The Art of Whimsy | Restrained Whimsy Stories make the gift

Restrained whimsy means something different to different people.  To some of us, it is a classic black bag paired with a leopard print suit, and a brilliant blue heel. For others it's a candles scent summoning Grandpa's baseball mitt.  For me, though some might be surprised, it is finding an animated piece for our home which guests will randomly discover when they are there. That is something that brings a continuous smile to my face. 

One such item is a three-foot elf named Jasper whom resides in the living room, while Brian Andreas prints line our dining room walls, and Jay Strongwater frames feature a little blue-eyed girl that grew up in the blink of an eye. 

I love entering a room to find things left for the most observant.

Though shopping can feel like a whirlwind of purchases, those willing to take note of the unexpected they will find treasures for themselves and others at the same time. Imagine walking in to discover Ojai Olive Oil and learning that the trees, which some date back 150 years, originate in France, Italy, and Spain. Giving it a beautiful European flavor. What might have seemed predictable on its own is now hypnotic and in need of culinary curiosity. Discovery is everything.

At times walking into a shop finds us in a place where we really aren’t sure were to start. The key here -- if in doubt, ask.

The amazing thing about shopping in a small boutique, gallery, or hometown shop is that the owner knows all the stories to bring your gift to a new level of delight. Need something fun for your new daughter-in-law who loves baths? Buck Naked Bath Bombs, Lavender Linen Spray, and Niven Morgan body lotion will bewitch her bath time. The storyteller in the family might enjoy the texture of an artisan leather journal, a walnut fountain pen, and pages of empty moleskin waiting the tales of adventure. Need something a bit more whimsical? How about the warm hues of 24K gold against silver, and of course a ruby that screams "oh yeah", from international designer GURHAN. 

While not all shopping will give us a theatrical experience, our city abounds with small shops filled with gifts waiting to be discovered, and curators with endless stories to tell and a willingness to make sure your gift giving experience is delightful. Restrained whimsy can be many things, but it is always magical.