Saturday, February 8, 2014

Valentine's Day or Engagement Gift (Married Bucket List)

I've celebrated Valentine's days before, but because this is my first as a wife, I'm hoping to make it special! My husband is a hard one because he doesn't love "stuff" as much as I do, but I got a great idea thanks to my friend. She was talking about her bucket list and I thought "Yes! A family bucket list for us to do together!" I got a Paperblanks journal or you can buy any other journal he might like (favorite team, color, whatever), and wrote things to do at the top of the page and left the rest of the page blank to be able to write the date and a description of how it all went down. Some examples include:

  • Go to the Olympics (I'm watching right now)
  • Create our own flavor of ice cream
  • Experience zero gravity
  • Watch a meteor shower
  • Swim with glow in the dark algae in the ocean
  • Skinny dip in the bay next to our home (keep old age at bay)
  • Places to go
Great gift for him as a newly married couple (did I mention also inexpensive?), plus it promises more fun to come! Also a good gift for other couples, you might fill in a couple items but let them do the rest!

Rule: Don't Take a Risk (but still be thoughtful)

Sooo, I know it's been a while but I promise there are many more gifts to give this year! As 2014 rolls around... I hate to, but I have to admit that some people could put a little bit more effort into picking gifts. Giving gifts is personal, so the first thing I do is remember my audience. My rule: never give him or her what I like (unless you know they like it too!), but give the recipient what they like (big one: even if you HATE it). This means you have to know the person really well to be able to give them a highly subjective gift they will enjoy such as:

  • perfume/cologne
  • jewelry
  • home decor
  • art
  • certain articles of clothing/accessories
SO DON'T give a SUBJECTIVE gift if you're not sure they'll wear it or put it in their home, etc. That being said, you can still give them a thoughtful gift. Let's say you know the person loves art, but you're not sure what artists or even what type of art they like. You can always dig a little deeper and find out what they love, or get them a gift certificate to a print store for reproductions of famous pieces, or a gift certificate to a local gallery, or even go the extra mile to turn it into an experience such as taking him or her to an outside art fair! Think of all the possible ways to make this person happy, which is what you wanted to accomplish. A little bit pf prep goes a long way!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Bless my dear grandparents! As they are in their 80's, buying gifts for them has been getting harder. I find that my gifts tend toward the sentimental or practical. I recently made them a scrapbook, so this year I decided to get them a luxury plush throw from Restoration Hardware. I received the cream one last year from one of my girlfriend's and have loved it ever since! It's a great size and is super comfy-- Also machine washable which I love love love! On sale from $59 to $29, not kidding.


As I've said before, it's a difficult thing to shop for a man who doesn't want anything and doesn't need much, but the one thing my father can't say no to is COMFORT. That's why this year, I got him and his wife sheepskin lined slippers. I find that UGGs are super comfortable and last a long time, but there are cheaper options out there as well. LL Bean does a good job at the slipper thing too! Below you'll find pictures of UGG's Byron slipper for men and Dakota slipper for women.

Gift for Girlfriend

One of my best girlfriends loves vintage looking jewelry; I always troll around markets and shops with her to find pretty beads or pieces. That's why when I saw this necklace at J. Crew, I knew it'd be great for her! The link doesn't take you to the exact one I saw in the store because I couldn't find it online, but it's similar and J. Crew always has new pieces coming in. Here's a picture of one that's similar in style.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gifts for Uncles

This year, I gave all the men in my family different products from The Art of Shaving. This company does a great job of elevating an every day activity to something luxurious... I love the lavender scent but picked a neutral scent for others!

Gifts for the Ladies

It's great when I'm able to give gifts that I've personally used and loved. This year, for the ladies in my family, I've filled their gift baskets with:

- A cute holiday paper pad to jot down their shopping lists. Everyone can always use a list pad, Expressionery has great ones that are good for any occasion!

- Too Faced shadow insurance from Sephora, it's an amazing shadow primer that makes your eye shadow stay put and stay crease-free ALL day! I can't live without it now.

- And a skinny patent leather belt from J.Crew. I have a few of them and you can dress them up or down and wear them with just about anything! It can work for any aged lady in my family!

Xmas Gifts for Girlfriends

This year's gifts: a cute colorful pashmina, matching lace undies from Victoria's Secret and a fruity lipgloss!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wedding Gifts

I've been to a slew of weddings recently and thus have had to give my fair share of gifts celebrating matrimonial bliss.

Contrary to most other gift-giving occasions, weddings are NOT the time to get super creative. Generally, it is advised to go off the couple's gift registries. Should they not be registered, money is also appreciated. Other times, the couple may suggest a favorite non-profit organization so that donations can be made instead of receiving gifts/money.

Although the main gift should follow the general rules above, you can always add a personal touch! Go ahead and put a cute picture of the couple in the sterling silver frame you purchased off their registry, or add an inside joke to the card, or even knit them a trivit in their favorite colors. Touches like this make even the most mundane of gifts somewhat personal and ensures that the couple is still receiving what they want!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Xmas Gift for my Mother

My holiday gift for my mother had many pieces to it, but her bigger gift was a coffee-table photography book of the Beatles (her favorite). Barnes and Nobles has great bargains on coffee-table books during the holidays so be sure to check them out! This gift can readily apply to anyone with a favorite band, topic, or hobby and it's also gender neutral. This can also apply to a couple who has a shared interest!

Xmas for Uncles

It's always difficult for me when I know I have to give a group of men a gift, knowing that they'll be opening them in front of one another. Being the gift-giver that I am, I'd love to personalize the gifts but alas, I don't want to offend anyone in thinking that some gifts are better than others.

This year, I went with some very handsome scarves. The prints were varying and the colors were different as well, and I took note to which uncles wear what colors the most. Water color blues for my pastel-color loving uncle, and masculine navy/grey stripes for my black wearing uncle, etc.

Banana Republic always has good ones during the winter that fit well within the budget of any savvy shopper!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

BF's Parents' Gift + stocking stuffer

My friends recently introduced me to a really great game called Settlers of Catan and I knew that would be a hit with my bf's parents because we love to play board games when we're together!
I got it off Amazon and also got them the expansion pack which is well worth it, because the game works the best with 4 players. As a stocking stuffer, I got them the #1 Pet ornament from Pottery barn with a picture of their family dog, Archie!

BF stocking stuffer

Another great stocking stuffer from the Personalization Mall! As this was the first set of holidays my bf and I split between our two families, it was the first Christmas we'd spent together. I wanted to commemorate the occasion by getting an engraved ornament that said the date and the #1. I hope to give him a new number each Christmas so that we can travel round the tree to count the years!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

BF's X-mas Gift + Stocking stuffer + Groomsmen gifts

As mentioned in a previous post, my BF currently goes to school in Michigan and it can get quite chilly there. It's unfortunate that my X-mas gift was backordered and didn't arrive until March, but they're so deliciously warm and good-looking that I'll forgive LL Bean for their gaffe! Did I mention they have these in women's sizes as well? Also, check out the multi-functional titanium collar stays (sweet stocking stuffer!) from Bonobos that are also bottle-openers! Can't get more festive than that. Update: husband bought these for his groomsmen and had a short inside joke engraved on one and their initials on the other.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Aunts and Uncles

Alas, like the other kids who hail from the half of the population whose marriages didn't quite make it, I will be spending Christmas with my mother's side this year. To let my family from my father's side know that I will miss them dearly and that I wish them all the merriment in the world, I've sent a delightful Harry and David All Occasion Tower of Treats. Not only does Harry and David have excellent delivery service, but their Royal Riviera pears are so delicious!!

College Besties

I generally get my roommates from college the same thing, sometimes with a little bit of customization! This year's presents:

- Copy of the "Bridesmaid Guide" by Kate Chynoweth. Such a cute and useful book as we'll all be each other's bridesmaids coming up!
- Minimergency kit (perfect for my teacher roommates): Hairspray, Clear Nail Polish, Nail Polish Remover, Emery Board, Lip Balm, Earring Backs, Clear Elastics, Sewing Kit, Double-Sided Tape, Stain Remover, Deodorant Towelette, Pain Reliever, Tampon, Breath Freshener, Dental Floss, and Adhesive Bandages
- Lilly Pulitzer stationary (perky stationary for my perky teacher friends)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Yankee Swap Ideas

The holiday season means merriment, parties, and gift exchanges! This often sends people into a dizzying tizzy about what to present that's gender neutral, funny, or thoughtful (and let's be honest, you kind of want your gift to be "stolen" at least once).

FOR CLOSE FRIENDS: So since I just witnessed one of the best yankee swap gift exchanges with close friends (it was filled with laughs, "oohs," "ahhs," and stealing), I thought I'd share the notable mentions. (It was a $20 maximum for twenty something year olds)

  • Fish, with requisite fish bowl and food!
  • 20 single $1 bills (labeled for a bachelor or bachelorette party)
  • whiskey stones (amazing to cool down your drink without watering it down)
  • $20 gift certificate to a local lunch spot
  • Mine: "holiday party for two" gift basket... Two mini bottles of champagne, cheese and crackers, milano cookies, whipped cream. Nothing says holidays like romantic gestures!
WORK COLLEAGUES: Work or non close friend swaps are completely different story, ie stay clear of fish bowls, $1 dollar bills, etc. Best ones are stocking stuffer type items, cool but inexpensive tech gifts like mini speakers or water proof music ear buds. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Stocking Stuffers!

Tartan holiday cards... plus jingle bell bobby pins from Kate Spade

Baby Gifts!

Coolest gift of the season for the little ones! Critter Slippers at Garnet Hill ! My favorites; sheep and shark.

Also, these are perfect to stock up on to stash in your gift box. Know your nephew/niece/daughter/son will be bigger next year? Buy a size or two up in another critter! These will always be a hit.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Birthday Gifts for GF's

Recently, two of my gf's had their birthdays and I got them photo gifts. Generally, I'm not a huge fan but I got these notepads from Snapfish that were so easy and super cute! I customized them with a photo in the corner (on every page) and their name on top. I threw in some additional photos in picture frames and a little Kate Spade stationary and was good to go!


A great pair of pants for men (very comfortable/affordable/cute on the behind).. and super cute pocket linings that peep out. Incentive: pants are made in limited quantities with each lining, so they're all limited edition at Bonobos!

Stocking Stuffer!

Such a good stocking stuffer for all your friends (who like to drink)! Get them early 'cause these sell out every year (from Restoration Hardware)!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Boyfriend's birthday

Some back to school essentials for the new student... Croakies so as not to lose sunglasses frequently and Land's End ever stylish yet classic driving moccasins. Only thing I regret is not getting one of the new collegiate UMich croakies instead...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Aunt's Birthday

As I've said before, sometimes it's nice to get a bunch of little gifts rather than one big one!

My aunt is an avid gardner, so I went with a floral themed birthday gift. I got beautiful floral mugs, floral stationary in a cute box, a travel Votivo candle, and gummy vitamin bears (calcium to keep her bones strong)!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Birthday Gift for Uncle

I know I said I wasn't too crazy on photo gifts, but sometimes sentiment rules.

Got a super cute photo of my uncle and myself and put it on a photo mug from snapfish, and it turned out great!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Father's Birthday Gift

It's hard to shop for my father because he doesn't need much and what he does need, he gets. We'll be meeting in CA soon, so I thought I'd get him a nice framed art print that'll remind him of summer. I got him this beautiful print of a sailboat that has these architectural lines that he'll appreciate. It's from an etsy shop called delaflamant, this artist makes great modern prints!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Birthday Gift for my Mother

So I normally steer clear of buying my mother clothes or anything related because she's a stylist and I get nervous on the likely chance she finds it heinous, BUT- I found this leather jacket at CUSP which I thought she'd love. One, it's so soft and incredibly thin which is perfect for a california night as a quick layer, also, it's in a beautiful chocolate brown which she'll love... hopefully! You can also get it at Nordstrom, Neimans, or Barneys.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Gift for... me

You have to get a nice gift for yourself every once in a while! Got a perfect cocktail dress from Alice and Olivia for the wedding circuit. RULE: I always think it's best to get cute dresses when you see them because when you're scrambling for one the weekend before an event, you always buy one you don't necessarily love.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Birthday Gift for my Grandmother

Sometimes it's good to go in on a gift with someone else. My Grandmother LOVES scarves, so my dearest cousin picked out a really cute Missoni one!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Birthday Gift

Sometimes, I prefer to get a few smaller gifts rather than a big one. For my best friend Sara, I got her 3 of her favorite things; anything pomegranate (pomegranate/white tea gummy pandas from Bissinger's Confections, they also have other flavors like blueberry acai and goji guava), a cute printed clutch for summer (from J.Crew), and a little "gossip" (Amazon always has great prices for DVD's).

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Mother's Day Gift

I'll be seeing my mother shortly, so I wanted to give her something I could present to her in person. She has a weakness for figure sketches, and I saw this one on Etsy from the artist Gretchen Kelly and it was a done deal!

Mother's Day

Boyfriend: What's a good gift for my mother?

I reminded him that his parents are planning to travel to Africa soon and that he should get something related to that... I hinted towards a travel journal and Kolo has such cute ones that are part journal, photo book, and agenda. The small and larger journal comes with two inserts (photo sleeve and notebook) and the larger one can even fit a third insert which you can buy separately.

Me: Get this, say it's for the upcoming Africa trip, insert a picture of you, your brother, and the family dog so she won't miss you too much. Mothers can't get enough of that stuff!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Birthday Gift

Just purchased this print for my friend Jeff. He's a pretty hip guy who just moved to NYC, so I wanted to get him something cool to hang in his new apartment. It's from the artist S.Sarat's Etsy Shop. Etsy is an online community of buyers/sellers of all things handmade or vintage, and it's a great place to find something unique that won't break the bank, although be warned... you'll have to sift through a lot of stores to find the best ones. I'll post links to any of the stores I purchase from.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Engagement Gift

Great gifts don't have to be expensive! Recently, two of my best friends got engaged. We don't live near each other anymore, so we were thinking "what can we send as a cute gift to say congrats?"

We sent off a couple bridal magazine subscriptions each (one was Southern Bride for my Southern belle gf) and a small little something (CD from Williams-Sonoma made for playing at a dinner party, for the pair who likes to entertain frequently). This is great because it's a gift that keeps giving pretty much until the wedding, and it helps the bride-to-be get excited about all the planning!

Love this site because they can send greeting postcards along with your gift subscription.

Congrats to Dane/Fish and Kate/Matt! xo

Soap/Candle Gift Set

Found another on GILT. The himalayan larch set from Red Flower, includes a soap, a soap dish, and a candle. So perfect for housewarming or gifts that need to go to couples! I know just who I want to give this to!

P.S. When doing fragranced items, make sure you know the tastes of the recipient. If you don't, it's better to go with a non-fragranced item or something that's very neutral. Never pick something that's a strong scent unless you know the person will love it. Ex: red currant.

Fun Earrings

I'm not going to lie, I love a good deal.

Just snapped up two pairs of Kendra Scott earrings from GILT for $42 (originally $88) and $35 (originally $75). They aren't fine jewelry, but great pieces for your girlfriends because they're fun and for a season. I'm thinking one for the gift box, and one for me! If you're not a member of GILT, you should join because they have some great deals.

Pictures are below, and check her website if you want to know where to purchase her jewelry.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Last Minute Gift Scramble No More

This post is directed towards my fellow ladies, I don't purport to think that my male counterparts will have the foresight to do this... but maybe someone will surprise me.

Have you ever been invited to a last minute house warming party? An office colleague's bday? Or you forgot about your friend's birthday dinner... that's tonight?


Every sensible lady should have a gift box in her home, a place to stash good finds and cute treasures to give at a future unknown date for an unknown recipient/occasion or for a very specific occasion for a known recipient.

Stocking the gift box: This is an easy task for ladies who are often out and about. Whenever I'm shopping, I always keep an eye out for things that are appropriate to stock up on. If you see a cute item and you think to yourself, "this is so cute, but I don't really need it" or "this would be great for so and so but their birthday just passed," then you should purchase the item for the gift box! I'm a huge fan of buying something you love when you love it, instead of scrambling to buy something that's not even that great later on when you're in a crunch.

Good things to have on hand in your box or to get you started
  • nice candles (Votivo is great)
  • gift cards THAT DON'T EXPIRE or REDUCE IN VALUE (restaurants, spas, itunes)
  • great stationary (Cartier, Kate Spade, Crane and Co.)
  • wine
  • nice cookbooks (Willams-Sonoma has great ones!)
  • leather notebooks/passport cases/luggage tags
  • cashmere accessories
  • Coffee table books (destinations, artist's work, photographs)

Currently in mine
  • Candles (in different scents, some are seasonless so I can give them year round and others are more season specific), I recently purchased Votivo garden candles on sale from GILT
  • Kate Spade Gift Cards (these are labeled for someone in particular)
  • gloves
  • A set of Richard Avedon postcards (Portraits of Power)
  • Really cool silicone propeller trivets by Verbena

The gift box also helps when you've already purchased a gift for someone and you want to top it off with another little item!

First Post

I love gifts.

I love the whole process; the buying, the wrapping, the giving, the opening bit. I really just love knowing that I've given a gift the recipient will enjoy.

Good gift giving can be tough; never get an item the recipient would purchase for themselves! So many times I've heard the usual complaints, "I don't know what to get," "It's so hard to find a good gift," "what are you getting him/her?" Etc.

I genuinely enjoy the process so I've decided to blog it; it'll help me track the good gifts and help me not repeat (although repeats don't necessarily have to be bad!), and perhaps it might even give others who are in a bind a good idea.