Category Archives: Gift Guide

Gift Guide

5 Hostess and Housewarming gift ideas

November 29, 2014

Hope ya’ll had a great Thanksgiving and are overcoming any bouts of food comas. And now, the shopping :). Don’t you love the irony of spending a night of being thankful to just go shopping for more the next day? On a positive note, giving gifts is always a good thing, yes? I love, love brainstorming gifts and lately I’ve been thinking about what gifts I would like to receive would make good gifts for your hosts. Here are some of my faves:

1. Kusmi Wellness Teas Gift Set, $56

Kusmi gift set

First of all, HOW PRETTY?! I love that this tea set assorted like a colorful pinwheel. This single handedly got me to drink tea three times a day.  It contains a delicious selection of 42 herbal teas each delicately wrapped in muslin. Whenever we have guests over, I love taking this box out and letting them look through blends of maté, green tea and lemongrass; or ones with grapefruit, or even unlikely ones like chocolate and orange. Worth every cent.

2. Savannah Bee Once Upon A Hive The Book of Honey, $59.95

Savannah Bee Story Book honey sampler


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There’s nothing I don’t adore about this set — an assortment of nine 3 oz. jars of Savannah Bee Honey (one of my favorite purveyors of gourmet honey) in a fairy tale gift box. I’ve had mine for a while and still can’t get myself to open any of the jars because they look so perfect nestled in this faux book case. If you do have the heart to rummage through its perfect presentation, you can still use the case. Add it to your book shelf for a discreet storage case.

3. David’s Tea The Steeper, $29.50

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A genius and fun way to drink tea. This contains a filter in a tea pot to easily steep loose-leaf tea and once your tea is ready, just place the bottom of this over your tea cup and push down and the tea will flow through a hidden valve right into your cup, without any of the ingredient particles.

4. World Olive Oil Sampler gift set, $17

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Trust me anyone who loves to cook will love a set of oils like this one (I just found this one at the Olive Orchard which has a nice selection and affordable). But even getting one larger bottle tied with a pretty ribbon make a nice and useful gift. Amazon and Williams-Sonoma are also great place to look.

5. Agraria Woven Crystal Cane Candles, $35-$55

Agraria Candles

You’ll always find scented candles around my apartment, not just for ambiance but I’m a little OCD about picking out scents. Agraria from San Francisco makes the most beautiful vegetable-based blends of candles, and one of my favorites is their newest one, Golden Cassis. Another reason I love these so much is the case itself is a work of art. It’s a woven crystal design and silver lid. There’s so much thought put into the presentation, as with their equally gorgeous air diffusers:

Air Essence Diffuser in Mediterranean Jasmine

Thought the diffuser is priced at a work of art too ($120). If $35 for a candle is also a little over budget, AirWick also makes scented candles for under $5 in frosted containers. If you buy a couple and package them in a basket, they make beautiful gifts. AirWick, by the way, always have special limited edition ones during the holidays that can transform a room. Make sure you get on it though, or else you’ll end up with a broken heart like I did when they ran out of their Rocky Mountain limited edition one in a green frosted case — everyone who came over always commented on it (I’m still petitioning them to bring it back!!).

What gifts do you like giving a host, or getting as one?

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Shy
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Last minute gift ideas from Target! Plus win a $25 gift card :)

December 19, 2013

If you’re REALLY the last-minute type, be a little earth-friendly this year and work those digital gift cards. I recently used mine to help buy a couch for our living room from Target. I was able to just put my gift card towards my half of it (can’t wait for it to get here…happy holidays to 9D!). Here are some more 11th hour #MyKindofHoliday gift ideas you can still grab — tell me about your favorite gift ideas from Target below and you can win a $25 gift card! PS, you can also use Target’s Cartwheel mobile app to save, share, and reload your gift cards.

1) Philips Sonicare Battery Operated toothbrush, $29.99. Once you try a battery operated toothbrush like this one, you’ll wonder why you never made the switch before. Factual story — since I’ve switched I haven’t had a cavity to booth in any dentist visit thereafter. I’m a lifer.

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2) George Foreman Grill, $19.99. Why I never had this before is beyond me, but on my last visit to Target, I picked this up and it’s changed my meals for the better. Now I have healthier ways to prepare my chicken and meats without skimping on flavor.

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3) Sonia Kashuk Lavish Luxe 10 pc Brush Set, $27. This affordable (and beautiful) brush set from the master brush expert herself is a must have. It’ll stand apart from the rest easily (and at such a great price point!).

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4) Zadro Fogless mirror, $12.99. File this under things everyone needs but would never think to buy themselves.

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4) Merona canvas messenger bag, $20. He will use it. He will love it. He may also never know it was only $20 bucks.

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What are your favorite gifts from Target? Just comment below or tweet your answer to me with hashtag #MyKindOfHoliday or #MKOH for a chance to win a $25 gift card to Target!

x
Shy
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15 holiday gift ideas from BATF

There’s still time to state your claim as the best Gift Giver Ever. Here are 15 ideas of gifts to give the beauty junkie, foodie, guy, and fashionistas on your list!

1. Frends with Benefits by Rebecca Minkoff, $250. You’re not the only one who’s been noticing the easily identifiable Frends headphones on every It girl recently. Tastemakers like Jessica Alba, DJ Hannah Bronfman, supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio, and the ever fashionable blogger Chriselle Lim have all been spotted with their Frends nearby. The sleek headphones stand out not only in their style-forward aesthetics but the music quality too. These hologram Frends with Benefits by Rebecca Minkoff is perhaps their holy grail — with its gorgeous turquoise sparkle, it’s like jewelry for your ears. Not to mention, the covers are interchangeable and come with an extra pair of gold ones too. Just try not to cop it for yourself.

Frends by Rebecca Minkoff Taylor Headphones


2. Cynthia Rowley for Birchbox, $15-$24. In one word, the colors of this Cynthia Rowley palette for Birchbox is “elegant.” The plum-inpsired colors easily go from day to night. What’s more, they will not budge or gather. Perfect for the jetsetter who needs a universally-flattering set to take with her that’s not just the usual, boring nudes. And the gorgeous black and gold makeup bag? These are practically two gifts in one.

Cynthia Rowley


3. EOS Smooth Sphere Lip Balm, $13. Hello stocking stuffers. I see these little egg-shaped balms everywhere – my coworkers, friends, family, everyone has their own because it’s not only moisturizing but adorable. Really, you’re just replenishing their supply.

EOS lip balms


4. Sorry I’m Late tee, $22. For that friend. You know who I’m talking about.

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5. Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pen kit, $25. I am a hardcore advocate of these gorgeous eye pencils from Pixi. They go on beautifully and LAST without smearing all day.

Pixi


6. Sarah Potempa The Jetsetter Cordless Travel flat iron, $99. Not only because I find Sarah Potempa to be one of the most wonderful, bubbly people you’ll ever meet, but she’s a genius. First it was her automatic rotating Beachwaver curling iron, and now a flat iron you can take on-the-go. You can even charge it in your car!

Sarah Potempa


7. Bonobos Dopp Kits, $95-$125. Check out Bonobos.com for some dapperly gifts for men (like travel dopp kits with leather interior). He won’t have anything like it.

Austin Jeffers for Bonobos


Austin Jeffers


Jack Spade

8. Paul Mitchell holiday sets. $15-$30. Love these little round up of hair care products from Paul Mitchell in cases with cute quotes (“You look skinny today,” for girls who need more volume…hair volume). Available at salons and Paul Mitchell schools.

Paul Mitchell Holiday sets


9. Em Michelle Phan Holiday Life: New Year’s Countdown Edition Palette, $29 . YouTube makeup guru Michelle Phan knows how to capture a moment, and with this palette, she combines gilded shadows with smokey counterpounts so you can go glam or sultry in time for the countdown.

em michelle phan


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10. Pro -X by Olay Red Advanced Cleansing System, $29.99. This is a must in everyone’s arsenal of facial cleansing tools. Olay’s Pro-X comes with a lightweight handheld device with a two-speed rotating brush, and their exfoliating renewal cleanser that has a microbead formula to slough away dead skin cells for a brighter complexion. Available at drugstores so it’s as easy as picking it up on your way home. Also, the red color is limited-edition just for the holidays!

Olay Pro-X


11. My Cup of Cake, $24. Chocolate lovers will thank you. This takes all the guesswork out of baking and makes indulging in, at least what I think, one of the best desserts so much easier. Just add water, stir, and throw in the microwave for silky Belgian chocolate soufflé molten lava cake in just 3 minutes. I’m salivating just typing it.

My Cup of Cake


12. Boots No 7 Men Energising Duo Gift, $10. Love the fresh scent of this and everything you need for shower time. A gel for hair, body, and face, and an extra face cleansing wash. Gives a deep clean to use at least once a week from the Brit pharmacy brand.

No7 Men


13. C. Wonder Monogrammed gifts. Head over to C. Wonder and monogram the heck out of any gift. Makes it that much more thoughtful, and the choices are endless — jewelry, clothes, accessories, and cute kitchen accessories.

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14. BareMinerals Blush with Splendor kit, $25. Make sure you stop by the BareMinerals store because around this time of year, they have the cutest gift sets, like this 4-piece mini travel brush kit. Every girl needs a decent brush set.

BareMinerals


15. Harry Josh Pro Tools Pro Dryer 2000, $300. This is probably the most coveted hair dryer of the year. The beauty junkie will have you to thank for her smoother, salon-style tresses.

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Also, check out my Luvocracy page for more gift ideas — it’s a good place for inspiration and an easy way to buy gifts right away. I’ve been updating that regularly with some cool ideas for guys and gals! What’s on your wish list??

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Shy
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Gift idea: Nescafe Dolce Gusto Circolo machine

October 24, 2013

If you’re thinking about no-fail gifts, clearly I’m all about the kitchen appliances :). As you may already know, I’ve alwaysss been a Nescafe Dolce Gusto fan. Their machines are sleek, and they make THE BOMB coffee drinks (Latte Macchiatos allll day). Not to mention, they add a little character to your countertops. When I was going home to visit my parents recently, I thought I’d surprise my mom with Dolce Gusto’s Circolo, lovingly touted as the brand’s “Showstopper.”

Nescafe Dolce Gusto Circolo

Not only does Dolce Gusto use 100% Arabica coffee (no skimping on quality there), the Circolo specifically has been voted the best single-serve coffee maker by Consumer Reports for three years in a row. One of the coolest things about this machine (besides the built-in LED), is that you can control how strong you want your coffee by a little rolling lever on its screen:

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Not to mention, you can make hot or cold drink just by hitting the appropriate button. It makes coffee as simple as possible. The only thing I didn’t realize on first use was that there are WHITE k-cups that is actually the milk capsules, and BROWN k-cups which is the actual coffee. Amateur mistake, but once we figured it out, it was smooth sailing. The machine’s 15-bar professional pressure heats up the coffee in seconds.

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Coffee-making in progress

Coming from a family of critics, I was pretty excited when every single person enjoyed their cup of espresso :). I should also point out, their Delonghi cappuccino cups (which I used above) are amazing — they insulate the heat so the inside stays warm, while the outside of the glass is cool to touch.

Delonghi Cappuccino cups



Nescafe Dolce Gusto Circolo machines are available at dolce-gusto.us for $150.


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12 things that got me through the month

October 2, 2013

Another month, another set of tools in the survival kit. This time I mixed it up with not only my favorite beauty products that came out on top, but even some things in the kitchen, closet, and more:

(1) Michael Todd True Organics Jojoba Charcoal Scrub, $18 & (2) Damascus Rose Cream, $29

Michael Todd products


This 100% organic line is truly impressive. My friend Sara had heard about Michael Todd, a brand that celebs have been buzzing about, and since other readers have been asking me more about what organic products to try, I tested this one out. Guys, it’s amazing. The jojoba charcoal scrub is gentle but effective in sucking the toxins out and removing dead skin cells to leave skin glowing and smoother. And the Damscus Rose Cream is a light but effective moisturizer leaves skin butter soft. It has potent anti-aging and moisturizing ingredients like tri-peptides, avocado, carrot seed, and co-enzyme Q-10 to fight against environmental stressors. I use it nightly, and feel better about myself since I’m staying away from chemicals, parabens, and sulfates in this purely organic line (and the price points?! I swear products of equal or lesser quality costs at least three times as much!).

(3) Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pen, $15

Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pen set, $25


In my opinion, you can throw pretty much any other eye pencil you’ve been using. If you haven’t heard of Pixi, it’s a brand from the UK that makes the most incredible makeup (and it’s sold at Target!). This is by far one of the BEST eye liner pencils I have ever tried. It goes on super smooth, is highly pigmented, waterproof, and will stay put all day. I have so many issues with smearing liners, but this one is pretty awesome. I’ve have yet to other drugstore eye pencils that match up as well. I highly recommend you try it, or even better, save some cash and go straight for their Eye Pen Kit, where you can try 5 colors (plus a sharpener! pictured above) for $25. It’s the best gift you can give (even to yourself ☺).

(4) Bialetti’s I Caffé d’Italia single serve espresso machine, $199

Bialetti's I Caffé d’Italia espresso machine


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Bialetti’s I Caffé d’Italia single serve espresso machine is the best thing to happen to my mornings. The matte black machine is not only the most gorgeous thing on my countertop, it has a 20 bar high pressure system to provide the perfect espresso with the most authentic Italian taste. It seriously reminds me of vacation in Rome, when my friends and I wouldn’t go anywhere without our daily cup of cappuccino. I get so excited now when guests come so they can taste it themselves.

All the different flavors


The machine uses their own special coffee blends that preserves the flavor in an aluminum capsule (you can choose from a mild to full bodied strengths). Their page shows all the specifications of each flavor, but seriously try all of them – there’s always an occasion for each. Not to mention, it makes the best gift ever and doesn’t take too much space for smaller kitchens (NYC approved).

(5) Victoria by Victoria’s Secret Perfume, $68

Victoria by VS eau de parfum


By now you know my obsession with Victoria’s Secret scents, and their latest did not disappoint. Victoria has berries, rose, and crème brulee that is fruity but elegant. Have to keep a little bottle with me wherever I go now.

(6) St. Ives Triple Butters Creamy Vanilla, $3

St. Ives Triple Butters Creamy Vanilla body wash


Love body washes that not only feel decadent and moisturizing in the shower, but also leaves your skin feeling super soft and hydrated even after. It’s 100% natural, has a beautiful vanilla scent, and costs less about $3. Not just triple butters, but triple win too.

(7) Colgate Wisp Mini-brush, $8 for 16

Colgate Wisp mini brushes


There is rarely an on-the-go mouth cleaning tool that I think makes my mouth feel as clean wherever I am. Not sure what took me so long to discover Colgate’s Wisp Mini-Brushes, but glad I did. They allow you to brush, pick, and freshen breath at once. Perfect for flights or to keep in your purse in case.

(8) Havaianas Espradrilles, $38

Havaiana Espradrilles


I’ve grown a bit attached to my Havaianas Original Ballerina Espadrilles. Because I’m basically wearing flip flops at work, but they look like they could fall in the category of Tom’s, and let me pretend I’m at the beach all at once.

(9) Sultra Beauty The Bombshell 1.5” Curling Rod, $130

Sultra Beauty The Bombshell 1.5 inch barrel


This, admittedly, took me a little getting used to. I first found it hard to use because I wasn’t used to such a big curling rod, but once I did figure it out, I decidedly can’t live without it. This is the biggest size barrel you can get with a clipless iron (most are only 1″), and it makes the most natural looking, super loose beachy waves. They look even better the next day IMO. It features rapid heat-up, and auto shut off which makes my mornings even easier. One thing is like some other clipless irons, it heats up to an even 380 degrees. It has only an on/off switch, but no temperature control (it goes straight to the highest), so make sure you use it with the glove it comes with and a heat protectant spray for your hair.

(10) Agadir Argan Oil Hair Shield 450 Plus Spray Treatment, $40

Agadir Argan Oil Hair Shield


Oh hey, we’re talking about heat protectants? The one I’ve been using/loving is Agadir’s Argan Oil Hair Shield. It protects up to 450 degrees and leaves hair shiny, healthy, and smelling like heaven. Not a bad combo.

(11) Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis DVDs, $90

Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis dvd set


I worked out with Tracy Anderson once for an event, and it was hardcore. She had us sweating in 20 minutes, and the DVDs pretty much do the same. I’m kind of bored of the same gym routine and I started using these at home. Fair warning: they’re not easy, and they also require an hour of working out 6x a week. I’m trying to make it fit into my schedule more (I’ve also realized if I work out RIGHT when I get home, there are better chances of me following through). But man, will you feel it. The only downside is probably keeping the motivation up, which for me is usually lost with at-home workout DVD’s. The only thing keeping me going is the results — you feel a difference in just a few days. Also, she changes up the workouts every 10 days for 3 months so you don’t plateau. Doesn’t require much equipment either: she makes you rely mostly on your own body weight, or 3 lb weights at most, but an exercise mat is also essential.

(12) Rachel by Rachel Roy Earrings, $19-$26

Heart and arrow


Safety pin earrings, $26


I’ve always been a fan of Rachel Rachel Roy jewelry — affordable, trendy and cute. These studs with complementary but different pairing are so unique and go with almost everything. It’s actually on sale right now and sold as a set for $19. But her safety pin earrings are my next purchase. It’s hard to decide!

What got you through last month?


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Shy
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7 Last minute Mother’s Day gift ideas!

May 10, 2013

Mother’s Day is May 12th. Yes, that’s in two days. Because we’re all procrastinators (just hold my hand, it’s OK), here are some suggestions of gifts you can get your lovely mama:

Sonia Kashuk Native Beauty Brush Set, $17

Sonia Kashuk Native Beauty Brush Set


I always say makeup brushes are the best gifts. It’s one of those things we don’t think to invest in, but trust me, everyone needs a good set. Your brushes make all the difference in how your makeup looks. I love these bright brushes from Sonia Kashuk that come in a chic raffia tribal case. Plus it’s a travel set, that easily fits in a bag or clutch. Perfect for moms who are constantly on-the-go. The set includes a Synthetic Domed Powder Brush, Eye Shadow Brush, Angled Fluffy Eye Shadow Brush and Synthetic Pointed Eyeliner/Lip Brush with full size brush heads.

Lancôme Trésor In Love Hearts Set, $61

Lancôme Trésor In Love Hearts Set


A gorgeous scent, Tresor in Love, packaged with a mascara that will give your mama Kim Kardashian-lashes — no really, her makeup artist used Lancome Doll Lashes Mascara on Kardashian for her wedding day.


Vitamix 5200 blender
, $450

Vitamix 5200


I know. It’s $450, but it’s the Rolls-Royce of blenders. This blends everything and anything, and has a 7-year warranty. When my mom discovered this, she would call me every single day to tell me to get the same thing just based on how many healthy drinks she can make from this one alone. This 5200 is the standard, but they have a bunch more options on their website. If you guys read my post earlier today, this green smoothie is ONE of them. Bonus: You will easily secure your spot as ‘favorite child’ after this one.

DDF Revolve 400X, $99 for the kit

DDF Revolve 400X


She probably doesn’t have time to get facials, much less setting up a microderm appointment. Here’s a much less intimidating option: DDF’s Revolve 400X Micro-Polishing System. It’s dubbed to be just as good as professional treatments and at a fraction of the cost. It’s a spa day at home, ya’ll!

Sonia Kashuk Beauty organizers in Floral and Yarn, $25 each

Makeup organizers from Target


Another great find at Target: these organizers are beautiful on it’s own or filled with Mom’s favorite beauty goodies!

Laura Mercier La Petite Patisserie Eau Gourmande Fragrance Coffret, $45

La Petite Patisserie Eau Gourmande Fragrance Coffret


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These gorgeous scents from Laura Mercier are limited edition and includes includes three travel-friendly scents in Vanille, Fresh Fig and Almond Coconut Milk. Scents to compliment any type, and can even be layered for a lovely unique scent that your mother can claim for her own. Gift wrap optional — did you check out the pretty box it comes in??

French’s Flavor Infusers, $1 each

French's Flavor Infusers


One of the many great things Robert Verdi has taught me is that it’s really the sentiment that matters most in the gift, and it’s also very easy to package affordable, useful items in a pretty way. I’d take items, like these $1 Flavor Infusers from French’s, and package them in a pretty basket along with other items (tissues, scented hand soap, homemade cookies, etc). These are 10-minute flavor marinades that doesn’t require refrigeration, and because it has a pointy tip, you can infuse it right into your meat and let it sit for only 10 minutes before it’s ready to be cooked. Saving mom time? Isn’t that the greatest gift of all?

What gift are you getting your mom this year?

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Shy
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