personally love giving and receiving books as gifts and I knew right off the bat that my mom was the one to go to for a literary gift guide. She is a voracious reader and happens to be a word person by trade (she was an editor for Hallmark for 25 years!) When I ask her: “Have you read_____ (fill in the blank with any book),” she rarely says no. So if you still need something for a reader on your list, here is a sampling for all different interests. Happy reading! Thanks, mom, for being our personal librarian! Love you, Carrie



Some summaries from my mom:

1. The LEGO Ideas Book by Daniel Lipkowitz
This big book of ideas is for kids (no matter the age) who still love their Legos. There are hints from Master Builders, tips on easy modifications and templates to create new and different things. The pictures in this colorful book will inspire anyone to try at least the hot air balloon or the giraffe…maybe even the 3-D mosaics. Fun.

2. What the Dormouse Said: Lessons for Grown-Ups from Children’s Books  Compiled by Amy Gash
Filled with charming quotations from familiar children’s books and the not-so familiar children’s books, What the Dormouse Said offers wisdom and advice that is organized into categories such as “Eating Habits” and “Faith and Courage” and “Love and Friendship.” Mostly this book reminds adults to remember what it was like to be kids.

3. The Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg
Sometimes we just need a reminder of what the holiday season is supposed to be about. This sweet book, from the author of Fried Green Tomatoes and other heartwarming books, gives us just that. Filled with kind people, redemption and a hint of miracles, it will add a warm glow to your Chistmas


4. The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell

For those of you who were blown away by the Steig Larsson’s “The Girl Who” books, here’s another series from a Swedish author that offers fascinating stories and great character development. It’s best to read them in order (this the last of the ten in the series but I’d start with either The Pyramid or The Dogs of Riga.) The main character, Wallender,  shows what it is to be a police inspector and keep his decency and humanity while dealing with the ugliness of life.
 

5. Social Q’s: How to survive Quirks, Quandaries And Quagmires of Today by Philip Galanes
Offers suggestions for what to do in situations that happen TODAY. Definitely not your grandmother’s Emily Post Etiquette book. From the popular Social Q’s column in the New York Times, Galanes answers questions about in-laws, email, dating and entertaining…and not questions like “Which fork should I use.”

6.  Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
The clever title lets the reader know that this mystery is set in Mississippi.  Set in 1970, two men who were friends as children confront their pasts and the reasons they’ve been estranged for years. Poverty, racial tension, and suspicion add to the plot but the complexity of the relationship and the possibility of forgiveness and redemption are the real story and make it much more than the average “who done it.”

7. When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

This is much more than a futuristic re-telling of Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter as it’s sometimes been called in reviews. Yes, the accused is singled out for her “sin” of abortion. But in this futuristic society, Hannah is chemically turned red and shunned like the other Chromes (different colors for different crimes). But, as she grows more confident, she begins to defy the ultra-conservative society she lives in and look realistically at the affair that resulted in her pregnancy. A great read for book clubs.
 

8. Baseball: An Illustrated History by Ken Burns
Anyone who loves baseball and has enjoyed the historic PBS baseball series can look forward to the upcoming new, two-part Tenth Inning. This is a companion book to all the series and includes information related to the newest Tenth Inning. It includes essays by well-known sports writers and an interview with Buck O’Neil.

one comment

  1. woody1620

    >i've been loving the gift guides and must add today: susan looks just beautiful (as always). miss you guys. -woody

    December 20, 2011 11:12 pm

holiday gift guide: guy’s wishlist by dan georgie 12.19.2011

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Today, I’m excited to share my husband, Dan Georgie’s, actual gift wish list this year! We all know how hard the dudes can be to shop for, right? So, here are a few ideas from a real guy…I promise, these are not just suggestions from a girl for guys! They are all coming straight from him.  The only thing not included on his original wish list is “power tools” because I had no idea where to even begin with finding images and,  let’s face it, I could’ve done an entire post on that neverending wishlist…so ladies, if the guy you are shopping for is a handyman, just add power tools to your list also :).
So, I hope you guys like his ideas (I happen to think he has pretty good taste) and that it helps you think of ideas for any guys you might be shopping for. Time is running out, but, it’s not too late for last-minute shopping!
1. Tour of a local brewery, Dan’s choice is Boulevard Brewery
2. Oban 14 year old Whiskey (or whatever his drink of choice may be)
4. donate or adopt an animal from your local shelter, Dan’s choice is Wayside Waifs
7. tickets to his favorite local team, Dan’s pick is Sporting KC soccer tickets
8. The KC wool hat (sorry this is for the Kansas City locals only!)

one comment

  1. Amanda Hill

    >Always love a god man's list!

    December 19, 2011 1:59 pm

holiday gift guide: mom’s wishlist by barbara shaw 12.16.2011

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We’ve had lots of friends stop by the blog lately for the 2011 Holiday Gift Guides, but today it’s about to get even more personal! Today is the start of our gift guides done by our very own moms and husbands. We’re really excited to share their fun picks, because, of course, we think they have great taste…and, to be totally transparent, this was the best way to get them to tell us exactly what they really want!! (How genius are we?) We hope it helps you all complete some of your shopping lists as well! So, thanks mom, for taking over our blog today-we sure love having you on here!
Love you,
Morgan

one comment

  1. Jeanee

    >Awh!

    December 18, 2011 2:41 am