I hope you'll find some ideas on this list of something to get for your loved ones, and that I've provided a good balance of items in relation to cost. Some are things I buy just for me, and others are yearly go-to's for friends and family.
When compiling the list I realized that all the things I love have a connection to a part of my life, and thus, have their own wee stories. So feel free to skip right to the list if you don't want to read all my background blathering below.
I am a bit of a closet product junkie. As a little girl, I saved my allowance to buy candy (you will remember my candy obsession from the book, I bet!) and, of all things, makeup. So while I may only be 32 years old, please know that my recommendations are pretty legitimate: I have been learning about and experimenting with makeup since I was nine, so technically I have 23 years of experience with it. (I no longer apply lipstick to my forehead.) Living in New York City and working in publishing, you learn some good secrets to scrape by financially. If I ever had to go to an afterwork function, or when I was single, on a date after work, I would swoop into SEPHORA, spritz on perfume and redo my makeup there, all for f-r-e-e. I rationalized that since I bought all my cosmetics there anyway, they were still the true winners of the arrangement. Besides, they love when people come in to play. I now order from them online, since we don't have a store in Charleston. They offer free shipping on orders over $50, free returns, even if a product is used, (say, you break out from it, etc.) and with every order you get to pick from a selection of 3 samples.
It wasn't long after I moved to the city that I had to get a second job just to be able to afford rent and scrape by on credit card bills and groceries. I landed a part time position working at Sabon, an up-market Israeli bath product store that had just opened a block from my apartment. I'd always loved soaps and shower products. Sabon has now become a favorite gift of family and friends alike. (My mother is obsessed with their Grass scented glycerine soap, and we get it for her every year.) Sabon uses salt from the Dead Sea in many of their products, which is known for its healing properties. I got hooked on a few of their products while there, and wanted to share with you.
Prior to moving to New York, I had worked on the island of Nantucket for John Harding of Nantucket Natural Oils, a perfume maker for the stars with a "Nose," capital N. He is a true perfume master, and also was the person who first got me excited about aromatherapy and using essential oils in holistic medicine. While there, I developed my own scent as a gift for my sister. It's a delicate, green, floral and fresh scent. Because we share a love for the mountains, I crafted it to smell like you're standing in a field of wild flowers after a rain storm. I named it "KAIPEI" and KP we both still wear it. He still has my 'recipe' on file and if you like, you can order it too.** Note: You'll probably have to mention my name. The recipe is on my personal card file with him. He keeps track of what customers order on a file because when you buy 4 (whether it be over 1 year or 6 years time) you get 1 free. This way, if you create your own scent, as I did, he also has it on file so he can make it for you again when you run out.
John's perfumes are all in oil form, they don't contain alcohol. A $45 size, the smallest you can buy, will truly last you 1-2 years, and unlike department store perfumes, because there's no alcohol, the scent doesn't evaporate off your body in half an hour either (all the while nearly knocking people unconscious as you pass). It's a softer smell, and it lasts on your skin up to 8 hours. John also offers pretty much any designer scent you can imagine without the alcohol. Right now he's having a "buy 2 get 1 free" special. It's an amazing shop.
My love for single malt whiskey was developed in Scotland, and if you're just getting started, you can never go wrong with Macallan 12 or Glenlivet 12. Subtle notes of caramel in both=delicious. If you want to try something smokey, try Laphroaig. It's like drinking a campfire. (I personally don't enjoy it much. I like the smoother, less peaty single malts)
Lastly, my favorite gifts to give or receive can often be found or made things. My father was known for this. For one of my birthdays, my father gifted me a fossilized trilobite that he found on a gorge walk in Ithaca. In a letter when I was living in Cape Cod for a summer, he sent me a small stick that was naturally formed in the shape of a duck head. Another year he gave me a small piece of granite he'd found in the perfect shape of a heart. These things I treasure.
I'm Not Oprah But I Also Have Favorite Things Guide
Sabon Shower Oil ($18) is a creamy shower gel that leaves you smelling like a slice of heaven. Sabon's Body Gel Polisher ($17) makes a great gift for sloughing away dry winter skin. It's a shower gel with beads of Dead Sea Salt so it cleans while it softens. I love both in Patchouli Lavender Vanilla. Not a fan of Patchouli? This scent has made a convert out of more than a few former Patchouli haters, including myself! But they do have bountiful other gorgeous scents. Mom's favorite product is the Glycerine Grass Soap and KP loves the Carrot Body Lotion.
2. Nantucket Natural Oil Perfumes: John Harding offers pretty much any designer scent you can think of, only without the yucky chemicals and alcohol. The scent I crafted is called "KAIPEI" (you'll have to request it and tell him the recipe is on my card, but he can make it) and I also love the Ralph Lauren Romance they offer. The quarter ounce size will truly last you about a year, and it's $45. I buy the .50 oz. size, and it lasts me 2 years. Great for people with allergies who can't wear regular perfumes. The carrier oil is Almond Oil.
Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream ($39) is a sunscreen, tinted moisturizer, primer and anti-aging treatment in one. It can be layered to create the look of a dewey foundation, and it is spectacular. Oh, and did I mention it also controls oil? I don't go anywhere without it. One tube lasts me about 6 months. Too Faced Shadow Insurance (Candelight $18) is what I wear instead of eye-shadow most days. It has a light golden sheen that can be worn alone or under another shadow, helps your eye makeup stay put all day. For blush, I'm infatuated with NARS. The shade is... oh please forgive me, but it's called Orgasm ($28). It's been a cult favorite among makeup gurus for a few years now because the shade looks good on nearly every woman's skin tone. After trying several blushes, this one is the only one I'll use. I absolutely love it. For zit coverage, I swear by Body Shop's Tea Tree Concealer ($9). It treats the blemish while covering, and helps it heal up in no time flat.
Ugg Bailey Bomber Boot (Tall, Chocolate Natural $240). They're admittedly pricey, but if they're your thing, they're worth every penny. Especially if you travel often to chilly places or live in cold climates.
|You can find both scrap book paper for wrapping and little charms |
at Michael's or Hobby Lobby
I hope this sparks some ideas for you this holiday season, and I'd love to hear about your favorite things too!
With Warmest Holiday Wishes,