Friday, November 24, 2017

Gifts I'd Love to Give (and Receive)

Maybe in part because my family does gifts eclectically (recipient picks, giver orders item or reimburses recipient who has already ordered it), I'm not very good at selecting gifts for others. I am capable of hitting it out of the park on occasion, though usually only because the recipient once mentioned offhand, "oh I'd love it if I had x," in which case I took note and bought the item for the next gift-requiring occasion. Otherwise, I get kind of lost. I've bought a lot of things such as, say, that year's version of a Peter Thomas Roth mask set for a skin care lover, something I even thought was cool enough to buy for myself later, only to see it go utterly unused by the recipient. Alas!

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So maybe I'm not the best at gift suggestions, but over time, there's been a few items that I've greatly enjoyed receiving, or that I'm certain would make an awesome gift, at least from my perspective. Maybe some of these ideas will also be good for someone in your life!

The linked ones are by Index Urban (similar pictured), which appears to be an independent, family-owned luggage shop in San Diego that sells customizable leather luggage tags both on-site and via Etsy. They have tons of colors and options. A friend got one for me as a graduation gift, and mine has held up great through being attached to my checked bag on several international trips, some with multiple stops.

Porcelain and Stone is a woman-owned small business based in Massachusetts, where I went to college. I purchased one of her small necklaces last year, and requested a pair of her "Navigation" dangle earrings for Christmas, so I'm already amassing a small collection. These earrings are actually on my personal wishlist for this holiday season. You can follow the artist on Instagram and she has some additional selections at her own shop. She makes both larger, statement pieces as well as a few smaller designs. 

Cuyana Classic Passport Case, $95

This is one of those things I haven't tried out yet, but that I think I'd be thrilled to receive. I don't particularly need a passport case for personal travel, but because I generally opt for a throw everything in and go tote without much internal organization, I sometimes need to dig around for small but important items like a passport or boarding pass, which I'd rather not need to do when traveling for work. I prefer a larger passport case with room for both the passport and boarding pass to one that just accommodates the passport. (I actually ordered the larger Cuyana Travel Wallet to try a while back, but found it much too big for my needs and returned it. I don't need my passport holder to also serve as a wallet, I just need it for my passport, boarding pass, and maybe some receipts.) 

H&M Premium Wool Scarf, $50 

This was one of my birthday gifts a while back, which I picked mainly because it looked vaguely like that Acne scarves, though I don't know if they're similar dimensions anymore. Confession: I don't actually wear this as a scarf because my down coat zips up fully to the neck and doesn't leave room for a heavier scarf, but I've really loved having this as a wrap at my office desk. It's warm and brightens my day, and it feels luxe to me to have one in wool. While my scarf may be a little wider, I think 21.5 inches is still wide enough for it to serve as a smaller lap blanket when folded up. 

Plaid Blanket Scarves, ~$13

Total blast from the past, my first ever post was about this type of unbranded acrylic plaid blanket scarf. They're now very commonly found on Amazon, in all kinds of plaid and check designs, and well, I think that's generally the most frugal place to obtain one year-round. At the time, I was looking for designs that were first found at Zara, but had long since sold out. (I believe they were first popularized by Atlantic Pacific.) These are admittedly kind of overdone. In the winters of 2014 and 2015,  it felt like I saw as many as two or three women wearing them practically every single time I stepped out the door in NYC. Nonetheless, I still wear mine when I need a warm scarf and am in one of my wool blend coats that doesn't fasten fully up to the neck.

Happy belated Thanksgiving! This has been a sometimes tough year, but I have so much to be thankful for: my loving and supportive family, who make the difficult things as easy as they can ever be; my life with K; my wonderful friends who commiserate with me when things are hard; and my wonderful colleagues and bosses/mentors, who have made my current and previous jobs totally awesome. 

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