Here we go! The next round of gift inspiration at an even more affordable price — everything under $50. Gifting on a budget can be really frustrating, especially when you love to shower people in presents the way that I do. But I’ve scoured the web for thirteen items that I can imagine giving a number of people including myself which is the true test of a good gift. If you don’t want it, then why would someone else? Or at least that’s what I’ve heard…
1. Mini Card Envelope ($46) – Whether carrying around business cards or switching out a big wallet for something more “clutch-friendly,” these mini envelopes are just the kind of thing any girl (or guy!) could use when looking to keep things a bit more organized.
2. Window Box Vases ($39) – Living in an apartment equals limited space. One space that’s not occupied? My windowsill. I love the idea of resting this simple box of vases up against my window to add a little green to my home’s ambiance.
3. Love Arrow Pillow ($39) – I’ve never met anyone who didn’t enjoy a throw pillow. This one comes in a variety of different colors and though I’m not usually one who enjoys phrases on well, anything, I like the sweet simplicity of its design (and message).
4. Juicy Couture Tiny Star Bracelet ($42) – Dainty jewelry is having a major moment right now but it can often be on the pricier side. This tiny star bracelet is not only affordable, but an everyday piece that I can imagine a lot of my girl friends wearing.
5. Cards Against Humanity ($25) – This game is hands down one of the most entertaining games I’ve ever played. Play with a group of friends and I guarantee that you will not only be peeing in your pants with laughter, but you’ll soon discover that you all have much dirtier minds than you originally thought.
6. Mullein & Sparrow Pink Himalayan Bath Salts ($40) – There was a time that I swore I would never give anyone bath stuff. One too many gift baskets of aromatic Body Shop soaps and lotions lead me to despise the idea; plus, it always felt way too impersonal. Years later and I’ve grown to appreciate the relaxing gift since “bath stuff” is rarely anything I ever buy for myself. So the next time I get an urge to relax into a bath, let’s just say I wouldn’t turn up my nose were I to have a bottle of these Himalayan Salts tucked away in my medicine cabinet.
8. Kate Spade Salt & Pepper Shakers ($30) – I cannot stand that moment of placing hideous salt and pepper shakers atop a beautifully set dinner table. However necessary these seasons may be, there’s no reason they should have to be confined to such horrendous containers. These bright and festive shakers solve that ick factor and then some.
9. Care of You Sweater ($45) – Everyone loves a cozy sweater, especially around the holidays. Satisfy their wishes with this fuzzy striped number or quench your own comfy sweater needs and treat yourself!
10. Topshop Snakeskin Clutch ($50) – A clutch is one of those pieces that adds a sense of elegance to a look, though much to my surprise, a lot of women don’t own many of them. Kickstart their bound-to-be new obsession and give them a classic clutch with an edgy reptile twist that’s so affordable I may just have to go ahead and buy it myself.
11. Terrain Copper Tin Candle ($28) – Candles, another one of those gifts like bath stuff, and yet, I can’t get enough of them. Though scattered all throughout my apartment, one more would never hurt and I know I speak for many of my friends and family as well. Plus, how awesome is that copper tin?!
12. Emile Henry Flame Top Pizza Stone ($49.95) – Earlier this year my friend grilled pizza. It was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted in my life. Since the process of placing dough on the grill can be a bit advanced and tricky, this pizza stone makes achieving that chargrilled cheesy wonder all the more easy which means pizza parties all the time!
13. Hieroglyphics Building Blocks ($50) – Technically these are made for kids, but so is Twister and last time I checked, that’s a really fun game. Though all may not be as obsessed with Egypt as I am, I can imagine these being an artsy and informative addition to a bookshelf or a fun way to leave secret messages for your roommate when someone else is over.
For more holiday present inspiration, check out my Holiday Gift Guide Under $100 and stay tuned for the next round of gifts under $25.
Before leaving the house, my brothers and Dad use a saying to ensure that they don’t forget anything. It goes a little something like this: Spectacles, Testicles, Wallet, and Watch, Cash, Cellphone, Keys. (S.T.W.W.C.C.K). A pretty solid little mantra that, from as much as I can tell at my wise age of 28, has worked every time they leave home. I can’t remember the last time I went to a restaurant with my brothers or my Dad only to hear them say they forgot their wallet. I, on the other hand, have left home without my wallet many times and almost never remember to bring sunglasses with me (my form of spectacle since I don’t have actual glasses). In an effort to create my own, lady-friendly version (ovaries over testicles, am I right!?), I’ve rounded up the things that I can’t leave home without, which coincides with one of my favorite types of posts: What’s in my bag!
Keys, Ovaries, Sunglasses, and Balm, Wallet, Cellphone, Books, Headphones
Maybe not as catchy as the male tune, but it’s a start in making sure I don’t leave home without my necessities. And now a break down of the pieces above:
Orange reptile tote that carries all of this and then some by Hobo, classic black wallet by Alexander Wang, headphones that make me look cool even when I’m listening to Taylor Swift by Frends, Moleskin notebook for everyday thoughts and jottings, my latest read by the incredible Dani Shapiro, bright and easy to find cellphone case by Mara Hoffman, Top Gun sunglasses by Ray-Ban, radish key fob by Mulberry, and ultimate balm of the month in Rosé by Fresh.
How do you ensure that you leave home with everything you need?
The house I grew up in had a leopard rug that stretched from wall-to-wall throughout two floors. It was probably one of the more bold interior design moves my mom ever made and I remember coming home after school one day and being completely blown away by our now jungle-themed house. We didn’t always have such a prominent rug, in fact the rug we started out with was about as beige and neutral as they come; but with five dogs, three kids, and the accidents that come with the aforementioned group of 8, that rug quickly turned into a splotchy mess of hideousness. It may as well have been leopard. So my mom opted for something darker. Something that could withstand the oopsie daisies of the animals (and children) of the house. What I don’t think she or any of us realized was that despite a leopard rug taking over the majority of our house, it would end up being just as neutral as its predecessor, the spotty beige rug.
We’ve since moved out of that house and into a new one with a creamy yellow rug snaking its way up the stairs and throughout the halls, but my thoughts on leopard as a neutral have remained the same. In fact, just like blacks, tans, beiges, and whites, I can’t get enough of it.
More often than not, I can pair a piece of leopard-print-something with an outfit and have it look just as good, if not better than if I’d chosen something more straightforward (see this black coat). This animal print works with a bold colorful outfit, an explosive patterned ensemble, and even something as Pottery Barn neutral as this beige and white couch cushion combo I’m wearing here. Suffice it to say, it works with everything which is the very essence of being neutral, is it not?
The issue with leopard — and yes, there is one issue — is that it can often look cheap or cheesy. I recently parted with a leopard shirt, shocked that I’d ever even owned it, because it was composed of a silky, polyester-like material that was more Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman pre-makeover than it was Sonia taking a walk down Bedford Avenue. But when done correctly, leopard exudes that Kate Moss, Elizabeth Taylor timelessness that any woman — Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman pre-makeover included — wants to exude. In an effort to collect more timeless leopard, I’ve created an eBay collection dedicated to only the best leopard pieces. I already have a leopard bag and pair of pony hair leopard heels on my watch list and wouldn’t be surprised if another leopard coat found its way into a cardboard box, traveling from point A to point B — point B being my doorstep.
If leopard ain’t yo thang — though I find that hard to believe — be sure to check out my other eBay collections as they feature other classic pieces like Sinatra-inspired fedoras, an excess of Louboutin heels, and my personal favorite, a series of first edition books that I would give my first child for. Good thing I’m not preggers.
Zara coat (see my eBay picks here) | Topshop t-shirt | Rich & Skinny jeans | Converse sneakers | Alexander Wang bag | Zara scarf
// photos by Emily Malan
I love my neighborhood. I’m within walking distance of (almost) all of my friends, there’s a park just a few blocks away where I can take Finn, a cheese shop right around the corner, a coffee shop on my same street, and on top of all of that, it’s quiet. But even with the perks, I still feel like a walking cliché every time I wear plaid. Probably because when wearing said plaid I am most likely listening to something like Arcade Fire on my iPhone and drinking some kind of locally brewed coffee with soy milk. If you haven’t picked up on it by now, I live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
The moment I utter these words to any ignorant hoo-ha, they immediately ask me if I’m a hipster like it’s some kind of STD that, should they get too close, will latch onto them and never leave. But what’s so wrong with being a hipster? Aside from the stereotype of boys and girls in skinny jeans, plaid flannels, and thick-rimmed glasses with a hankering for indie music, I’d say that most “hipsters” I’ve encountered are creative, curious, and positive individuals who aren’t afraid to march to the beat of their own drum while shaking their quintessential hipster tambourine. Even though I fit the mold of all of the above — my closet is literally overflowing with skinny jeans — I still don’t consider myself a “hipster.” Maybe because I don’t feel the need to associate myself with a specific type of person. I look at this in the same light as when someone asks me to describe my style — I literally have no idea what to say. One day I’m as preppy as a sorority sister from Martha’s Vineyard and the next day I’m looking to Kate Moss for something edgy. The same goes with my taste in music, I like everything from Bruce Springsteen to The Cramps to Mozart to Rihanna to yes, indie bands like Washed Out and Hot Chip. I suppose if we were really getting specific here you could classify me as a hipster because I like tech-y things (hello, I have my own site), am creative, and try to look at the positive side of things because who wants to hang out with a Debbie Downer all the time? But still, I don’t consider myself a hipster and it’s not because I don’t want to be classified as one, I just don’t want to be classified at all. Therefore, I should have no qualms with wearing plaid while walking around my most beloved neighborhood. So here I am, looking characteristically hipster in my skin tight, circulation cutting jeans, wide-brimmed fedora, and Alternative Apparel buffalo plaid shawl/shirt hybrid that has proven to be one of the best additions to my wardrobe thanks to its unexpected design and bold color pattern.
This brings me to the moment you’ve all been patiently waiting for: the announcement of my Alternative Apparel $100 Gift Card Giveaway! Using the True Random Number Generator, I’m excited to announce that the winner is Sev, commenter #34 and lover of Cheez Its while watching TV! Congratulations!
Thank you all for entering and stay tuned for more exciting giveaways coming up in the very near future! And as for plaid, hipsters, and ignorant hoo-has, all I can say is ignore the rest and just be yourself which, I’ll have you know, is the overriding theme of my new site that, though taking longer than expected, is launching very soon!
// photos by Sara Neel
Part of a collaboration with Alternative Apparel.
It’s that time of year again! Time to stop thinking about what you’re buying for yourself and start thinking about what you’ll be giving to others! And so begins my series of gift guides at a variety of price points (Under $100, Under $50, and Under $25) to give you some gifting inspiration. No judgments though if you buy some of these for yourself, goodness knows I am…
First up, Under $100!
1. SodaStream ($99.95) – My friend was given one of these for her birthday earlier this year and I thought it was brilliant a gift idea. As a seltzer lover, this would make my life infinitely more green (no more plastic bottles) and in my opinion, who wouldn’t want to have bubbly water at their fingertips at all times?
2. West Elm Throw ($49) – Throws are one of those fail proof gifts that work for everyone. Plus it ensures that whoever the recipient is will think about you each time they curl up in it, which could be either really great or creepy. Your call.
3. DVF x HVN Cat Headphones ($95) – The perfect gift for all your cat lover/music enthusiast friends. However, I find the design to be more sleek than kitschy and thus think it’s something you could give to even the biggest of cat haters.
4. FujiFilm Instant Camera ($99.95) – Despite the digital world taking over, people still love the idea of instant film. This camera is hands down one of the best additions to any party and the design is cute to boot.
5. Grand Bazaar Blue Byzantine Necklace ($80) – I approach gifting jewelry the same way I approach buying jewelry for myself; it all comes down to one simple question: “Would I wear this?” This piece is classic with a twist and I can imagine it working not only in my own personal wardrobe but also in that of my edgier friends as well as those more refined.
6. Lilka Pom Slippers ($58) – I feel like I don’t even need to explain these slippers, they’re just that cute and seasonally timeless. But I suppose if you’re really in a pickle about which friend to give these to, I’d say go with the one who likes watching Aladdin and isn’t afraid of bright colors.
7. Sound Splash Waterproof Wireless Shower Speaker ($60) – Showering to music is like putting salt on chocolate. You don’t know what you’re missing until you try it. The problem is the overriding fear that steam or water will destroy your phone while you’re scrubbing away to the sounds of Earth, Wind & Fire. This wireless waterproof speaker solves all the problems as it can chill in your shower with your shampoo and conditioner while connecting to your (dry) phone in the other room! Huzzah!
8. Bodum French Press ($60) – Coffee makers are generally unattractive and for something that we drink on a daily basis, that just irritates me. This gilded french press is chic enough for display while still providing that much needed morning jolt of caffeine.
9. Uncommon Goods Decanter Set ($65) – I gave this set to my friend and her husband for their wedding. I love how intimate it is with just the right touch of humor.
10. Jane & Serge: A Family Album by Andrew Birkin ($60) – Coffee table books, another fail proof gift. Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg are at the top of my icons list and this book features a whole slew of never before seen photographs of the effortlessly cool French duo.
11. Crest1 Bottle Opener ($80) – This bottle opener is one of those things that, were I to see it at someone’s house I’d think: “Ugh, pretentious asshole” while simultaneously and secretly wanting it. It’s no doubt a conversation starter, I can imagine it working as a gift for either a guy or a girl, and the design is awesome enough to keep on display at all times. Those three elements make it an ideal gift, even if they wind up being the pretentious person with an unbeatably cool bottle opener.