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Gift Guide

Gift Guide

10 Under $25 Holiday Gifts (That You’ll Want To Keep)

10 under $25 holiday gift guide header

So here’s the truth: Gift guides are not my favorites.

I find they are an aggressive way for retailers, marketers and YES, bloggers to push product. Often times the gifts are out of price range, not practical, or just plain silly. Everyone does them and you’re probably sick of seeing them.

So what am I writing all of this?

Well, mostly because I think some of toughest gift recipients are generally overlooked in all of the gift guiding. You know who I’m talking about, right?

Those small, inexpensive and not too personal gifts you give to co-workers, school bus drivers, dance instructors and anyone else you may cross paths with on a daily basis. These are the gifts that you wait until the last possible minute to purchase before your Secret Santa gift exchange. These are the gifts that keep you in the crowded, over-heated stores wandering the aisles and wishing you could be anywhere else. Basically, these are the gifts that drive us all crazy…

Unless we’re on the recipient end,in which case you’re highly appreciative of the kind and thoughtful gesture you just received.

Without further adieu, I present to you my 10 holiday gifts under $25 that will be hard to give away!

one (a puzzle that can double as art!) // two // three // four (the plant that even I can’t kill!) // five // six (since the book is on SALE — you can splurge on these COLORED PENCILS too!) // seven — in FUSCIA or RED // eight // nine (the cutest + quirkiest door mats that will brighten any space!) // ten // eleven (a bonus gift idea!)

Feeling a little better now about tackling that list? No need to stress — especially if you’re shopping online. You got this!

Ho, Ho, Ho.

XOXO-signature

Gift Guide

The Perfect Last-Minute Gift

Over the years, one thing I’ve learned about the holidays is to expect the unexpected. No doubt, there will be a party I didn’t plan for, a gift recipient I didn’t consider, or someone that I totally screwed up and blanked on (#mybad). The other thing I’ve learned is to be prepared with small, special gifts that appear thoughtful and well-planned, even at the very last minute. What’s the worst that can happen? I surprise myself, don’t actually leave anyone off of the gift list and am left to enjoy some holiday goodies that went ungifted. Yeah, I’ll take that hit for the team anytime.

1. Stationary & Desk Accessories

STATIONARY is just one of those things you are always happy to have around, but never want to splurge on yourself. The makings of a perfect gift. Add in some clever PENCILS and a TAPE DISPENSER that is as practical as it is pretty to look at, and you have yourself a fantastic gift.

2. Pajamas

A crisp, timeless PAJAMA SET would please any gift recipient and probably give them a good excuse to retire those 15+ year old pajamas with the dancing Mr. Peanut on them. Oh, wait… that’s me.

3. Amazon Prime

The ideal last minute gift for a last-minute gift giver (kind of meta, no?). Not only does an AMAZON PRIME ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION offer the recipient a year’s worth of free 2-day shipping on millions of items, but it also opens up an entire world of movies, TV shows and e-books.

4. Succulents & Planters

It’s the plant of choice for any “Black Thumb” gardener. Requiring little, to no attention a SUCCULENT TERRARIUM offers a dose of high-style greenery that will outlast any fruitcake. 

5. Jeni’s Ice Cream Subscription & Dishes

A trio of JENI’S SPLENDID ICE CREAM (CROWD FAVORITES COLLECTION) would be the hit of any dinner party, especially if these cute ICE CREAM DISHES came with it! Now, if you offered to wash those dishes at the end of the night, I guarantee you’ll be on the host/hostesses’ invite list for years to come.

6. Blue Bottle Coffee Subscription

A coffee connoisseurs caffeinated dream come true… A BLUE BOTTLE GIFT SUBSCRIPTION will keep the pep in your giftee’s step each month. Why not throw in a cute COFFEE MUG that will keep them smiling?

Do YOU have any gift “go-to’s” for your last-minute exchanges?

XOXO signature

Gift Guide

The Experience(d) Gifter

giving experiences as gifts for the holidays gift guide

Hopefully, by now you’ve made some good progress on your holiday shopping list. I’m going to take a moment to humblebrag and let you all know that this girl is DONE! Yeah, baby. I haven’t removed aforementioned gifts from their UPS box(es) or wrapped anything, but at least the hard part is finished. If you’re still stuck on great gift ideas for the wonderful people in your life I think it’s time to step away from the traditional gift guides. Go ahead, get up, stretch your legs and mouse-clicking fingers because it’s time to clear your head and proceed in an entirely different direction.

Now think back to the most wonderful gift you’ve ever received from someone. Chances are it’s not a scarf, a sweater, or even a diamond (wow, you GO GIRL with that diamond!). More likely it’s an experience that you got to share with another person, or even enjoy yourself. It was something intangible, yet more memorable than anything that comes in a shopping bag from Barneys. Sorry Barneys, you know I adore you.

Here are just a few “experience” gifts that I think anyone would be lucky to receive:

Sports Event: SNEAKERS // NBA TICKETS 

Concert Tickets: EARBUDS // iTUNES GIFTCARD // CONCERT TICKETS

Spa Day: BATHROBE // NAIL POLISH // FACIAL MASQUE // LIP BALM // SPA CERTIFICATE

Cooking Class: KITCHEN TOWELS // FIG JAM // CHEESE  KNIVES // CHOPPING BLOCK // COOKING CLASS

Of course, I couldn’t complete this post without a little shameless self promotion of my own…

Have a friend or family member in need of some fashion/style TLC? Or how about a new-mom that hasn’t really had a moment to refocus on herself post-baby? Know someone who’s a weight loss success-story and doesn’t have a winning wardrobe to match their new body? Just want to do something nice for a selfless someone who never takes the time to focus on themselves?

Here’s the perfect gift: a CLOSET STYLE-IN personal styling session with me!

For all of the details on this 3-hr styling package, check out my SERVICES link found at the top of your screen. It truly is a unique experience to give someone you love that will not only leave them with a clean and organized closet, but with a new attitude and confidence about how they look!

XOXO signature

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Gift Guide

A “Lovely” Mother’s Day Gift Guide

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, I thought this would be the perfect time to partner with one of my favorite new stores in town to curate the ultimate Mother’s Day gift guide.  Grab a seat, maybe a snack (I’m craving apple slices and peanut butter myself… those Pink Lady apples are just THE BEST) and prepare to be blown away, because I’m going to divulge what moms REALLY want for Mother’s Day.

Ladies, set aside that “you don’t need get me anything,” or the inevitable “just get me something from the heart”… blah, blah, blah. We all want something, even if we don’t know it won’t admit it; it’s just a matter of matching the perfect gift with the perfect mom recipient.  Luckily, we have Kate, the owner of the very special stationery and gift boutique, Lovely Paperie & Gifts to help guide us through Mother’s Day murky waters.

Lovely Paperie & Gifts

If you’re in the Cleveland area (specifically Rocky River), you MUST drop into Lovely Paperie .  It’s a beautiful space filled with beautiful things that you never thought you wanted/needed, but you do.  After years of event planning in Chicago, Kate has a great eye and it comes through in her buying selections and displays.  Everything is just so… well… lovely!

Now, without further adieu, let’s get to the gifting!

THE NEW MOM

Mother's Day Gift Guide Stacking Ring

I’ve never been too sentimental with my jewelry, but THIS is a jewelry trend I can get behind.  What new mom wouldn’t want a gold stacking ring set to wear as her “MAMA” badge of honor?  It’s sweet, without being cloying.  Better yet, you’ll be right on trend with your new set of delicate stackables. This one is by Kris Nations.

THE BRAINIAC

Mother's Day Gift Guide Coffee Table Books

Coffee table books make great gifts for a number of reasons… 1) They’re just straight up pretty 2) They are items which are always out on display and remind the recipient of how much you love them (vs. that spring scarf that gets worn once and stashed in the depths of a closet) 3) They’re personal and can be matched up with your mom’s personality and interests 4) They’re collectible… one is never enough!

THE PREPSTER

Mother's Day Monogram Necklance

Let’s start by chatting about that fabulous wallpaper!  I’m in love.  Ok, back to business. Moms. Gift guide. Ah, yes… if your mom is an etiquette loving, Lilly Pulitzer/Tory Burch wearing preppy little lady, how about a custom monogram necklace?  These necklaces by Moon and Lola are not only affordable, but make a statement.  In an understated, proper, lady-who-lunches sort of way, of course.

THE QUIRKY MOM

Mother's Day Gift Guide Candle

Honestly, this mom type is probably the trickiest, but no worries.  As a mom myself, I do know enough about motherhood to tell you that you begin to appreciate good smells more once you have kids.  The downhill smell slide starts early on with diapers, progressing slowly to spilled milk in the car, then onto nasty sports equipment, questionable teeth brushing… you get the point. Long story, short… kids come with a lot of bad smells.  These Fringe candles will ensure that your home smells AMAZING through it all.  They look pretty cool too.

THE STATIONARY MAVEN

stationary 2

If you have a mom that can’t walk past a Hallmark, Papyrus or even the stationary aisle at Target without getting sucked in, this gift is definitely for you! Lovely has a huge selection of customizable paper goods from stationary, to napkins and coasters.  I’m a sucker for a good letterpress, especially when it’s available with amazing font, color and design options like the ones offered by Haute Papier.

THE ENTERTAINER

Mother's Day Gift Guide Silver Platter

OK, these Beatriz Ball platters and serveware are my new obsession.  In addition to being totally cool looking and modern interpretations of very classic items, they are also freezer AND oven safe!  No joke.  If your mom loves to cook and entertain, she will love this line.  Even if your mom never cooks, never entertains but enjoys a nice glass of pink zinfandel in her fluffy yellow bathrobe, she would love to chill that aforementioned pink zinfandel in the ice bucket.

THE REALIST

Mother's Day Gift Guide Cards

Greeting cards (from left to right): The Social Type, Emily McDowell & Sugar Paper
Hair poufs/pins: Ban.do

I’ve never loved the flowery, mushy, shed a tear type of cards.  These cards above are totally my speed.  They just tell it like it is. BOOM.

So what are you getting your mom this year?

XOXO,

Stella

 

Gift Guide

Unique Bridal Party Gifts For Her

Unique Bridal Party Gifts for Her (Header)

One of the toughest tasks I had as a bride was selecting a great bridesmaid gift for my very stylish, very selective and very individual girlfriends.  I didn’t want to gift them all the same hum-drum necklace that I knew would be worn once the day of the wedding then relegated to the depths of their jewelry boxes for eternity.  Clutches were just eh… I knew they all owned much nicer bags than I could afford them.  A bottle of booze?  Snooze fest.  After weeks of racking my brain, I ended up giving them each a spa certificate for a mani/pedi and massage.  It was something they could customize to their own tastes and an experience we could share together.

To make your bridal party gifting a much less stressful experience, I’ve assembled some super cute ideas for the ladies in your life. Hopefully, it inspires you to think outside of the traditional bridesmaid gift-box and find something special all the girls will love as much as they love you!

Unique Bridal Party Gifts for Her

Pajama Themed Gift: Madewell polka dot pj / Good Morning/Night sleep mask

Custom Gold Bangle:  Coordinates rose gold bracelet

Champagne Saucers:  Schott Zwiesel champagne glasses (set of 6)

Eyewear Gift Certificate: Warby Parker gift card

Custom Monogrammed Stationery: Sugar Paper Confetti monogram cards

Activity & Sleep Monitor: Fitbit Flex, violet

Tech Accessory: Skinnydip iPhone 5 case

Coffee Themed Gift:  BonJour french press / Kate Spade drinkware / Illy® Ground Coffee, Moka

Essentially, all of these gift ideas are things that a girl would WANT, but not necessarily treat herself to.  By the way, if anyone wants  to get me a gift for no apparent reason, I would take ALL of the above.  Happily!

What has been YOUR favorite bridal party gift you’ve been gifted?

XOXO,

Stella

Gift Guide

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide 2014

Valentine's Day Gift Guide Header

I was just organizing my February calendar and I’m in shock that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  When did THAT happen? Truthfully, it’s never been one of my favorite holidays to celebrate with the hubby.  Both of us just find it a little too manufactured and cliche for our relationship.  In recent years, we’ve used it as an opportunity to get the kids involved in the national love-fest with fun little toys (i.e. the singing monkeys that just won’t die!), handwritten cards and lots of hugs and kisses.  That’s become the new family tradition we’ve created and hopefully the kiddies will carry it forward into their own adult lives.

For those of you feeling the love, I’ve put together a bit of a gift guide to help you make your selections for those nearest and dearest to you!  Perhaps, there might be a little somethin’-somethin’ on there to add to your own personal collection!

Valentines Day 2014 Gift Guide

1. Clare Vivier leather clutch / 2. & 3. Eberjey ‘Estelle’ racerback bralet  & cinched boy thong / 4. Crate and Barrel stoneware  /      5. Baked by Melissa mini cupcake gift pack / 6.  OhKuol pink rose quartz & diamond ring / 7. Diane Von Furstenberg iPad cover / 8. Jack Spade watch / 9. Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial Champagne / 10. Old Navy mens ‘Digi Hearts’ printed boxers /  11.  Bauble Bar ‘Courtney’ bib necklace / 12. ArtbyJulene XO print / 13. würkin stiffs CuPd Cufflinks /                                      14. Sperry Top-Sider Molly Slipper

Are you feelin’ the love yet?  How do YOU celebrate Valentine’s Day with your sweetie(s)?

XOXO,

Stella