Wednesday, December 13, 2017

{ GIFT GUIDE 2017 } WHAT TO GET FOR A GAL LIKE ME


Oh hooray, we've finally come to that stage of the holiday gift guide content flow when I get to wax consumerist about all the things I want this year. What's the point of making a gift guide for myself, you ask? Well I'll tell you! I am not that special. There are many women (and perhaps some men too? I don't know!) who have the same sort of taste. These people like looking good during their winter sports, enjoy bathrobes and already own too many pairs of sunglasses but cannot be satiated.

If this sounds like somebody you know and need to find a gift or two for, you have come to the right place. I've gathered some of my favorite things that are currently circulating in my online shopping carts and those slightly obvious emails I've been sending to my mom. 

This guide may also serve double-duty as holiday shopping inspiration for yourself, and I am not here to judge. Because if I told you that this J. Crew sweater and LL Bean robe weren't already in my digital shopping carts—I'd be lying! Also, nothing makes me feel more #30something than the fact that a tea kettle has made it onto my "most wanted" list.

// HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS FOR MILLENNIAL-ISH WOMEN LIKE ME //
  • Sweaty Betty base layer top and leggings, $105 each: Every season Sweaty Betty puts out one or two sets of really, really chic base layers for skiing. I missed the boat last year, and have vowed that I must have winter 2017's matching set in a very cool color combo of navy and burgundy. This is perhaps my favorite item on this gift guide, and I hope it's under the tree for little ol' me come Christmas!
  • L.L. Bean terry cloth bath robe, $79: Anyone who knows me knows that #robelife is really important to me. Hotel robes are one of my favorite parts of traveling, and I don't see why I shouldn't have that kind of luxury experience every single day in my New York apartment. This terry cloth robe from LL Bean is classic and affordable, full stop. What more could you honestly want?
  • Threshold bar cart, $120: Okay so I understand that a large bar cart is not exactly a practical gift for everyone, but this gift guide is mostly about me so lets just roll with it. If you live with or nearby the person you're shopping for, and they happen to be going through a decorating phase, this relatively affordable gold bar cart from Target makes for a really special and useful gift, I think!
  • Herbivore Botanicals Coconut set, $42: Baths are like, really trendy right now. And while I personally do not have a tub in my new apartment, many of my peers do. Treat said woman to a deluxe and tropical-scented excuse to spend an entire afternoon luxuriating at home. (Just imagine taking this coconut bath, lathering yourself in oil and then putting on the LL Bean robe!)
  • The Gourmand's Way by Justin Spring, $19: I was absolutely enraptured by My Life In France when I read it a few years ago, and this book sounds like an extension of that vibe, with stories of six chefs living and working Paris, becoming, as they say, gourmands.
  • Sargent's Women by Donna M. Lucey, $18: I've always been sucker for impressionist art, but I never really take the time to read more about the artists and eras that created some of my favorite works. I love John Singer Sargent, and think any avid reader with an interest in the creative would enjoy this book. Let's all read it!
  • Parachute Home waffle bath and hand towels, $29 - $49: Okay so I'm really just rolling with this whole homebody, bath and luxury theme—towels! What an unsexy gift, eh? Well, maybe not. Fresh new towels are luxurious, and gifting a nice new set from a prestige DTC brand like Parachute Home is actually super thoughtful and cool, so whoever you give them to will always think about you when they're naked!
  • Zero Gravity iPhone 7/8 case, $35: First of all, I wish that Zero Gravity made this case for the iPhone 6, but whatever. If you've got a friend, coworker, secret santa that has a fancy new-ish phone, this case is a so money. Yes, it's kind of a Gucci knockoff but honestly, I do not care.
  • Adam Selman x Le Specs Lolita sunglasses, $119: These sunglasses are just so Bella Hadid, no? They're what my mom would call "a lot of look," and maybe even hard to pull off in real life. However, I have dreams of wearing crisp white sunnies throughout my snowy vacation in Sun Valley—and these would really do the trick.
  • Martha Stewart heirloom copper tea kettle, $50: Unlike most of your pots and pans, your tea kettle is probably something that stays out and on display all the time right? So it stands to reason that having a good-looking kettle makes sense. My roommate has also gotten me way back into my tea habit lately, so the cost-per-use of this would be pennies by the time spring rolls around.
  • Madewell's zip-top Transport tote, $188: This is the priciest item on my guide, but hear me out. I've had the classic Transport tote in brown for about three years now—and carry it every single day. I love it. The cost per wear is way, way low. So, the zip-top version ($20 more) would be a perfect upgrade for anyone who travels or needs a new work bag, since being able to close the top completely for under-seat stowing and subway travel is key. (And from first-hand experience, I know it fits a laptop!)
  • Dove Refresh + Care volumizing dry shampoo, $5: Dry shampoo? In a gift guide? Yes! I love this stuff so much and would honestly be delighted to find a couple cans stuffed in my stocking. Just saying.
  • Sur La Table croissant ornament, $11: Not going to lie, I'd leave it on display somewhere all year long. #croissantlife
  • J. Crew fair isle cable knit sweater, $118: I realize that many ladies you might be shopping for are perhaps not destined to spend their holiday break at at ski resort, but I am, so here we are. I always love J. Crew's sweater offerings this time of year, and I need these Norwegian vibes in my liiiiiiiife. (Also everything is 40% off from J. Crew right now so go for it!)
  • UncommonGoods ice ball makers, $20: If you know me, or have seen my profile on Bumble (what up, dudes!) you'll know I love to consume and make Old Fashioneds. It seems only right that I have fancy gigantic ice balls to serve them with, right?
// SHOP MANY OF THESE FINDS & MORE BELOW //




Tuesday, December 12, 2017

HOLIDAY HOT TIP: TREAT YOURSELF TO A HEIRLOOM-WORTHY PIECE

I've mentioned before on the blog that most of the jewelry I wear everyday are heirloom pieces, passed down to me from my mom and aunts. I'm spoiled that way, since most of the pieces are real gold and precious stones. I get a lot of comments especially on my rings and necklaces—dainty and mismatched pieces that all look really cool together. 

It's been interesting to talk to my friends and colleagues about this, because often times they'll lament that their family elders didn't have these kinds of pieces, so building up a collection of timeless, high-quality jewelry is up to them. (Or a boyfriend or husband, if that's your status, ha!)

Listen, I'll be the first person to admit that throwing down major cash for a piece of jewelry is not always in my budget. However, occasions do arise. Some of my most successful gal pals have adopted the tradition of splurging on an investment piece when they hit personal goals and milestones—whether it be a promotion and work or hitting 100,000 followers on Instagram. (Yes, some of my friends are major #influencers.)

Here's where Diamonds in Glass comes into the picture. What? Diamonds? For me and you? Yes. Their pieces all put the spotlight on singular diamonds set in a glass globe, which I had never seen before. The glass really amplifies the glam-factor of the floating gem, and has to be one of the most unique ways to set a precious stone that I've ever seen.

As someone who admittedly gets a little bit of a high from wearing conversation-starting jewelry, this design really revs my engines. So when DoG reached out to me about trying one of their pendants for myself, I kind of did that hearts-for-eyes emoji thing. I noticed immediately that the blue glass version of the Kate pendant resembled that ancient icon of protection, the evil eye. (If you're not hip to the symbolism there, read up!) Since I've long-since lost the funky evil eye jewelry I collected on my study abroad trip to Greece, so a seriously upgraded version felt like a meaningful addition to my jewelry collection. (And as you know, I'm all about personal jewelry!)


Diamonds in Glass 'Kate' pendant ($449) styled with another pendant of mine }

When I'm in a more classic mood, I'll wear the pendant solo over my favorite graphic t-shirts and crewneck cashmere sweaters. But when I'm feeling spicy (and willing to put in the effort in the a.m.), I'll take the pendant itself and string it with some of my other favorite charms, like my sorority key and some tiny vintage gold tags from my mom. 

Investing in jewelry is something that, as a single woman, I've come view as incredibly empowering. Anniversaries can mean something other than marriage, and special occasions can be created whenever you deem it appropriate. While I'm sure I'll love to receive meaningful gifts from my significant other someday, in the meantime, I'm quite content—and I think you should be, too—in treating myself to special pieces that remind me of my strength, my independence, and all the good things that are yet to come.

Disclosure: Diamonds in Glass gifted me the 'Kate' pendant to wear and try for myself. While the product was a gift, all opinions and sentiments are my own. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

{ GIFT GUIDE 2017 } GOOD GIFTS FOR GREAT GUYS


While I really only have one guy to shop for this year (Hi Dad!), I know a lot of you out there have brothers, boyfriends, best friends or maybe even grandfathers you're shopping for. As uncomplicated as some men claim to be, they sure can be hard to shop for, right?

My best advice is always to start with what they like to do, rather than what they need. Kitchen toys for enthusiastic home chefs, outdoor extras for hikers and campers, games for the guy who's always having people over... You get the idea. Oh, and whiskey. Most guys (and lots of women like me, too) love to find a good bottle of dark liquor in their stocking.

Again, I'm really patting myself on the back for my picks here, so you'll find all of them vouched for in detail below! There are gadgets, art prints, games, slippers, and one very expensive piece of memorabilia.

// MY FAVORITE GIFTS FOR GUYS //
  • Sonos Play:1 speaker, $149: Okay so full disclosure, I just got this speaker as a gift myself, but I am totally converted to the cult of Sonos. The sound quality is bananas, and once you figure out how to work the app, it's so easy to play podcasts, Spotify and the Taylor Swift album your boyfriend says he doesn't like, but secretly sings in the shower all the time.
  • Sonic Editions 'The Stones Return to the UK,' $129: Hot tip from me to you, Sonic Editions has so many cool prints. If the guy on your list is a James Bond buff or could use some tasteful art for his apartment's bare walls, this is a great resource. My pic for a crowd-pleaser? This black-and-white print of The Rolling Stones. You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find... You nail the gift anyway. (Sorry.)
  • Nintendo Super NES Classic edition, $79: Is it weird that I'm kind of dying for one of these? I've never been huge on video games, but growing up you know I got down with some Super Mario Bros and Donkey Kong, and would love to fire them up on a Sunday when I'm tired of binging a show on Netflix. This is a crowd-pleaser, can't-miss gift, and for less than $80 it's a great deal, too!
  • Double-sided dart board, $60: I've put a dart board on gift guides in the past, but that's because I really think they make a fantastic boyfriend or brother gift. Years ago I had a beau who taught me how to play and we'd while away the hours on a summer Sunday drinking Radler and trying to razz each other into missing the target. Fun, affordable, slightly dangerous—what's not to love?
  • Rumpl puffy blanket, $129: I found this rainbow down blanket while surfing REI the other day, but if this wild colorway isn't your jam, check out all their blankets on Rumpl's site. This makes a great gift for camping and picnic-oriented dudes.
  • Wyoming Whiskey, $45: My dad loves this whiskey and so do I. Great for cocktails or sipping on the rocks...  And different than your usual Bulleit or Woodford Reserve bourbon.
  • Vans x Peanuts socks, $15: These Charlie Brown socks make a playful stocking stuffer, and will definitely see some play this winter with his boots and sneakers.
  • RSVP Paris porte-cartes, $140: I spied this fancy card holder on the Goop gift guide and am blatantly stealing the idea and bringing it here to you. These are limited edition and extremely good looking, and are a great way to upgrade your guy's current wallet game.
  • Anova sous vide precision cooker, $99: This was a suggestion from one of my best guy friends, who has and absolutely loves his sous vide. He says it's given him way more confidence and the kitchen and gets him and his girlfriend to cook at home more frequently. Nice!
  • Armor-Lux slippers, $85: Slippers are a great "Dad" gift, but a legitimately stylish pair like these shearling-lined striped babies from Armor-Lux (they're French!) make a sweet and use-em-everyday gift for boyfriends, too.
  • JVDF silver joint case, $45: I don't need to tell you what this is for, or to whom you should give it. If it feels right, you'll know.
  • Barebones Living cooler, $60: Another great gift for outdoorsy men, this cooler holds up to 16 cans and has a comfortable shoulder strap for lugging up mountain sides or down to sandy shores.
  • Away Travel 'Bigger Carry On' bag, $245: I finally bit the bullet and got myself one of these Away suitcases this year and I couldn't be more obsessed. You've probably seen them around being recommended by literally everyone—but in case you need more convincing, they have charging ports for your devices, a compression compartment that really works, and are virtually indestructible. (Plus with this link you can save $20 on your purchase!)
  • Bridge & Burn wool flat cap, $48: I have been a fan of Bridge & Burn for years 
  • Hudson's Bay Company leash, $32: Does one of the men on your list have a dog? Yes? Upgrade that good dog's leash situation with this lead in Hudson's Bay Company's iconic stripes.
  • Mark & Graham monogrammed pajama pants, $40: Everyone needs a pair of designated Netflix binge pants, right?
  • Williams-Sonoma Imperia pasta maker, $79: Have a Master of None fan on your list? Give him (and you) the gift of Instagram-worthy homemade pasta adventures with this old fashioned device that will turn out lasagne layers, fettuccini and linguine. 
  • Everlane twill backpack, $65: This is a good-looking and affordable backpack from a very in-demand brand. If you now a guy who commutes to work on a bike or on foot, this is one of those practical gifts that will also make him look at least 47 percent more well-dressed.
  • Signed and framed Caddyshack poster, $1099: I had to include one totally outrageous gift idea, right? If you've got cash to burn and a deserving man who loves Chevy Chase, treat him to this signed Caddyshack poster and enjoy your status as his favorite person ever, forever.
// SHOP THESE (AND MORE!) GIFT IDEAS BELOW, TOO! //


Thursday, December 7, 2017

{ PLAYLIST } THE HOLIDAY MIX & MINGLE!

I know I've been woefully bad at posting playlists for you guys this year—and I'm making a resolution to put more of them together here on the blog in 2018. I absolutely love curating them, but what can I say, this year has been a big one for work, and I've had to back-burner the blog a bit. As always, I'm aiming to do better!

Which brings me to today's playlist... A revived SUILTSOY classic, "The Holiday Mix & Mingle." I've been posting some version of this playlist since about 2012, and every season I add and remove a few tunes to keep it fresh. You'll still find my all-time favorites like "Cool Yule" and "I'm Beginning to See The Light" as well as gems from The O.C.'s holiday album and our modern crooning holiday mascot, Michael BublĂ©. 

And! Luckily for us, Spotify got a bunch of amazing artists to record new versions of holiday classics, and I've put a few of them into the mix, like Sam Smith singing "River" (swoon!) and Yoke Lore's fun electro version of "Last Christmas."

Also, a quick PSA: I urge you to indulge in some holiday music whenever you get a chance, because, well, we could use it. It's really easy to fall into a state of despair and hopelessness over the news—from the fires in LA, the president, and our environment to the events that led to these women covering TIME magazine. It has been a year. Remember when we all couldn't wait for 2016 to be over, hoping this year would be the fresh start we needed?

Now, I'm not recommending you tune out completely, because we have to stay vigilant, but let yourself feel the simplistic bliss of holiday music from 50 years ago. It will make you feel delightfully out of touch with reality, if just for an hour or so. So close your Twitter feed, pick up a novel you've been meaning to read, brew up a mug of tea or hot chocolate, get under a blanket and chiiiiiiillll.

*And on a much lighter note, this playlist makes a great soundtrack for any upcoming holiday parties and cocktail hours! It's fun! And festive! Have a yule that's cool!

// LISTEN TO THE PLAYLIST BELOW OR FOLLOW ON SPOTIFY //



Image credit: Bailey and Martin (see the full post from this lovely party at Grace's apartment here, too!)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

{ GIFT GUIDE 2017 } FUN, COOL GIFTS UNDER $50


Every year this is probably my favorite gift guide to create—mostly because this is the wheelhouse I live in. I rarely if ever spend more than $50 on a holiday present for anyone, so I pride myself on thinking of clever, useful and enjoyable presents that won't break the bank. Naturally, many of this year's selections will make great stocking stuffers (in the $8 to $15 range) and there's a few books, too, and then a few things that skirt the barely-under-fifty mark.

Since I rather painstakingly sussed out each of these by hand, I'm going to walk you through each one and give a little explainer on why it'll make a great gift! Then again if you don't have time for that, you can scroll down to the shopping widget at the bottom and click through to what you're looking for! (I won't be offended, I promise!)

HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS UNDER $50
  • The School of Life 100 Questions game, $30: I mentioned it last year, but The School of Life is one of my favorite sources for gifts for just about anyone. Last year I featured The Confessions Game, and this year I'm eyeing 100 Questions, another conversation-starting game to pull out at your next dinner party.
  • Bamboo breakfast tray, $16: Since moving into a new apartment in earlier this month, I haven't had time to fully furnish it yet. To wit, anytime I want to sit and relax—I get on my bed. For that reason I've decided I desperately need a breakfast tray on which I can prop my iPad, coffee, maybe a bag of chips... Just kidding I'd never eat chips in bed. Never...
  • Catbird 14K gold alphabet stud, $48: Catbird has been a local favorite in Brooklyn for years, but now that you can shop their delicate pieces from Net-a-Porter, the secret's out! These tiny alphabet studs make the perfect thoughtful little gift—and since they're solid gold, they'll never tarnish and can be worn everyday.
  • Diane Von Furstenberg silk scarf, $49: Recently marked down for the holidays, I love this small silk scarf from DvF that can be tied around the neck for a jaunty finishing touch or woven around the handle of a handbag for a little flair. I love the unique color combination of this one, which will look excellent with a camel or ivory sweater this winter.
  • 50 Years of New York by the Editors of New York, $41: This massive book tops my list of the best coffee table books to give this year. Like most locals, I worship at the alter of New York magazine (and their approval matrix), and would love to thumb through this collection and proudly display it on my bookshelf.
  • J. Crew leather iPhone case, $20: A winning stocking stuffer for guys or girls, this simple iPhone cover is sophisticated and cool.
  • Stone & Strand gold number stud, $48: Another solid gold stud earring I highly endorse! Stone & Strand, much like Catbird, makes affordable single studs in real metals. Give your favorite girl her lucky number. (Mine is 7, by the way...)
  • Bob's Burgers Tina pin, $13: If you don't watch Bob's Burgers, start. And if Tina isn't your favorite character, get out. I love decorating my denim and outerwear with pins, and this one would make a hilarious addition to anyone's collection.
  • Good Candle 1lb Campfire candle, $32: My roommate introduced me to this wonderfully scented candle from a local Brooklyn candlemaker that starts at just $16 and smells like a campfire. Seriously—it's so good.
  • Pottery Barn set of 2 old fashioned glasses, $24: Another winning unisex gift, these super-affordable double old fashioned glasses look like something you might dig out of your grandparent's attic (in a good way).
  • Uniqlo Heattech turtleneck t-shirt, $15: I have and love this turtleneck, and can vouch for how great it is. As the name implies it's super warm, and it makes the perfect cozy layer under crewneck sweaters or that itchy wool turtleneck that you love even though it really bothers your skin.
  • Williams Sonoma mulling spices, $13: Mulled wine is delicious, and during these cold winter months, will make you feel less guilty about uncorking a bottle of red at 2 p.m. These spices from Williams Sonoma make brewing up a batch at home super easy, just sprinkle them in and heat it up. Voila, hot wine perfection.
  • Memebox Disco Daze masking gift set, $29: Masking is amazing. Masking while wearing a cat headband and taking Insta-worthy selfies because your face is suddenly silver? Even more amazing.
  • Best Made brass dice, $22: Put the Midas touch on your next game night with these leave-them-on-the-table-all-the-time brass dice from one of my favorite gifting sources, Best Made.
  • Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, $32: Hot Toddy, Spiked Cider, Old Fashioned. All of these drinks require bourbon, and Four Roses is one of the best bang-for-your-buck whiskeys out there. Give it as a host gift or fill the whole stocking in one fell swoop. (Clever, no?)
  • Women Who Run With The Wolves By Clarissa Pinkola Estes, $6: So basically what happened was, Garance Dore posted such a lovely Instagram caption about this book that I went right over to Amazon and bought it immediately. I can't wait to read it!
  • Johanna Buchanon set of 4 tassel cocktail napkins, $42: Coasters are one of those things you never want to buy for yourself, which is why they make such a great gift. These colorful and tassel-trimmed ones from Johanna Buchanon are my favorite this season.
  • Timex Weekender watch, $42: This unfussy, sporty watch is a great gift for any guy who is just like, always wearing the same boring watch and could use a little variety. Classic and cool, you can't go wrong with the Weekender.
  • Fredericks & Mae rainbow playing cards, $13: 52 Card Pickup has never looked so good! Just kidding, that game sucks. But if you've got a friend or relative on your list who loves to play Gin Rummy or Speed on cozy afternoons at home, these make a perfect little treat they'll want to have on display all the time. (Oh and if playing cards aren't your thing—what about Tarot cards with craft cocktail recipes!?)
  • My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent, $17: For any friend who devours novels on holiday vacations, this one has gotten some of the biggest buzz of 2017. (And will be going into my carry-on this December for sure!)
  • Kate Spade wireless speaker, $42: Wireless Bluetooth-enabled speakers have to be one of the most useful gifts out there. They're amazing for travel, for the bathroom, for "getting ready" parties with your girlfriends, for entertaining outside when you're not bougie enough to have a speaker system... You name it.
  • Kikkerland copper big and little fish nail clippers, $10: I have nothing to say except what's not to like about these nail clippers shaped like fish and in a lovely copper color instead of boring ol' silver? These are a perfect stocking stuffer for a whole variety of people—from your boyfriend who needs to keep his toes in check to your bestie who's an expert at at-home manis.
  • Slip silk sleep mask, $45: In my new apartment, my bedroom is flooded with light at a very early hour of the morning. For that reason, I've really come to embrace the sleep masks I've had in my bedside drawer forever but rarely ever used. This one is the cream of the crop—developed over 10 years to aid in restful sleep and protect the soft skin around your eyes while you toss and turn.
  • Various Projects Bon Vivant KeyTag, $15: I took years and years of French in school, and still, bon vivant—a mostly used by English speakers adjective—is my favorite phrase. 

// SHOP THESE GIFT IDEAS (AND A FEW MORE) BELOW //

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

{ PERSONAL STYLE } THE HOLIDAY FAUX FUR FEELS


{ This is my favorite cropped faux fur that I bought from Forever 21 last winter that I still wear all the time. }

Okay so I am about to tell you something you probably already know, which is that faux fur coats are very in at the moment. You know that, I know that. But I wanted to point your attention to a few of my favorites that you can buy right now—because there are a lot of good ones, and now (aka holiday season) is the best time to snag one for yourself. They make the perfect topper for holiday parties, but also when you go out in the freezing winter temps in your sweatpants to get a box of Kraft and a Gatorade. (Not that I ever do that...)

I am totally enamored with this one from Mango that's on the pricier end of the spectrum, but with it's below-the-knee length and dark chocolate color I feel like it would be so warm and so deluxe in my life. Also how good is this oversized pink faux fur from Forever21?

A ton of the jackets I called out below are leopard, because that's probably the biggest micro-trend within the faux fur trend at the moment. You can find them everywhere from ASOS to H&M, and now is the time. These statement-making pieces tend to sell out quickly online, so hop to it and wrap yourself in some faux fur goodness just in time for all the festive events on your calendar.




Photos by Bekka Palmer

Friday, November 24, 2017

{ GIFT GUIDE 2017 } FOR YOUR PARENTS...



I don't know about you guys, but I find shopping for holiday gifts for my parents to be one of the most challenging aspects of the holiday season. They don't want or expect me to spend large amounts of money on them, but I always want to find a few things they will be really excited about—even if they aren't super pricey. The truth is, most of the things they know they want or need they will buy for themselves! So with gifts, it becomes more about being creative or thoughtful in a way that surprises them, or upgrading something they already have.

To that end, I know everyone's parents are different! That's also what makes creating a parent-specific gift guide a little tricky, right? So take these ideas as a sort of inspirational jumping off point. Think about how each of them likes to spend their time, or what you like to do as a family. (Or what you wish you spent more time doing!)



A FEW FAVORITES FROM THE ABOVE SUGGESTIONS:

  • Allbirds joggers ($95): So I have a pair of these shoes, and got my mom to buy her own this summer. We're both obsessed, as they are super-comfortable and ideal for both warm and cool climates. Even better? They're machine-washable. They're sized for men and women, but designed the same, making them a great gift for mom, dad or both!
  • Chanel bath soap ($26): Okay so this made my 'Under $50' gift guide last year, but I'm bringing it back this year. A luxury gift for under $30 is a rare find, and this is like, the most glamorous stocking stuffer ever. Your mom will be delighted, guaranteed.
  • Mark & Gram personalized business bag ($25): Am I the only one who thinks this is delightful? Swap out that rubber leash attachment shaped like a fire hydrant for this very elegant little leather pouch that can be embossed with your family dog's name. It's a silly but also kind of amazing gift, no?
  • Google Home Mini ($49): Part toy, part tool, the Google Home Mini is the perfect kitchen companion for parents. You can look up the weather, ask any question you'd, you know, look up on Google, and access music, schedules and more. With a little setup assistance, your parents will easily and quickly love having this little thing around.
  • Bushwick Kitchen honey ($39) and Regalis truffle salt ($28): My parents love to cook, so finding little ways to enhance their kitchen situation is always a good move. I've learned that drizzling spicy honey on prosciutto and ricotta on a piece of baguette is the most delicious thing ever, and truffle salt on homemade popcorn just couldn't be bad!
  • Uniqlo flannel shirt ($20): Whenever my parents come to New York, we alway go to Uniqlo. They love their affordable basics, and I do, too. My dad loves their shirts, especially the warm flannels that are perfect this time of year. My mom loves Heattech, especially this fleece turtleneck ($15) that's great for layering up while snowshoeing, cold walks or skiing!

MORE THOUGHTFUL GIFT IDEAS FOR PARENTS THAT ARE FREE / ALMOST FREE:

  • A DEDICATED TECH SESSION: While many of our parents are quite savvy when it comes to social media or commanding use of an iPad, there are probably a few things they could use your millennial (ish) help figuring out. Maybe mom wants an Instagram account, or dad got an Apple Watch he has no idea how to really use. In a card, tell Mom or Dad that you're giving them an hour or two of truly dedicated time over the holidays to get them up to speed so they can keep up with the family's photo stream or track their workouts on a FitBit... You get the idea.
  • OPEN A SPOTIFY FAMILY ACCOUNT + CREATE PLAYLISTS: So this gift isn't quite free, but a family plan on Spotify is only about $14 a month. A great way to present this gift would be to wrap a vintage vinyl record and then in the card tell them you're upgrading their listening experience (or a cassette tape!). Then help set up accounts for Mom and Dad and set them up to follow some specially curated playlists you've created for each of them.
  • SHOP FOR, COOK + SERVE A MEAL: My parents happen to be excellent cooks, which makes this idea a rather daunting one for me, but one that I'm sure would be appreciated all the same. While it is really nice to come home and relax and let your parents take care of you over the holidays, a great way to thank them for all they do would be to return the favor at least once!
  • VOLUNTEER HOLIDAY HOURS FOR HOUSEHOLD STUFF YOU USUALLY AVOID: My parents moved into a new house last year, and our garage still houses tons of stuff that needs to be sorted, stored, donated or sold at some point. While it's tempting to avoid these tasks at all costs in favor of catching up with friends or sleeping, your parents will surely appreciate some time with you to go through your childhood belongings, clean out a closet, etc. It's a small gesture that will go a long way, I think.