There are lots of misconceptions about what moms want as gifts. Yes, they are moved by those things lovingly made by the hands of a child, but that doesn't mean the spray-painted macaroni picture frame made in art class is the only thing that would warm her heart. Moms are selfless and giving of themselves, but that doesn't mean they don't want to be pampered and fussed over. So what does a mother really want? Following are our suggestions.
MYTH: Mom will be happy with just a nice card for Mother's Day.
HIT: There's only one way to get by with this one and not get "the look," and that's to put a gift certificate inside for services or products at a Paris Parker salon. Plus, if you get her a gift certificate for $200 or more, she will also receive a lusciously thirsty and soft bath robe for free. From Paris Parker (1400 Annunciation St., The Saulet, 528-1962; 4900 Prytania St., 891-8874; 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Lakeside Shopping Center, Metairie, 846-5256; 4900 Hwy. 22, Suite 106, Mandeville, 888-990-2468).
MYTH: Moms prefer all family portraits to be perfectly posed and all look alike except for a change of clothes and hairstyles each year.
HIT: C'mon, now. Mom wants to remember her family through little spontaneous snapshots of joy that portray each person's special personality. That's the approach taken by photographer Dana Palmer, who spends time with a family in a setting comfortable for them in order to get candid portrayals of personality instead of posed portraits. Sessions average $250, and include at least 25 4-by-6-inch prints, from Photography By Dana, (850) 648-6734.
MYTH: Cleaning supplies aren't a good gift for Mother's Day.
HIT: Well, generally that would be true, but not in the context of these fun and luxurious cleaning products: 100 percent cotton tea towels by Xochi, $15 for set of three; French bar soap, $3.50 each; and a bottle of natural, liquid handsoap, $15.95 for 17 oz.; all from Interiors Market (2240 Magazine St., 525-3330).
MYTH: Mom doesn't want to wear kid jewelry.
HIT: That certainly holds true for the plastic earrings that come in bubble packs from the drug store toy aisle, but when it comes to Moonbabies, it's a whole different matter. These whimsical wire and bead stick-pin creations by artist Ava Minsky Foxman are whimsical, artful and downright fun, plus a portion of the proceeds benefit the Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Max (red head, long yellow body with orange dots), $28; Annie (gold body and long, flowing hair, $42; Iman (African design bead body, $30. Equally playful but more adult is a silver mesh wrist cuff with Austrian crystal orbs by Mau Ri Ma's, $100. All from La Doux (207 W. Harrison Ave., 482-1535).
MYTH: Plastic Mardi Gras beads should not see the light of day after Carnival.
HIT: Obviously Mom never met the artists at Unique Products (UP) Gallery, who recycle discards into artful objects. What respectable Earth Mother wouldn't like that idea? Here the UP artists have melted the Carnival trinkets into a curved wall sconce lamp, $50. The gallery also has heart pendants on a ribbon, $18, and night lights a heart pendant on a ribbon, $18. All at UP gallery, upstairs at Winky's (2038 Magazine St., 568-1020).
MYTH: Mom doesn't want you to spend your hard-earned money on her.
HIT: Well, that might be true if it meant that you would go totally without food for a week, but unless mom's still paying your bills or you're living under a bridge somewhere, you'd better skip a couple of movies and a restaurant visit and do the right thing. After all, we know she deserves it threefold. Score mega brownie points with one piece or a whole set of blue topaz jewelry set in engraved silver: ring, $85; pendant on chain, $55; earrings, $95; from Sabai (3115 Magazine St., 899-9555; 924 Royal St., 525-6211).
MYTH: Never share your living space with a water buffalo.
HIT: Hard to argue with that advice, but there is a lovely way around it. Share your wardrobe space with handbags made from square tiles of water buffalo horn. Gold-and-brown rectangular bag, $65; or smaller square version in white-to-platinum shades, $39; add a hard glasses case with suitcase handles, $14. Sunglasses are a must-have for summer and can boost Mom's fashion outlook: iridescent pink and camel play together in rectangles of dark lenses, $33; or go for a sunnier view with amber linses and Italian frames, $51; all from Fairy (3634 Magazine St., 269-2033).
MYTH: No one likes a smart aleck.
HIT: The gig is up on this one. Mom only told you that because she didn't like it when you were being a wise-acher to her. The truth is, people love a cleverly turned phrase, subtle humor and down-right corniness, and Mom's certain to be charmed with aprons or a shirt made delightful by craftily turned food phrases such as a T-shirt with "Life Is a Cabernet Old Chum," on it, $17.99, or aprons that read "Olive Lucy," and "How Merlot Can You Go," $17.99 each. All from Wearable Vegetables (5360 Canal Blvd., 486-1117 or (800) WEAR VEG; www.wearablevegetables.com).
MYTH: If it isn't vegetable, fruit or dairy, it should be cooked thoroughly -- and never eaten raw.
HIT: You might be surprised at how open-minded Mom has become over the years, especially when it comes to cuisine and particularly if it can be served in something enticing like these large rice bowls with swirls of color, $18 for set of two; or a Japanese sushi platter and sauce bowl, $18 a set; both from The Living Room (3324 Magazine St., 891-8251; 927 Royal St., 595-8860).
MYTH: It's not hip to wear a "mother's ring" with all your kids' birthstones in it.
HIT: That simply isn't true, and Mom will agree 100 percent with you if you bring her one or more of the stackable rings with tsavorite, sapphire, ruby, diamonds or no stone in them. The 18-karat gold stackable rings, which come both with and without stones, are finely detailed and can be worn together in groups (if there are several children) or alone, starting at $575, by Barbara Heinrich Studio available exclusively at Katy Beh (3701 Magazine St., 896-9600; www.katybeh.com).