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Mother's Day Gift Guide

Stephen Brown

Shopping for Mom can be difficult. How exactly are you suppose to boil down all that love for your mother into a simple gift? Here are few items and experiences—many local—that you can give on this holiest of Sundays.


Ralph Lauren Big Pony Essie Set - Fragrance #1

Blue with Envy

For the sporty mom who’s also a card-carrying fashionista, Ralph Lauren’s Big Pony Essie Set ($45) is the gift of choice. Available in all four of the Big Pony fragrances, each set includes a bottle of Big Pony eau de toilette (30mL), Big Pony Refreshing Body Mist (50g) and a matching Big Pony nail polish made exclusively by essie, in colors to match the signature Big Pony bottle. Of the four, fragrance #1 is by far this season’s set of choice, not just for the azure color but the floral and citrus notes that are practically synonymous with summer in South Florida.


Bling It On

Jewelry is always a top choice when it comes to a Mother’s Day gift—but what to get? For true Palm Beach style, jewelry from a designer with 561 roots is a must, which is why we dig the designs from Jacqueline Kimberly. Her latest creations, part of the Ceridwen Collection, tap into a more feminine silhouette with an edge. The gilded eyelet teardrop earrings ($3,200) are made with textured 18-karat gold and resemble delicate segments of lace, while the cerulean tourmaline Gardenia ring ($4,900), also made from 18-karat gold, is the perfect statement summer piece.   

Jacqueline Kimberley - Ceridwen Collection

A touch of Steampunk goes a long way when it comes to fashion and will really make mom stand out this Mother’s Day. We’re not suggesting to dress her in all lace and a stove-pipe hat like Edward Gorey, but a subtle touch makes a statement—like Peg and Awl’s tiny book necklaces. Available in an array of colors and materials, these pendants range from as small as 5/8-inch tall by ½-inch wide to 1¼-inch tall by 1-inch wide. Made with line-free Strathmore drawing paper inside and reclaimed, worn leather bounding outside, each miniature novel is a subtle work of art.

   Our pick: the pale yellow book pendant tied with deerskin. Pick one up and write little notes on the pages about why your mother is so special.

Peg and Awl - Pale Yellow Book Pendant


Grow, Baby, Grow

Gardening can be a difficult, time-consuming hobby—especially in South Florida, with the sandy, acidic soil and harsh summer heat. But harvesting crops and preparing the bounty for a meal is incredibly rewarding and a sure way of knowing what went into the process. So when we find an interesting gardening technique, tool or gadget that helps make the chore easier, more enjoyable and bountiful, we want to share.

EasyBloom Plant Sensor - Gardening Helper

   The EasyBloom Plant Sensor helps eliminate much of the guesswork when it comes to planning crops, and the device could not be easier to use. Simply put the sensor anywhere you want to grow a plant, inside or outside. EasyBloom measures sunlight, temperature, water drainage, soil conditions and fertilization (with a subscription) of a particular area as well as moderates gardening habits—whether a plant is overwatered, needs different light, requires improved soil conditions, etc. Once the data is collected, plug the sensor into the computer via USB. Through a series of algorithms, EasyBloom breaks down the data into localized growing zones, climate and hourly weather. The programing then makes recommendations from a database of more than 6,000 plants that are best suited for that particular spot. A program called the Plant Doctor will give advice on how to improve the area or properly care for a plant. Simply put, the EasyBloom does just as the name suggests and helps any garden bloom to its full potential.


So Fresh and So CleanAbsolute Handmade Soap - Palm Beach Illustrated Crush On You sugar scrub

Tell us if this sounds familiar: “How many times to do I need to tell you to wash your hands?”

   This Mother’s Day, return the favor and pick up some artisan, handmade soaps.

   One of our favorites comes from Absolute Handmade Soap, formerly Product Body. Based in Tequesta, Absolute uses only pure, natural ingredients in its products, like organic cocoa butter, unprocessed shea, botanicals and even clays, charcoals and coffee, which helps not only exfoliate but also moisturize to boot. Complicated compound chemicals like sodium laureth sulfate, decyl glucoside and pentasodium pentetate have no place in these soaps, making Absolute a healthy, natural alternative to the mass-produced bars sold at most markets.

Detox Soap - Absolute Handmade Soap   The varieties of soaps and scrubs seem endless, but we at Palm Beach Illustrated are, naturally, partial to the selections that share our name. The Palm Beach Illustrated Crush On You sugar scrub ($15, 10.5 oz.) stems from the soap Absolute created for our sixtieth anniversary issue in March 2012. Using a blend of lily, cantaloupe and sugarcane, the scent is simply divine. As for soap, detox from the social season with Absolute’s Detox soap ($5.75, 3.6 oz. bar). It's made with a slew of all-natural ingredients, including activated bamboo charcoal and bentonite clay, which promise to help “draw toxins from the skin but never dry ... out.” Plus, we love its cool, black color (left).


Monkey Mallows from West Palm Beach's Sugar MonkeySweet Tooth

When it comes to sweets, The Sugar Monkey in West Palm Beach delivers the goods. From cakes, cookies and brownies to sugary confections and treats—even goodies for the dog—the Sugar Monkey has a finger, toe and tail in the mix. We recommend the Monkey Mallows ($15 for a half-dozen)—handmade caramel marshmallow topped with chocolate and rolled in toasted coconut—and the Moon Pies ($15 for half dozen), which are made of caramel marshmallow sandwiched between graham crackers, then dipped in chocolate. If you have plans of a Mother’s Day get-together, a decadent cake is in order. One can never go wrong with red velvet ($55) but for a seasonal Florida bite, order the pistachio-strawberry cake ($55), made with alternating layers of Sicilian pistachio and Florida strawberry buttercreams on chiffon cake.


Picasso in the Making

Uptown Art - CityPlace, West Palm Beach - art classes for fun

Bring out Mom’s artistic side at West Palm Beach’s Uptown Art. Located in CityPlace, this low-stress art class is for those who have a creative streak but don’t want to dedicate themselves to a full-blown course at an art center. Simply choose the class that suits your preference, bring some light snacks and drinks, and get to painting. An instructor will help the burgeoning artists along the journey, from first sketch and choosing colors to technique and finish. Classes can run from an hour and a half to three and a half hours, depending on canvas difficulty and instructor, and course costs start at $20. Check the calendar for your canvas of choice.

  • On May 12 (Mother’s Day), Uptown Art will hold a “Flowers in Pink for Mother’s Day” class geared for mothers with children aged 12 and older. The class costs $30 per person and includes complimentary mimosas. Register here.


Dog's Best Friend

The work being done at the Big Dog Ranch Rescue is life-changing for not just the dogs at the facility but also the people who work, volunteer and adopt there.

Big Dog Ranch Rescue   The mission behind Big Dog Ranch is simple: “to provide shelter, care and affection to homeless and unwanted dogs of all breeds and to adopt them out to loving human companions.” The no-kill shelter, situated on 28 acres in Wellington, truly puts the dogs first, as evident in the loving care they receive, the food given and the volunteers who spend their time with the animals. Even the adoption process ensures each dog will go to a loving and open home: Onsite visits match the proper dog to the adoptee, while at-home visits ensure the dog will enter a safe and loving environment. 

   This year, give Mom the unconditional love only a dog can bring by adopting from, volunteering at or donating to the Big Dog Ranch. There is nothing quite like dog ownership. Dogs are remarkable animals that always manage to put a smile on a person's face, regardless of how foul the mood or disposition may be. If the responsibility of dog ownership is not in your mother’s future, sign the two of you up to volunteer. The need for volunteers is very real at Big Dog Ranch, from walking and playing with the animals on the property to fostering, making home and vet checks, or even marketing and manning events. No matter what you do, it's all for a great cause.

  • Visit for more information about adopting, volunteering or donating. Any act is greatly appreciated—the wagging tail says so.  


Cook Like A Pro

For many, personal cooking styles, recipes and tastes were greatly influenced by Mom. Filp the script this year and sign the two of you up for a cooking class.

Cooking classes at Whole Foods Market Culinary Center - Publix Aprons Cooking Classes

Whole Foods Market Culinary Center is a great place to learn new recipes, discover the benefits of a healthy diet or simply bone up on cooking skills. Each location offers classes and seminars an array of topics, like maintaining a gluten-free diet, cake decorating and even providing homeopathic and nutritional therapies for dogs and cats.

   Running demonstration and hands-on courses, Whole Foods offers classes for all skill levels and ages. Running between one to three hours, hands-on classes usually start with a brief lecture followed by cooking in small groups, with the instructor helpfully guiding the process. At the end of each class, participants get to dig in and eat.

  • On May 16, the Palm Beach Gardens location offers a class on the Samuel Smith Beer Dinner, featuring traditional pub food and beer-infused recipes. Check with your local Whole Foods Market Culinary Center for upcoming classes and seminars.


The Publix Aprons Cooking School has become a favorite for chefs at all skill levels. Located in Boca Raton, this school essentially gives students a second kitchen geared for learning, practice and a little camaraderie. The course schedule changes monthly, and classes range in type (demonstration, hands-on, and kid or teen), subject and cuisine, and teacher. Classes usually run between two to three hours, with the onus put on fun with a little education thrown in to boot. Private classes are also available for those looking to home in on a specialty as well as group sessions. Classes range form one-time to multiple courses, with prices starting at $35.


Drink Up

Wine assortment from WSJwine Discovery Club

For the oenophiles who have trouble making up their minds at the liquor store, The Wall Street Journal takes out the guesswork with the WSJwine Discovery Club. For $90 a month ($70 for the membership, $20 for shipping), Mom can have 15 bottles of reds, whites or mixed sent directly to her door, each hand-picked by the WSJwine team. Not limited to region, varietal or vintage, the selections are varied and vast, allowing for an almost encyclopedic drinking experience. For those who want to know what they’re drinking before letting the bottle breathe, has all the details, while tasting notes and serving advice come with each bottle. And as an added bonus, this wine-of-the-month club requires no obligation, meaning you can cancel whenever (but we’re not sure why you would).


Banana Pancakes recipeBreakfast in Bed

For those looking for a more DIY approach to Mother’s Day, may we recommend a personal favorite? Banana pancakes. The recipe is simple and will really show Mom you care.

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January 2017