Here are some out-of-the-ordinary online shopping sites from Hillary Mendelsohn, who explores the web for "The Purple Book, the Definitive Guide to Online Shopping." www.earthy.com. For all kinds of exotic mushrooms and fresh produce shipped overnight. The morel mushrooms - $35 for a quarter pound dried - she ordered made for a fabulous risotto.
www.mixedgreens.com. Buy art from up-and-coming artists. Photos, paintings, drawings of all kinds, the sort of colorful-new-funky stuff that seems like what you would find poking through some big-city galleries. The pretty green and pink polka dot and striped gift certificate envelope is a piece of art in itself. It's not your standard gift certificate, said Mendelsohn.
www.antiquejewelryexch.com. A $2,495 diamond bangle, $120 gold garnet earrings and a $135 ruby fox necklace were on the sale page of this site devoted to one-of-a-kind pieces. Here Mendelsohn found a locket on a chain with a tiny diamond for her daughter. "She went crazy," said Mendelsohn.
www.shopintuition.com. Find funky fashion of sequined espadrilles, Pucci scarves and suede lace-up boots. Mendelsohn's favorite: A $150 icy blue cashmere travel blanket that her mother now takes on every plane trip. "I think it was one of the most wonderful things," she said.
www.bigfuntoys.com. Pick out toys by category - age, hobby, sport, art. Mendelsohn found a plush baby toy with things to pull on. A blue octopus with rings and flaps, $20.
www.rubyetviolette.com. Purveyors of fancy $18-a-pound cookies with chocolate chunks and dried blueberries, or passion fruit, banana, coconut, cantaloupe and even an edible 24-carat gold leaf. Mendelsohn was taken with the candy-coated pretzel rods in bright sprinkles red hearts and autumn leaves. "You almost don't want to eat it," she said. "It's so much fun to look at."
www.hometownfavorites.com. Here's the place for old-fashioned nostalgic food that seemed as if it disappeared with the passing decades. Fluff, the marshmallow sandwich spread in strawberry, Quisp sugar cereal and Moxie soda pop.
www.luxurylink.com. Look here for four- or five-star resorts and hotels at a three-star price. One section even auctions off vacation sites all over the world.
www.lunarembassy.com. For a far-out gift, consider an $18 certificate for a patch of lunar real estate, complete with lovely moonscape drawing.