Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘gift ideas’

I am 99% sure that my Christmas shopping is complete. But there’s always that last-minute panic that I didn’t do enough, and so I am thumbing through all my last-minute ideas to see if there’s one final something I really need to get for someone on my list.

One of my go-tos for last-minute gifts is subscriptions. They tend to make for great last-minute gifts because you can order them at the — wait for it — last minute, print out a cute little confirmation email and stick it in a card, and voila! An instant gift. Or you can send them via email from your bed on Christmas morning.

Plus, I’ve tried a good number of gift subscriptions. It may be that I am not a creative gift giver, or that I have people who are VERY hard to buy for. It may be that most of my family lives far away, and so shipping is always a factor. It may be that I love the idea of receiving (and, therefore, giving) regular gifts that arrive in the mail. Whatever it is, I have tried a LOT of gift subscriptions. So I feel like I have a good handle on what’s a good value or a fun treat or not worth the price.

Here are some of my favorites – tried-and-true as well as new.

For (Mainly) Grown Ups:

Peanut Butter: My husband loves peanut butter more than pretty much anything. So I got him a peanut butter subscription from Amazing Clubs a few years ago… and we kept renewing it every six months because he loved it so much. Eventually we quit, but I would definitely renew the subscription again in a few years.

Books: My brother got me and my husband a joint Book of the Month Club membership that we loved so much we extended it for a few years. The selections each month are great and if none of the books speaks to you, you can defer your choice to the next month.

Coffee: My husband liked his Craft Coffee subscription so much, we extended it for several years.

Puzzles: I recommended this puzzle-of-the-month club in my gift guide last year. And I ended up getting my husband a subscription and he loved it so much I renewed his subscription for Father’s Day. You get access to SO many puzzles, and you can either accept the puzzle that the company suggests for you or choose your own.

Clothing: I have tried both Trunk Club and Stitch Fix, and I LOVE Stitch Fix. The boxes are smaller than Trunk Club (which means fewer items), but I like the variety. And I think the algorithm they use to determine what clothes you will like is better. Getting a subscription to Stitch Fix (personal link) would be amazing.

Socks: I got my husband a Sock Fancy subscription for his birthday. He is loving it so far – so many outside-the-box socks for him to try!

Cookies: We tried a couple of cookie subscriptions, but they were disappointing. However, that was a few years ago when these subscription services were brand new and hadn’t worked out all the kinks. So I am eyeing this cookie subscription from Cravory as an idea for some of the people on my list with a sweet tooth.

Bacon: My dad is a big fan of high quality bacon, so one year we got him a bacon subscription from Zingerman’s. It’s pricey, that’s for sure, but it’s GOOD bacon.

German Food: My husband LOVES German food, and I think he would get a kick out of this German Food Box, which offers 6-8 authentic German products in each box. It’s very expensive though – so I’m still just thinking about it.

Spirits: I got my father a Scotch tasting kit from Flaviar last year, which he enjoyed. And I think a gift subscription would be a really nice gift for someone you really love who particularly loves spirits. The year-long gift membership is very pricey ($300 as of this writing), but your giftee gets one tasting kit each quarter, four full-size bottles of premium liquor, and some other intangibles that might appeal to your giftee or might not.

For Kids:

DIY Science: If you have a kid on your wish list who loves science and/or putting things together/discovering how things work, I highly recommend the Kiwi Co subscription box. (I know, I know – this was on last year’s gift guide as well. But it’s really good!) Carla’s grandmother got her a subscription back when she was a wee “koala,” and we were able to switch to a “kiwi” when she needed something more challenging and she loves it. She’s now at the age where she can complete the activities herself, which is really cool. Less cool is that then we have Beloved Projects all around our house for eons until I angst myself into finally, stealthily throwing them away. There are crates for kids from age infant (how????) to age 11 – and even crates that appeal to people of all ages.

Books: While I have not tried it yet, this BookRoo chapter book subscription sounds great for Carla.

Magazines: Carla loved her High Five subscription until she outgrew it sometime during kindergarten. So I am thinking of subscribing her to Highlights – a magazine I remember with great fondness.

National Geographic Kids magazine would also be a good option – especially because she’s so interested in science and animals lately.

Stickers: Swistle did a post on Mrs. Grossman’s Sticker Club awhile back, and I immediately bookmarked it as an option for Carla. I can think of many kids – and grown ups! – who would love a monthly delivery of stickers!

For Families:

Gift Memberships: Some of the very best gifts we’ve ever received have been gift memberships to local museums and zoos and botanical gardens.

Sandwich Kit: I know this is a pretty specialized gift for a specific type of person, but we got this Reuben sandwich kit for my parents when they stayed with Carla earlier this year, and they loved it. It’s a HUGE amount of food, but it’s such a treat for a Reuben sandwich lover.

Bagels & Lox: Or you could buy someone a special spread of bagels and smoked salmon. Or go REALLY fancy and get this one from Zabar’s. I haven’t tried either of these, but I think it would be so fun to send someone brunch.

Escape the Crate: I haven’t tried this, but it sounds like such a good time. Every other month, you get an escape-room style game delivered to your home to play with your family and friends.

Cooking Class: My husband and I have taken a couple of cooking classes at Sur La Table, and they are really fun. I think there are even classes that younger kids can join, too.

Digital Gifts:

The following don’t come in the mail, which makes them perhaps even more appropriate as last-minute ideas:

Storyworth: I have been reading about Storyworth for years – and this might be the year I give it to my parents and in-laws. I would love to have them start recording their memories for future posterity.

MasterClass: And, for literally everyone on my list, including me, I have been thinking about a subscription to MasterClass. There are so many options here! Lessons taught by actual experts in their fields! Because it’s pricey, I am going to hold off on this for 2019… but it’s something I am really glad to know about for future gift-giving opportunities.

Audible: My husband asks for an Audible gift membership literally every year. Will this be the year someone gets him one?

Amazon Prime: Although we are definitely cutting back on our use of Amazon – for so many reasons – Prime could be an excellent gift for a lot of people on your list. It’s not just free shipping, you also get access to tons of movies and TV shows.

Disney+:This isn’t cheap, but I am really wondering if we should give my niece a year’s membership to Disney+.

A Fantastic Book: Yes, you could totally give your friend or family member the gift of endless reading options with Kindle Unlimited. But I also want to plug my friend Kristina’s excellent first novel again. It’s called Weight of Memory, and it’s a spine-tingling but surprisingly heart-wrenching book about one woman’s quest to preserve the memory of her dead brother. She is publishing the book via InkShares, which is kind of like a Kickstarter for writers. You can read sample chapters before you buy, but a digital copy is just $10 and it will not disappoint.

Gift Cards: This is the easiest digital gift there is, which makes it seem a little boring. But I don’t really know ANYONE who doesn’t like getting a gift card to one of their favorite retailers. Etsy. Amazon. Barnes & Noble. Target. iTunes. Starbucks. Your gift recipient’s favorite restaurant or donut shop. Your local independent bookstore. Your local skating rink. There are so many options that might offer digital gift cards!

Read Full Post »

Stocking Stuffers 2019 1

Every year in the last few days leading up to Christmas, I go into some sort of stocking-related panic state. I start worrying, “Did we get Carla enough gifts? Is Christmas going to be special enough for her?” It is ridiculous, because – like anyone – Carla is happiest with a few thoughtfully chosen gifts that she really wants. She does not NEED a bunch of junk stacked under the tree and stuffed into her stocking just for the sake of volume.

My husband and I try to stick to the “something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read” guidelines… with maybe a couple of extra goodies tucked in as well. Plus, one set of grandparents typically goes over the top with gifts (I sense a kindred panic-buying spirit). (The other grandparents usually get her one or two gifts to unwrap and then add money to her college fund which, I think, is the BEST gift ever.) So Carla is never lacking in gifts, and often seems more overwhelmed by All! The! Stuff! than anything else.

So this year I am trying to avoid Christmas Stocking Syndrome by plotting out the contents of my family members’ stockings in advance.

By the way, my own stocking philosophy is that stocking gifts need to be not only small, but relatively inexpensive. So these items are all (okay, mostly) right around $10 to $15.

Stocking Kids 2019 1

Photos from amazon.com, etsy.com, and hallmark.com

  1. Let’s start out with one of the sleeper hits of past stockings: a sticky starfish. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s a sticky starfish that you fling at a wall or a window and then you watch as it climbs its way down to the floor. Carla got this in her stocking a few years ago and it was the Most Played With Item of the day. (Note: It WILL get gross after a while, but you can wash it, let it air dry, and reuse it forever.)

2. This has been The Year of the Leopard around our house, so this leopard spots temporary tattoo from DuckyStreet is definitely going in Carla’s stocking this year.

3. I don’t understand exactly what a Little Live Wrapple is – a slap bracelet? a stuffed animal toy? – but Carla is really enthusiastic about them whenever she sees them, so maybe it will end up in her stocking. This would be good for my niece, too.

4. Miniature things make my heart happy, so when I saw this miniature Lite Brite awhile ago, I thought Carla would love it.

5. Speaking of retro games, Carla acquired a Magic 8 Ball somehow and loves it. This could be great in a stocking.

6. I don’t 100% understand the appeal, but LOL Surprise dolls are an enduring hit around here. You can find them almost anywhere toys are sold – Barnes and Noble, Target, Best Buy – and there are several versions that come in under $10.

Stocking Kids 2019 2

Photos from amazon.com and anthropologie.com

7. Sadly, I think Carla may have aged out of these Melissa and Doug puffy sticker sets, but they were a lifesaver for many years. She could play with them for a long time by herself while I was working or cooking. We could pull one out at a restaurant or on the airplane. These are perfect for quiet, imaginative play.

8. My niece wants a mask making kit for Christmas, and I am considering this Melissa and Doug option for her stocking. She’s a year and a half younger than Carla, so I think she would love it.

9. Man, Melissa and Doug really know how to make great quiet activities that kids can do independently! Again, I think the Melissa and Doug mess-free glitter activity kit might be more appropriate for a younger kid – I think Carla was most into this kind of thing when she was around four – but we went through MANY of these kits. She LOVED them.

10. I may have recommended Wikki stix in last year’s gift guide, but I am doing so again because they are SUCH a great stocking stuffer. Another quiet, imaginative toy that has kept Carla engaged for literally hours in the car.

11. I’m not quite sure if this is a better gift for a child or a parent – let’s go with both – but this activity roll would be PERFECT to stow in a purse and bring into a restaurant.

Rainbowcorn mini

Photo from target.com

12. I mentioned this already in the Gift Guide, but I think a mini Rainbowcorn would make a good stocking stuffer for kids of many ages.

Stocking Kids 2019 3

Photos from amazon.com and kidmademodern.com

13. This year, I’m strongly considering this Cat Sew and Stuff kit for Carla’s stocking. It looks like something she’d really enjoy (making her own stuffy!), and the first grade set seems really interested in sewing/crocheting/etc.

14. Another thing Carla is into? Painting her nails. These Nail art pens sound like a fun alternative to nail polish.

15. Carla also loves anything artistic, but being a Mean Mom, I never let her paint. (Too messy.) So I think these Chunkies paint sticks would be really fun for her (and less mess for me). They are double the price I’d normally want to pay for a stocking stuffer, though… but maybe worth it.

16. This cosmic necklace kit would be perfect for a kid who likes a) crafts and b) jewelry.

Stocking Kids 2019 4

Photos from amazon.com

17. On any field trip I’ve ever supervised – since preschool – one of the games that the kids seem to enjoy most is “Would You Rather?” You know, with thought-provoking questions like “Would you rather be a princess or a mermaid?” and “Would you rather have a unicorn or a dinosaur as a pet?” Obviously, this game is limited only by your imagination, but it might be fun to have some printed prompts for family conversation.

18. UNO is also a big hit around here.

19. We just got Go Fish! in a gift bag this weekend, and played it with some friends who have a five-year-old and a three-year-old. I was so happy to find that even the three-year-old could understand it and play. Definitely a good option for even young kiddos.

20. This Iota card game looks like it might be fun for the whole family. And look how teeny!

Rubiks Cube

Photo from amazon.com

20. Carla has been obsessed with a friend’s Rubik’s Cube, so I think she might get one of her own as well.

Stocking Kids 2019 5

Photos from target.com and amazon.com

21. Sometimes stockings are a good place to stow practical items, too. Carla loves bath bombs of all kinds, and these come in a stocking-friendly size – plus they look like macarons. So cute!

22. We all get pretty excited about new toothbrushes, and a battery-powered option for kids would be fun in a stocking, AND practical, which is a bonus in my book.

23. Same goes for these flossers – which Carla, at least, is very amenable to.

Butter crew socks for kids

Photo from nordstrom.com

24. These Butter crew socks for kids would be the perfect mix of fun and function.

Butter crew socks

Photo from nordstrom.com

25. Adults – well, this adult at least – enjoy stocking stuffers too. And Butter crew socks come in grownup sizes, too… Just saying.

Stocking 2019 1

26. I can’t tell you how useful it is to have a “travel candle.” This P. F. Candle Co mini candle set is cute and totally useful. DEFINITELY more than my $10-per-item price cap… but not if you split them apart and give one candle to three separate people. Am genius.

27. Or this one: Vermeil Mini Tin Candle Trio!

28. You know I ask for fancy hand cream every year. Well this L’Occitane 5-piece set of hand creams – split up among gift recipients, to keep the cost-per-item down – would be a great stocking stuffer for someone who spends the winter with dry, cracked hands.

29. Ooooooh – I think this L’Occitane Indulgences hand cream trio looks great, too.

30. Or the Kiehl’s Smooth Skin Delights Hand Cream Trio.

31. Or how about this Philosophy hand cream set? So many options for fancy hand creams!

Stocking 2019 2

Photos from papersource.com, nordstrom.com, and anthropologie.com

32. These cucumber cooling eye pads would also be a fun self-care item to find in a stocking.

33. I am thinking about getting into the facial spray game – my sister-in-law uses a face spritz, and always looks glowy and fresh. So what if she’s naturally beautiful. I can still try to replicate her dewy loveliness by asking for this Facial spray trio for myself.

34. Another thing I always covet is seasonal nail polish, so I just might buy myself this Deborah Lippman Precious Things Nail Trio.

35. Maybe you know someone who needs some roll-on shimmer. It sounds fun, and it’s the perfect price and size for a stocking.

36. Oooh – I would have LOVED this glitter spray in college. I think it would fill people of MANY ages with delight.

Stocking 2019 2-2

Photos from amazon.com and etsy.com

37. I have just the friend who needs the Mental Perk: A Friends Quiz Book as a stocking stuffer.

38. Or maybe I should send her this Rachel Green-worn T-shirt from KatLivesMatter – it’s under $10, so it’s totally a stocking stuffer.

39. You probably know someone who loves The Good Place. If so, you know someone who needs this mug from NerdyDesignShop in their stocking. I like how the wholesome flowery motif belies the meaning behind the message.

40. This one would be great, too – if you don’t have a small child who would ask too many questions about what it means.

41. For the Schitt’s Creek fan, I might direct you to this mug from SilverSpurMercantile, which features my favorite quotable moment from the show. (Keep in mind that I have not yet seen the most recent season.)

42. This collection of Schitt’s Creek-quote pencils from SundryBest makes me happy.

43. Oh my goodness – THIS pencil collection from TheSilverSpider may make me EVEN HAPPIER. (And it has fewer swear words. You have to know your recipient’s tolerance for such.)

44. Can you ever have too many magnets? No. Therefore, they make excellent stocking stuffers. I recommend this David Rose sweater magnet from LaceyOlsonDesign.

cat-memos.jpg

Photo from papersource.com

45. For the feline fanatic: I can envision LOTS of uses for these cat post-its.

Stocking 2019 3

Photos from amazon.com

46. My dad is a car guy, and I am thinking of getting him something like this magnetic pickup tool. It looks useful and would make for a great stocking stuffer for someone who works with their hands.

47. This magnetic wrist band would also be useful for anyone who does lots of at-home (or at-work) building and repairs.

48. My husband – who washes his hands a thousand times a day – swears by this O’Keefe’s Working Hands hand cream. Usually it comes in a little tin, but I found it in a squeeze bottle which will make it easier for me to “borrow” once my own fancy hand cream runs out.

Stocking 2019 4

Photos from happysocks.com, amazon.com, and nordstrom.com

49. Lately, my husband is really into fun socks. And he is also a big coffee guy. So I think these coffee socks might find their way into his stocking. (As of this writing, they are under $10, but the normal price is $14.)

50. Usually I get him some pour-over coffee as a stocking stuffer, too.

51. In the practical category, this three-pack of men’s unders would be good in a stocking. The Nordstrom boxer shorts are super soft and hold up well after multiple washings.

52. Men deserve luxurious self-care items, too. So maybe there’s a man in your life who would enjoy this exfoliating soap?

53. Or perhaps this peppermint foot salve.

54. I got my husband this manicure kit a couple of years ago and he uses it all the time. Useful and small – perfect stocking stuffer material.

Stocking 5

Photos from amazon.com, worldmarket.com, and surlatable.com

55. Almost anyone could find a use for these mini silicone kitchen utensils. I find myself constantly wishing my existing utensils were smaller – sometimes you don’t need a Giant Whisk, am I right?

56. Speaking of miniature kitchen gadgets, I really, really think this miniature cheese grater would come in handy for anyone in any kitchen.

57. There’s no 1/8 teaspoon, but these measuring spoons are so cute and make me feel so happy.

58. These odd-size measuring spoons make me feel happy in a totally different way.

59. These silicone sponges are reportedly AMAZING – and something everyone can use.

Stocking 2019 6

Photos from worldmarket.com and amazon.com

60. For someone who enjoys a mixed drink, these cocktail syrups would be fun to receive in a stocking.

61. Or – maybe even better – these Champagne toppers.

62. You definitely know someone who needs one of these Baggu bags. I own two and they are SO USEFUL. You can fold them up into their teeny little pouch, so I keep one in my purse and one in my car and use them for… everything. Library books. Impromptu grocery-store visits. Cleaning out Carla’s cubby at school.

63. These magnetic bookmarks are awesome. Perfect for any book lover.

Stocking 2019 7

Photos from amazon.com

64. Stockings are a great place to stow candy. I would love to find a bag of these all-pink Starburst in my stocking, for instance.

65. Oooohhhh…. Or a bag of miniature Milky Way Midnights. The bag may say “perfect for sharing” but I say “perfect for hoarding to enjoy with my morning tea.”

Lotto Love.jpg

Photo from givelottolove.com

66. I like the idea behind these charitable scratch-off tickets from Lotto Love. Each ticket represents a donation to one of Lotto Love’s charitable partners, providing clean water, solar light, literacy tools, or nutritious meals to people in need. (Of course, make sure you do your due diligence before you make any charitable contribution.)

67. And of course a stocking is a great place for gift cards. Five to ten bucks makes for a good treat at Starbucks, Claire’s, or your local ice cream shop.

What are you putting (or hoping for) in your stocking this year?

Read Full Post »

 

2019 Holiday Gift Guide 3.png

Holy moly, Internet. It’s DECEMBER. We have just a few short weeks to get all our holiday shopping done. I don’t know about you, but I have purchased exactly one (1) gift so far. YIKES. Time to get going.

In lieu of buying, I have been doing a LOT of perusing. ALL YEAR I have been bookmarking fun gift ideas and taking note when someone on my gift list mentioned something I could possibly wrap in shiny paper and put under their tree. I have ended up with far more gifts than I could ever buy, and solid ideas for most everyone on my list. And, since it was so fun last year, I thought I’d put them all together in a gift guide – and maybe you’d find some inspiration for your own December shopping.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this very eclectic mix of things that appeal to me and the specific people I love. Perhaps you will find something for someone on your holiday gift list. Perhaps you will find something you need to put on your own wish list. Or maybe, like me, you just enjoy reading gift guides in all their forms. (As per usual, some of these links are affiliate links, which means I may make a few pennies if you end up buying something.)

Let’s begin where any gift list should, with books:

Books 2019.png

Photos from amazon.com, inkshares.com, and barnesandnoble.com

  1. You should definitely get the writer/reader/dog lover in your life The Friend by Sigrid Nunez, which is not only the best book I read this year but one of my favorite books of ALL TIME not to put too much pressure on it.
  2. Another one of the best books I’ve read in a LONG time is Inland by Téa Obreht. It is beautifully written and obsessively researched, and it’s just so GOOD. Also, I went to a reading by the author and she is the type of person you want to become best friends with.
  3. Normal People by Sally Rooney was also excellent, in an entirely different way.
  4. If you’ve got book lovers on your list who prefer thrilling, plot-driven novels, then definitely consider Recursion by Blake Crouch. It’s part sci-fi, part mystery, all edge-of-your-seat excitement. And, as a fan of ALL Crouch’s work, I believe it is also his best-written book to date.
  5. Or, for the detective novel set, might I recommend The Lost Man by Jane Harper? The setting – the Australian outback – is the biggest star in this book, but the characters and the beautifully crafted plot have ensured that I will buy anything Jane Harper writes.
  6. Speaking of authors who are so good I will read anything they write: Sophie Hannah (whose next book comes out in February – squee!!!) released a new novel earlier this year. The Next to Die  was, per usual, excellent.
  7. My friend Kristina wrote a very spine-tingling but deeply heart-wrenching book, Weight of Memory, and you can pre-order it (and read a few of the early chapters!). It’s so good, Internet.
  8. For those people on your gift list who like aliens, comics, and/or witty observations of everyday human moments, you will hit the jackpot with Nathan W. Pyle’s Strange Planet.
  9. And, while Maggie Smith’s book of affirmations Keep Moving isn’t out yet, I highly recommend her book of poems, Good Bones, to tide you or your soul-of-a-poet loved one over until May.
  10. In nonfiction, consider Semicolon by Cecilia Watson or Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer. I already have the Dreyer book, but I am asking for Semicolon for myself; I got it for a friend and he loved it, so now I really want it. I also put I’ll Be There for You: The One About Friends on my wish list, because it looks cute and I love Friends.
Reader gifts 2019

Photos from etsy.com, uncommongoods.com, and amazon.com

11. You could always pair one of the above books with a set of literary bookmarks from CarrotTopPaperShop.

  1. And maybe this bookworm t-shirt from NinetoNone.
  2. Oooooh… and this is pretty splurge-y, but I love this set of city skyline bookends. Not a huge selection of cities represented, but maybe your book lover also lives in one of these places…?
  3. And any reader needs a booklight. I am strongly considering getting this one for my husband. It’s really for me, because I go to sleep before he does and wake up the instant he turns on a light.
Biggie.jpg

Photo from amazon.com

15. Carla learned to read over the past… six months or so. Like, actually read. HOWEVER, little perfectionist that she is, she gets easily frustrated when she doesn’t know every single word instantly. Fortunately, she adores all things Piggie and Gerald because they are a) amazing and b) make her feel successful at reading by herself. For your own just-now-reading gift recipients, I highly recommend any of the Mo Willems canon, especially the Elephant and Piggie Biggie! which is essentially five books in one.

Book Theme Gifts 2019.png

Photos from amazon.com and storiarts.com

16. We’ve been really getting into some good chapter books lately, as a family. And I am lobbying hard to read Roald Dahl’s Matilda

17. This Matilda pillow cover would be a great gift to accompany the book.

18. Or maybe you know someone who would prefer a Little House on the Prairie theme? Here’s the box set of the Little House on the Prairie books.

19. And the accompanying  the pillow cover.

20. Oooh! You could also do an Anne of Green Gables themed gift! With a pillow cover

21. And the complete set of books

22. And if you want to go Full Anne, might I also recommend the Megan Follows TV series? I have literally never received a themed gift in my LIFE, but I also think it would be super fun!

GBBO Themed Gift 2019.png

Photos from amazon.com and etsy.com

23. Speaking of themes that I would like are universally appealing… If you know someone who likes to bake, or likes to think about baking, or likes to look at beautiful baked goods, I highly recommend the Great British Baking Show Seasons 1-5. This show (also referred to as GBBO) is SO SOOTHING. The contestants are lovely and kind and there is no drama of the type that permeates American competition shows. Also, you get to weigh in on whether someone’s Charlotte is well-baked when you have no idea what a Charlotte actually is. It’s great fun.

24. For the GBBO superfan, you could always buy a fun apron from PenCraftE…

25. Or a T-shirt from HandmadeJoyDesigns…

26. Or a cookbook. I own this one and, while I can’t say I have made a single thing from it, I really enjoy imagining that I am about to bake one of the scrumptious goodies featured inside.

Baking bundle

Photo from barnesandnoble.com

27. And who says Great British Bakeoff fans are only grownups? Carla loves to bake with me, and, if she were a little younger, I would totally consider buying her this kids’ cooking set. Honestly, it’s probably GREAT for a six-year-old, but… I don’t have enough room in my kitchen for more of this stuff.

 

Magic Gifts 2019.png

Photos from amazon.com

28. Carla has been really into magic lately, so I am considering getting her a magic kit. This one seems very similar to one I had – and LOVED – as a kid.

29. For the budding magician, a cape, hat, and bunny would also be very useful.

30. And these foam balls would be a great accompaniment.

Studio in a box

Photo from kidmademodern.com

31. This studio in a box would be wonderful for kids who have an artistic bent.

Kahlo book

Photo from amazon.com

32. Maybe pair it with a great book about Frida Kahlo?

Kids Gifts 2019 1.png

Photos from amazon.com

33. I have it on good authority from A Friend Who Knows Such Things that the Blinger is a hot ticket item for the first grade glitterati. (This is totally a kid-size BeDazzler, right? Anybody remember the BeDazzler craze?)

34. Another coveted item among the first graders is the Rainbow Loom. I cannot tell you how many bracelets and necklaces Carla comes home with on a daily basis. Her friends LOVE making these things (one of her friends has an ENORMOUS collection that he brought over for a playdate and his mom says he spends HOURS looming). I am leaning toward getting Carla one as well. Of course, I have to overcome my resistance to a having a million tiny rubber bands popping up all over my house first. (Her friend has an expansion pack similar to this, I think. But I would get Carla the starter kit first.)

35. Something Carla got for her birthday and LOVED was a Fairy Garden. It comes with dirt and seeds that you plant… but it has little fairy toys and furniture and stuff, too. She loved it but eventually we went away for the weekend and everything died, so we cleaned it out and will have to start again.

Journal Gifts 2019.png

Photos from amazon.com and papersource.com

36. Carla has been really into journaling lately. It seems like a kindergarten/first grade kind of thing, but I bet it last a LOT longer than those two years. Especially since this is the time when kids are just learning to write. Anyway, here is a cute journal.

37. And a set of colored gel pens. I think Carla would FLIP OUT over this collection.

38. Or a really cute narwhal pen.

39. Oh my goodness. Or this journal-and-pen set that has everything a kid in Carla’s cohort could ever want: unicorns, flappable sequins, and a pen with multiple ink colors!

 

Kids Gifts 2019 2.png

Photos from amazon.com

40. Carla is a huge lover of stuffed animals, and this year she went CRAZY over something called a Rainbowcorn. It’s a stuffed animal but has that “unboxing” and “element of surprise” appeal that so many kids gifts do these days. She got a big one as a gift for her cousin and loved it so much that we got her one for her birthday. And then she got a little one as a gift for something else and we just bought another little one for her Girl Scouts gift exchange. I think it’s safe to say they are popular with kids anywhere from age 3 to at LEAST 7.

41. Last year, we got Carla a cat-a-day calendar for her bedside table. We made it to mid September before we stopped looking at it, which I think is pretty good for us. I am considering getting her another one this year. I like this one because it is mini and would fit better on her nightstand.

42. One of her friends — age four — requested a globe as a gift, much to his mother’s surprise and delight. A globe is clearly a great gift at any age. I am thinking about this interactive one for Carla and/or my niece.

Games 2019.png

Photos from target.com, amazon.com, and electricliterature.com

 

43. If you’ve got a family-with-kids-or-grandkids on your shopping list, I want to recommend Qwirkle, which is a very fun family-friendly game. It’s a distant relative of Scrabble, I’d say – you have to connect tiles based on color or shape and you get points for the number of tiles you add. Carla started really getting it at about age five but it’s challenging enough that it is actually pretty fun to play it as an adult.

44. The adults in my family really love Linkee, which is all about finding connections. You get a card with four questions, and as you ask the questions and people answer them, you have to find what links them together. It’s very fun. I wonder if Carla is old enough, at this point, to play?

45. As far as new games I’m looking at, Papercuts, which is supposedly a literary game in the vein of Apples to Apples/Cards Against Humanity, appeared on one of this season’s many gift guides and it sounds like tons of fun.

Tea Gifts 2019-2.png

Photos from teasquared.ca and amazon.com

46. If you know a tea drinker who needs a gift this holiday season, might I HIGHLY recommend Tea Squared Tea? I had some of this tea in a beautiful little restaurant (Cluny Bistro) in Toronto and it was the BEST Earl Grey I have ever had. And I drink a LOT of tea. I had the pyramid tea bags, but I see that Tea Squared also offers a variety of subscription services. As a tea drinker who also enjoys getting regular presents in the mail, that sounds VERY fun.

47. And here is where I plug my favorite tea kettle. My husband got it for me as a gift years ago and I use it every day. Every. Day.

48. My husband also got me this set of polka dot mugs for some gift-giving occasion or other, and they make me happy every time I open the cupboard. They are so cheerful! And big enough for a nice, large cup of tea.

Puzzle Gifts 2019.png

Photos from collage.com and amazon.com

49. For the puzzle lovers, no puzzle has ever been so adored as this custom photo puzzle that I got for both grandmothers one year. Of course, the puzzles each featured an ADORABLE picture of Carla, which is what made them so special.

50. My husband is one of the puzzle lovers I referenced, and I have this puzzle on my to-buy list for him.

51. And, for the serious puzzler, you should highly consider this set of puzzle sorting trays. I got this for my husband and he uses it every time he completes a puzzle.

 

Pampering Gifts 1 2019.png

Photos from tiffany.com, beautycounter.com, nordstrom.com, crabtreeandevelyn.com, and uncommongoods.com

52. I got my hands on a sample of Tiffany Sheer this summer and loved it. I don’t normally wear a lot of fragrance, but this was very light and feminine without being super flowery.

53. As long as we’re talking about cosmetics (perfume is a cosmetic, right?), you might also consider this gift set of facial oils. I LOVE the skin brightening oil and use it almost daily. Well, nightly. And I have just gotten myself a bottle of the plumping oil which I’m super excited to try. Especially if you or your giftee live in a dry, cold climate, this would be such a nice treat.

54. If you are looking for another good smelling gift, I highly recommend the Nest fragrance diffuser – my husband got me one of these a few years ago and I LOVED it. This one comes with three separate fragrances – Holiday, Birchwood Pine, and Sparkling Chassis. I bet it will help your house smell like the holidays – and extend the holiday joy – for months!

55. When it comes to luxurious treats, hand cream is always on my wish list. This collection from Crabtree & Evelyn sounds like such a nice way to pamper my dry skin in the winter.

56. And as far as pampering goes, I would LOVE this overnight foot care kit. Cozy socks and nice-smelling cream? Wonderful.

57. After our recent conversation about jammies, I started looking around and fell in love with these Rachel Parcell Thermal Pajamas. So cute! I could totally see myself wearing these. Maybe not to actually SLEEP in, but as House ClothesTM wendiwendy.

Kid Books 2019.png

Photos from amazon.com

58. I already did my favorite books for adults, but I forgot about books for kids! There are a couple of new books in series Carla loves that I am putting on her “something to read” list. Sofia Valdez, Future Prez by Andrea Beaty just came out in November and Carla already owns and loves Rosie Revere, Engineer and Ada Twist, Scientist and I really enjoy their messages of female empowerment and intellectual curiosity… and the excellent rhyming.

59. I see that there’s a new addition to Shannon Hale’s Princess in Black series, too: The Princess in Black and the Bathtime Battle. These books are a little bit more… goofy than anything else, but Carla enjoys them. And they are nice for young chapter book readers.

60. Carla has been checking out books of animal facts from her school library every week, so I am also eyeing a big book of animal facts, maybe like this animal encyclopedia.

Luxardo Cherries.jpg

Photo from amazon.com

61. My husband expressly asked for Luxardo cherries this year. I will take any help I can get in finding him a present he wants, so I will get him the cherries! You can get a two-pack from amazon, or a single bottle from Williams Sonoma if you a) want to spend less and b) can go to a Williams Sonoma or get free shipping and/or c) you are uninterested in supporting the other company I just mentioned.

Cheese Gifts 2019.png

Photos from zingermans.com, etsy.com, and uncommongoods.com

62. Speaking of food gifts, one of the most successful gifts I’ve sent in recent years was the gift of cheese. If one of your gift recipients is a cheese lover, I highly recommend this Zingerman’s customizable gift basket of three cheeses and crackers. (Zingerman’s also has a quarterly cheese club, which sounds so decadent.) If you don’t want to spend quite that much on your cheese fan, iGourmet also has a cheese sampler and so does Wisconsin Cheese Mart.

63. You could always make your own cheese tray or give a cheese gift certificate – and maybe pair it with this adorable cheese tea towel from HoneyBrushDesign. Or this cheeky cheese tea towel from TickledZebra. (You know I love tea towels.)

64. Oh my goodness – if your cheese lover is a TRUE cheese head, maybe you need to give them this cheese grotto? This is totally a gift for the kind of person who already has everything.

65. Or, for the cheese lover who has everything, maybe a DIY goat cheese kit?

 

Coffee gifts 2019.png

Photos from williams-sonoma.com and amazon.com

66. While looking at cheese – yum, cheese – I came across this fun gift crate for coffee lovers. It has a French press, a half pound of Illy whole bean coffee, and two of Williams Sonoma’s waffle weave towels (which I have and LOVE).

67. My coffee-connoisseur husband already has a French press. (And a fancy coffee machine. And a Chemex and an Aeropress, both of which would make excellent gifts for a coffee lover.) Anyway, I am always looking for new coffee gadgets for him, and I think this travel espresso brewer would be super cool.

Coasters 2019.png

Photos from etsy.com

68. Drinks make me think of coasters. I love these blue agate coasters from OwlKraft– but they are quite pricy. I guess that’s what makes them a good gift, because I would be hard pressed to buy them for myself.

69. Same goes for these beautiful wooden hexagon coasters by ManchesterWoodcraft.

70. Ooooh or these geode coasters from Dock6PotteryandTile. So pretty.

Kids Gifts 2019 3.png

Photos from amazon.com

71. You know who else loves geodes? Carla and most of her classmates. This is not a new thing, by the way; she’s loved them since preschool – but a break-your-own geodes kit would be an excellent gift for a child of many ages. I’d say maybe 4 to 10, depending on the 4- to 10-year-old in question.

72. Another science-y kit we’ve used with great success in recent years is a crystal growing kit. It’s a fun project for kids to do with their grandparents while you are out of town, if you ask me. But definitely a very cool and semi-educational gift.

73. Also for Carla, we are strongly considering this VTech kids video camera. My only fear is that I will then become the subject of her documentaries.

Blankets 2019.png

Phots from potterybarn.com, nordstrom.com, and westelm.com

74. One of the people on my gift list this year requested a new cozy blanket for her living room. I am in love with this buffalo check throw  in pretty much every color.

75. Or this plush throw  with fringe also looks very soft and cozy – and there are so many colors to choose from!

76. Ooooh – or this faux fur throw . So soft!

Kids Blankets 2019.png

Photos from everythinghappy.com, nordstrom.com, and potterybarnkids.com

77. Kids need blankies too – my particular kid’s favorite blankie is from Happie Blankie. These blankets are plush on one side, satiny on the other, and come in a variety of animal shapes. Best of all, the company donates one blanket to a child in need with every purchase.

78. Now that she’s older, I would probably get Carla something a little bigger. Maybe this wearable cat blanket?

79. Or perhaps I should be shopping for a sleeping bag – even though I am so far resisting the idea of sleepovers. This shaggy head sleeping bag looks very cute and comfortable.

Slippers 2019.png

Photos from boden.com, justice.com, amazon.com, and nordstrom.com

80. Carla has been asking for cozy slippers. I like these faux fur-lined options from Boden a lot.

81. Or these unicorn slipper booties would be a big hit.

82. Or maybe these fox slippers.

83. Maybe my husband needs a pair of slippers, too?

Spirits Gifts 2019.png

Photos from flaviar.com, thespiritco.com, and selfridges.com

84. One person on my gift list has requested a repeat of a gift from last year: a liquor sampler. This year, the request is for bourbon, so I am considering this New York whiskey collection . Each of the three samples is 50 ml and this is the company I used last time with (apparently) great success.

85. Or, possibly, this American bourbon tasting set . The samples are teeny (3 cl each), but there are five of them.

86. As long as we’re thinking of alcohol gifts, I wouldn’t mind receiving this gin bauble  in my stocking. Cute and fun and different!

 

Treats Gifts 2019.png

Photos from schocolat.com, etsy.com, zingermans.com, and nueskes.com

87. Speaking of delicious gifts I wouldn’t mind receiving: how about a box of chocolates for someone with a sweet tooth? We used this particular chocolate company for the candy “bar” at our wedding, and the chocolates are beautiful and delicious.

88. Your chocolate lover might also appreciate this “chocolate is salad” tea towel from VintageMarketEugene.

89. Or maybe some decadent drinking chocolate?

90. And if you aren’t into chocolates (I get it), maybe a caramel sampler like this onewould be more your speed? I mean, your gift recipient’s

99. Or how about a bacon sampler? We got this for my dad one year and he loved it.

Home Gifts 2019.png

Photos from crateandbarrel.com, neimanmarcus.com, joann.com, amazon.com, and williams-sonoma.com

100. If your gift recipient, like me, enjoys fun decorative accents for the home, might I also recommend this plaid vase? I have been eyeing it for a long time and would LOVE it for my bedroom.

101. I have been looking for a new serving platter to replace my favorite blue one that chipped… and it strikes me that beautiful servingware makes a great gift. I, at least, find it hard to spend money on things I pull out only a few times a year, even though I want them to be nice. I rather like the uneven edges of this platter – and it’s nearly the same blue as the dish I’m replacing.

102. This oval platter is gorgeous and goes with our other blue and white dishware.

103. This matching serving bowl is also so pretty.

104. One of my favorite and most-used gifts is a lovely wooden salad bowl. This one is also quite beautiful and comes with matching salad tongs.

105. In the practical kitchen gift category, I highly recommend these mini Wilton spatulas from Joann Fabric. I use them ALL the time.

106. And – less practical, but still very useful – I have to plug the cake turntable (plus icing tips!) I bought myself for Carla’s birthday this past summer.

107. I would also enjoy some lovely hand soap and lotion, for after I’ve done all the dishes.

Eco Gifts 2019.png

Photos from amazon.com, rei.com, and nordstrom.com

108. One of my friends is very eco-conscious (I admire her and try to emulate her where possible) and so I am thinking about getting her this set of bamboo utensils. She has to eat out quite a bit for her job, so I know she’d get a lot of use out of them. And they are so pretty!

109. My mother-in-law is fretting about the straw ban. She LOVES straws. So I think we will send her this beautiful collapsible stainless steel straw and cleaning kit.

110. OH! Also in the eco-friendly category is a reusable bottle. Carla got one for her birthday one year WITH HER NAME ON IT and it was seriously one of the best gifts ever. (Until she lost it at camp. Which… how???? There is one other Carla who attended her camp, and wouldn’t you know that the hot pink stainless steel water bottle you brought home wasn’t yours?) Anyway. I have a S’Well bottle like this one and I love it. If you have time, you can take it to Things Remembered and get your gift recipient’s name engraved on the side.

111. You could add a water bottle cleaning brush to your gift, too – I have one very similar to this one (but in boring grey) and it makes me feel much better about not putting my bottle through the dishwasher.

Bangle

Photo from nordstrom.com

 

112. Let’s close out this gift guide with something frivolous and pretty, like this Kate Spade bangle. Do I need this? No. Do I want it? Very much yes. Perhaps so will someone on your gift list.

 

That’s it for this year, Internet! I hope you find something for everyone on your list. And if you have gifts that you are really excited about giving – or receiving – let me know about them in the comments. I love to hear about fun gifts!

Happy shopping!

For more ideas, check out last year’s gift guide, which has lots of great options!

Read Full Post »

Wallet 3

Buying birthday gifts for children is… trying. Even though I am in possession of an honest-to-goodness child myself, I have no real idea what kids like or what they want. Usually I end up buying some combination of whatever it is Carla is currently into and whatever falls into my price range (somewhere around $15-$20 for classmates and $30-$50 for close friends/relatives). But it’s HARD to choose gifts for kids you don’t really know, even if you feel like you’re getting a Good Gift, and even if it’s something that your own child loves.  It’s even HARDER when the child in question isn’t the same age as your own child. When confronted with a three-year-old’s birthday, my mind goes completely blank. What did Carla like when she was three? Was she ever three? Do three-year-olds like LEGO or are they still in that put-everything-in-your-mouth stage? Or is three that magical age when toy packaging finally says it’s okay for your kid to play with pretty much anything? What toys did I hate the most? Which ones did I kind of enjoy? Which ones did Carla play with for five seconds and then forget forever? The answers elude me.

But! Thanks to my brilliant mother-in-law, I have found a new gift option that I think works well for kids of MANY ages. I’d say starting with age three (if you know the three-year-old pretty well, and think this would be appropriate) and going up at LEAST to age seven or eight – maybe older.

Now, I will preface this by saying I don’t think this is groundbreaking gift news, or anything. And because it may take a little extra poking around, it might be far less desirable than clicking “buy” on a “top gift for X age kid” on Amazon and getting something in the mail two days later. But I am newly enamored of this idea and, even though it seems quite obvious when I think about it, it was successful enough that I was startled into wanting to buy it for all children forevermore. There. Preface over.

This is the gift my mother-in-law gave to Carla and to my three-almost-four-year-old niece this year for Christmas, and it is henceforth my Gift of Choice:

A purse or wallet inside which you stow a gift card or two.

It’s super simple right? And yet a very satisfying gift to buy and give. (And get, based on the reactions of Carla and her cousin to this very gift.) The only problem is that you can really go overboard on the spending for this one, so you have to be crafty to keep it in budget.

Target gift cardBN gift card

The way I see it, you use the biggest chunk of your budget on the gift card/s. The critical thing (to me, and probably this is age dependent) is to make sure the gift card is for a bricks-and-mortar store. Ordering things online is not as exciting an experience for a kid as is walking through the aisles of a Target and saying, “I want that!” It doesn’t take much. A $10 gift card is delightful to a child of 5 (and I suspect to a child of seven or eight or ten, too), and will easily buy something fun.

For close friends or family, I might do $10 each to Target and Barnes & Noble. (Although, since B&N has really upped its toy game since Toys R Us closed, and because, as my husband is quick to point out, you can’t insist a child buy a book with a B&N gift card, $10 or $15 to B&N might accomplish the same thing as two separate gift cards.)  My mother-in-law got Carla a Barnes & Noble gift card and a gift card to Starbucks because she (Carla) loves begging for cake pops whenever we go there, and, with a gift card, she could buy one herself. I never though I would say this about a $5 gift card to Starbucks, but it was very empowering for my child. And there are plenty of other places where $5-$10 goes a long way. The LEGO store. Claire’s. Justice. A local ice creamery or candy shop.

Then, you use whatever you have left on the wallet/purse. Even if your budget is $15, you can totally make this happen. Target is a great place to find these things on clearance. I got a cute pink cross body purse for a friend’s daughter on clearance for $8.00, and then also found a little card holder/wallet for $3.00. Totally worth getting both, so I did! But lots of places have good options, either all the time or on clearance. Here are a few I dug up online right now — although it is probably best to see them in person, to make sure they will fit a gift card or two and aren’t TOO hideous.

Claire’s

Claires glitter 500

Glitter wristlet, $5.00 (photo from claires.com)

Claries cat 699

Cat Zipper Purse, $6.99 (photo from claires.com)

Amazon

Amazon clutch 1099

Clutch, $10.99 (photo from amazon.com)

 

Amazon dino 890

Dinosaur wallet, $8.90 (photo from amazon.com)

Amazon cat crossbody 999

Cat crossbody, $10.99 (photo from amazon.com)

Amazon shark fanny 998

Shark belt bag, $9.98 (photo from amazon.com)

H&M

HM card case 799

Card case, $7.99 (photo from hm.com)

HM shoulder bag 999

Unicorn crossbody, $9.99 (photo from hm.com)

Target

Target Nintendo 799

Nintendo wallet, $7.99 (photo from target.com)

Target clutch 399

Mesh clutch, $3.99 (photo from target.com)

Forever21

F21 yellow 553

Yellow wallet, $5.53 (forever21.com)

F21 gold crossbody 995

Gold crossbody, $9.95 (photo from forever21.com)

Walmart

Walmart Mickey 285

Mickey wallet, $2.85 (photo from Walmart.com)

Walmart Fox 659

Fox coin purse, $6.59 (photo from walmart.com)

Walmart Mickey 1041

Mickey crossbody, $10.41 (photo from walmart.com)

Walmart owl 930

Owl crossbody, $9.30 (photo from walmart.com)

Michael’s, Joann Fabric, Five Below, Tuesday Morning, and the dollar store would be other places that could have good low-cost options.

If I have any money left in my budget, I might stick some other fun item into the purse/wallet. Stick-on earrings or a matching slap bracelet or a pair of sunglasses.

Target slap bracelet 599

Donut slap bracelet, $5.99 (photo from target.com)

Amazon slap bracelet 799

Superhero slap bracelets, $7.99 (photo from amazon.com)

Target shades 599

Paw Patrol shades, $5.99 (photo from target.com)

Charlie shades 600

Heart sunglasses, $6.00 (photo from charming charlie.com)

Amazon shades 846

LEGO shades, $8.46 (photo from amazon.com)

Amazon earrings 399

Stick-on earrings, $3.99 (photo from amazon.com)

Listen, I will fully admit that part of the joy in this gift is the SEARCH. And if the search is not your idea of fun, or if you just want to grab a board game off the shelf next time you are in Target and be DONE with the whole thing, then this is obviously not the gift idea for you. But I know from experience how much fun it is for a kiddo to receive this present. Carla was so excited to have her own money to spend, and has loved picking out what she wanted to buy with her gift cards. And it’s nice for me to be able to say, “Get whatever you want as long as it’s within your budget!”

Wallet 4

Read Full Post »

I am assuming that you are spending all day, every day, scrolling through Gift Guides, right? There are so many gift guides, you don’t even have to THINK about what to give someone – you’ll just find it on a guide! I for one ADORE gift guides. Gift guides for book lovers… gift guides for foodies… gift guides for nerds… gift guides for survivalists… gift guides for native Iowans… Doesn’t matter WHAT the gift guide is, I will read it.

And this year, I’ve put together one of my own! I know Hanukkah is nearly over and Christmas is right around the bend, so it’s not particularly timely. It’s not well-organized and it’s long (hey, just like my blog posts!) and it doesn’t have any other theme than Things I’d Like to Give or Get. But I hope you have fun reading it. And hey – maybe you’ll find that elusive something that you’ve been looking for!

A couple of quick notes before we dive in:

There are not a lot of Gifts for Men on this list, I have to say. It’s slim pickins out there. If you’re to believe retailers, dudes like only five things: grilling, tools, shaving, farts, and bacon. I am chagrined to say that I have tools AND bacon on my list, but hey, those things are universal. (So are farts, but I get enough potty talk from the kindergarten set, so I am going to keep my gift list fart free.) (And I maintain that shaving is not GIFTWORTHY, it is an often-DAILY annoyance and should not be gift-e-tized. Whatever the “monetize” version of “gift” is.) But I didn’t even TRY to find men’s clothing options or look at tech stuff. Oh, right! That’s the sixth Category of Manly Giving: tech. I admit to total tech ignorance. My husband gives me a list of exactly what he wants and I choose from those items so I don’t get something wrong. I got him something slightly tech-adjacent for our anniversary and I am super nervous that it won’t be something he can use. Anyway, my anxieties are not part of this list. Moving on.

You will also note that some gifts on this list are Just For Fun. I am not going around spending a thousand bucks on a Scrabble wall hanging, for Pete’s sake. But it’s FUN. I wish I WERE the type of person who a) could afford to buy a Scrabble wall hanging and b) would have a room in which it fit perfectly with my décor.

Finally, I own a few of these things, some of them I want, some of them I just think are awesome. I get nothing for including these on the list except that the Amazon things include an affiliate link for which I get a few cents if you actually buy the product. (Prices and availability accurate as of the writing of this post.)

Enjoy!

 

First, here are the obligatory tools:

  1. This flashlight case strikes me as very practical for just about anybody.
Flashlight Tool Kit

photo from amazon.com

Emergency Flashlight Tool Case– Sharper Image, $49.99

  1. And for your handy friends, perhaps this magnetic wristband?
Magnetic wristband

photo from amazon.com

RAK Magnetic Wristband– Amazon, $16.99

Sticking with practical, here are some of my favorite kitchen tools:

  1. While I’ve mentioned this simple clip-on strainer before, it is so useful I have to mention it again.
Fave Things Clip Strainer Amazon

photo from amazon.com

Kitchen Gizmo Snap ‘N Strain Strainer– Amazon, $15.99

  1. My mother got this for me last Christmas. If you eat a lot of tacos or meat sauce, as we do, I think you’ll fall in love.
Meat Chopper

photo from amazon.com

ChopStir Meat Chopper– Amazon, $7.99

  1. I have waxed poetic about this one before. I use this rice/quinoa/couscous cooker ALL the time. It is SO easy.
Rice cooker

photo from amazon.com

Sistema Microwave Rice Cooker– Amazon, $12.45

  1. In the category of Things I’d Like to Own, I love this enormous cheese and crackers board.
Cheese & Crackers Board

photo from uncommongoods.com

Cheese & Crackers Serving Board– Uncommon Goods, $48

  1. Coasters fall into the category of things that I use often and always admire but that are priced way more highly than I think they ought to be. Which makes them perfect for gifting. These West Elm coasters are pretty.
Coasters WE

photo from westelm.com

Reactive Glaze Coasters– West Elm, $20 (down from $29)

  1. Salt is always a good gift. And it’s fancy salt, so it’s fun AND practical.
Salt Set

photo from worldmarket.com

Salt Journey 8-Piece Gift Set– World Market, $19.99

  1. So is super fancy jam.
Christmas Jam Quartet

photo from spoon.com

Christmas Quartet– American Spoon, $55.00

  1. You should probably add in a box of 15 croissants for your friend, to eat with the jam.
Croissants

photo from williams-sonoma.com

Classic Croissants – Williams Sonoma, $31.96

11. These breakfast molds sure are cute, if you have someone on your gift list who would eat pancakes or eggs. Unlike the unicorn fan in my household.

Unicorn Mold

photo from surlatable.com

Unicorn Breakfast Mold– Sur la Table, $10.00

Or there’s a feline version…

Cat Mold

photo from surlatable.com

Cat Egg Mold– Sur la Table, $10.00

  1. This pizza box oven is adorable.
Pizza box oven

photo from sharperimage.com

Pizza Box Oven– Sharper Image, $69.99 (down from $89.99)

On the less practical side, I love these location-themed gifts from Etsy.

  1. This travel ornament is perfect for friends who are big travelers, or for people who joined together in locations different from their home cities. (Hat tip to NGS for turning me on to this particular ornament!)
Travel Ornament

photo from etsy.com

Travel Ornament– Location Inspirations, $23.95-$55.95

  1. Or I love this wall print using the same idea.
Adventure Print

photo from etsy.com

Adventure Together Print– A Gier Design, $65.00-$272.00, depending on size

  1. Moving on, of course, to the Giant Wall Scrabble. This photo does not adequately show how giant it is.
Wall Scrabble

photo from potterybarn.com

 

Wall Scrabble– Pottery Barn, $949 (down from $999)

  1. And of course, while you’re busy playing wall Scrabble, you’ll have your robot bartender mix you a Manhattan.
Robot Bartender

photo from uncommongoods.com

Robot Bartender– Uncommon Goods, $1,150

  1. While we’re on the topic of things that are too expensive (for me), how about putting one of your parents’/grandparents’/spouse’s handwritten recipes on a cutting board? I would totally cry if I got this. (I have also seen these on Etsy.)
Cutting Board

photo from orvis.com

Bespoke Cutting Board with Handwritten recipe– Orvis, $169

  1. You could pair it with a really great cookbook. Here are two I’m eyeing:
GBBO Baking Cookbook

photo from amazon.com

Great British Bake Off Big Book of Baking– Amazon, $35.62

  1. Or this one…
Ina Garten Book

photo from amazon.com

Cook Like a Pro by Ina Garten– Amazon, $20.99

  1. At Orvis, I am in love with this beautiful bowl.
Live Edge Bowl

photo from orvis.com

Live Edge Wooden Bowl– Orvis, $39-$49

 

  1. Somehow I have veered back into Practical Gift Territory (why am I so hung up on practicality?) with this supposedly easy-to-use tree stand.
Tree Stand

photo from orvis.com

World’s Easiest Tree Stand– Orvis, $119

The tree stand would be for my husband, which got me to thinking about gifts he’s actually liked – in particular, a couple of “of the month” clubs.

  1. We did Craft Coffee for MANY years – he loved that you could customize by flavor profile, grind size, etc. I don’t speak coffee so you’ll have to take my word for it that a genuine coffee enthusiast LOVED this club.
Craft Coffee

photo from craftcoffee.com

Coffee Club– Craft Coffee, $29.99-$299.88, depending on duration of membership

  1. For the past year or so, he’s been getting his other love, peanut butter, in the mail every month. One jar of plain peanut butter, one jar of fun/weird/fancy/flavored peanut butter, each from a different small batch distributor. It’s really fun! Except that we have a thousand jars of peanut butter in our house at any given moment. And I don’t like peanut butter.
PB Club

photo from amazingclubs.com

Peanut Butter Club– Amazing Clubs, $74.85-$275.40, depending on duration of membership

  1. Now this is more MY kind of club.
Gin of the Month Club

photo from spiritedgifts.com

 

Gin of the Month Club– Spirited Gifts, $225.00

  1. And of course you’d need to give some high quality tonic to go with all that gin.
Jack Rudy Tonic Trio

photo from orvis.com

Jack Rudy Tonic Trio– Orvis, $30

  1. I think you can assume if you know me in person, you’ll be getting a tea towel chosen to fit your personality at some point during our relationship.
Gin Tea Towel

photo from uncommongoods.com

Gin Lover’s Tea Towel– Uncommon Goods, $14.00

  1. I don’t normally advocate gifting art, but this is so pleasing.
Gin Print

photo from etsy.com

Gin and Tonic Wall Print– Everlong Print Co, $27.80-$59.56, depending on size

  1. This “tea” mug makes me giggle.
Gin Mug

photo from etsy.com

Gin Mug– We Are Paper Plane, $13.17

  1. Speaking of clubs, which we were a moment ago, Zingerman’s has some really drool-worthy ones:
Meat-and-Cheese-Club

cartoon from zingermans.com

Cured Meat & Cheese Club– Zingerman’s, $125 (3 months) or $250 (6 months)

  1. Do I wish I were the kind of person who needed a specialty Reuben kit? Yes, yes, I do.
Reuben

cartoon from zingermans.com

Legendary Reuben Sandwich Kits– Zingerman’s, $150-$200

  1. Mmmmm bacon.

 

Bacon Month

cartoon from zingermans.com

 

Bacon of the Month Club– Zingerman’s, $99-$400

  1. You don’t need to join a club to send the gift of bacon, though. I sent a bacon sampler to my dad for Christmas that’s less of a bacon commitment.
Bacon Sampler

photo from nueskes.com

Applewood Smoked Bacon Sampler– Nueske’s, $34.99

  1. And I am getting him this, as well, because it’s cute:
Bacon Pig

photo from surlatable.com

Bacon Bin Grease Holder– Sur la Table, $13.95

  1. Obligatory adorable bacon tea towel (and accompanying fried egg towel).
Bacon My Heart

photo from etsy.com

Bacon My Heart Tea Towel– A2D Creations, $17.95 (for two towels)

  1. And did you know there is a whole category of song lyric-pun tea towels?
Song Lyric Towels

photo from etsy.com

Song Lyric Towels– Kings Custom Design, $10.00 (for three towels)

  1. And there is also the song lyric-pun category in mugs…
Big Books Mug

photo from etsy.com

I Like Big Books Mug– The Scribble Studio, $22.95

  1. Might as well get something to put IN the mug. How about this fun variety gift for the tea lover in your life?
Tea Ornaments

photo from worldmarket.com

12 Days of Tea Ornament Gift– World Market, $14.99

  1. Or these tea drops, which I think are kind of like instant tea? I’m not sure, but I would love to try them!
Tea Drops

photo from amazon.com

Tea Drops Sampler– Amazon, $12.99

  1. I drink tea every day, so I feel the irresistible pull of a number of mugs. Here’s one for your Target-loving friend aka all your friends.
Target Mug

photo from etsy.com

Target Mug– The Bling Bling, $14.85

  1. And if you happen to know any writerly folks, I am SURE this will come in handy (she says, as she “overcomes writer’s block” by creating a massive and unnecessary gift guide).
Procrastinating Mug

photo from etsy.com

Procrastinating Mug– Unique Gift Ideas Shop, $17.95

  1. I am not sure how I would explain this mug to my five-year-old, but it makes me smile every time I see it.
Fox Sake Mug

photo from etsy.com

Fox Sake Mug– Lovely Panda Company, $20.00

  1. And, while I take issue with the comma placement on this one, I enjoy the message immensely:
Not Reading Mug

photo from etsy.com

Not Reading Enough Mug– Tea Please Co UK, $14.23

  1. Speaking of not reading enough, here’s a book I want. I bet you can think of someone who could benefit from Eleanor Roosevelt’s wise words.
Eleanor Roosevelt

photo from amazon.com

You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life by Eleanor Roosevelt– Amazon, $13.49

If you too are in the market for some good reading material, here are some books I read this year and loved and can recommend without reservation:

  1. So much tragedy in this novel spanning a life, but also a lot of humor, and somehow it works out to be very uplifting:
Invisible Furies

photo from amazon.com

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne – Amazon, $11.59

  1. I had NO IDEA that shipping tragedies was a whole sub-genre of books! This was fantastic. It reminded me a lot of the mini-series The Terror (which was itself based on a book), but it was GREAT. Engaging and different from my normal murder-mystery fare and really well-written.
North Water

photo from amazon.com

The North Water by Ian McGuire – Amazon, $10.87

  1. Every story in this collection is perfect.
Assassination

photo from amazon.com

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hillary Mantel – Amazon, $14.51

  1. This is non-fiction for writers and word nerds. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot – although I still disagree with the author’s position on en dashes.
World Without Whom

photo from amazon.com

A World Without Whom by Emily J. Favilla – Amazon, $14.27

  1. Of course, while you are – or, ahem, the person for whom you are buying a gift is – reading one of the above, you’ll need a fancy bookmark:
Personalized Leather Bookmark

photo from etsy.com

Personalized Leather Bookmark– Mayaa Co, $14.99

  1. Last summer, in a little gift shop in the woods, I found a beautiful bookmark for a friend. It was made of inlaid wood, and I loved it. Here’s something similar:
Wooden Bookmark

photo from etsy.com

Handcrafted Wooden Bookmark– R Moore Wood Creations, $7.95

  1. Or this beautiful laser cut option…
Wooden Bookmark Mitercraft

photo from mitercraft.com

Arches Design Laser Cut Wooden Bookmark– Mitercraft, $15.95

  1. What about some reader-friendly coffee, so you can get through one more chapter?
Readers Fuel Coffee

photo from bookloverscoffee.com

Reader’s Fuel Coffee– Book Lovers Coffee, $12.50

Does this list have enough kitchen towels yet? I didn’t think so. I really am a sucker for towels. Our first set of towels has been worn out, so I recently bought a pack each of kitchen towels from Williams Sonoma and Sur la Table. They are GREAT. And it’s so pleasing to have fresh, new towels hanging above my sink and filling up my laundry room cupboards.

  1. The Williams Sonoma are thick and fluffy, and, true to their name, very absorbent.
Towels WS

photo from williams-sonoma.com

 

Multi-Pack Absorbent Kitchen Towels– Williams Sonoma, $19.96 (for three towels)

  1. The Sur la Table towels are excellent multi-purpose towels, and I love the soft blue. (Although the towels come in many other colors.)
Towels SLT

photo from surlatable.com

Striped Kitchen Towels– Sur la Table, $14.95 (for three towels)

  1. Of course, I also have a deep fondness for amusing towels – which I never buy for myself, and which I therefore think of as Great Gift Fodder. I put this taco one on my wish list for Christmas this year.
Taco Tea Towel

photo from etsy.com

Taco Tea Towel– Kitch Studios, $10.00

  1. I mean, why isn’t this in my kitchen RIGHT NOW…?

 

Taco Dreams Tea Towel

photo from etsy.com

 

Taco Dreams Tea Towel– Paper Berry Press, $15.95

  1. Speaking of tacos, which we should be, always, here’s a way to celebrate someone’s taco adoration on something besides a tea towel.
Taco T Shirt

photo from etsy.com

Taco T-Shirt– Nine to None, $22.95

  1. Turns out the same Etsy store has a TON of cute T-shirts. I am very fond of this astrological T slash warning label; you must know someone who needs this, yes? (Other astrological signs available too.)
Pisces T Shirt

photo from etsy.com

Pisces AF T-Shirt– Nine to None, $22.95

  1. There is always this adorable tee for your bookish friend or family member.
Good Day to Read T Shirt

photo from etsy.com

It’s a Good Day to Read T-Shirt– Nine to None, $22.95

  1. This is cute – bees are great (and they are currently trendy from both environmental and subversive perspectives).
Save the Bees T Shirt

photo from etsy.com

Save the Bees T-Shirt– Nine to None, $22.95

  1. Speaking of bees, I would love this fancy bee shirt from Kate Spade.
Bee Pullover

photo from katespade.com

Bee Embellished Pullover– Kate Spade, $160 (down from $228) (oh no! This is now sold out in most sizes except for XXS and XS. BOO!)

  1. There HAS to be other bee-wear out there, right? Ah yes, here we are… A lovely navy tee with bees on it. Well, I have used all of my very extensive knowledge to try to get a photo of this shirt here for you and… I failed. So you will have to click to see it. Sorry.

Bee Print Top– Forever 21, $10.90

  1. Here’s a waterproof option for your bee-wear desires. I mean gifting.
Bee Raincoat

photo from nordstrom.com

Bee Print Joules Right as Rain Packable Hooded Raincoat– Nordstrom, $74.95

  1. And bee print rainboots to go with it!
Bee Welly

photo from nordstrom.com

Bee Print Molly Welly Rain Boot– Nordstrom, $72.95

  1. This is very much my personal style, but alas, I didn’t find it until after I sent out my gift list. Oh well. Perhaps you know someone who will give it a proper home?
Bee Bracelet

photo from nordstrom.com

3D Bee Open Bangle Bracelet– Nordstrom, $85.00

  1. I am not sure I would spend $17 on a keychain, but I do LIKE this one, and if I had a friend who was REALLY into bees, I would strongly consider it.
Bee Keychain

photo from papyrusonline.com

Bee Keychain– Papyrus, $16.95

  1. I really like the idea of bee footwear, and these Toms are really cute. To be fair, the critters featured aren’t all bees. I’m okay with it.
Bug Loafers

photo from toms.com

Embroidered Bugs Slip On Shoes– Toms, $34.99 (down from $59.99)

This makes me wonder why J. Crew isn’t ALL OVER the bee trend. That seems right up their sartorial alley.

Without a bee theme to adhere to, I admit that clothes are tough to give (and receive) as gifts. I’d much rather have a Stitch Fix gift card than a sweater I might not wear. But I couldn’t resist putting these – very practical – items on the list.

  1. Who doesn’t need a beautiful sweater coat? I could totally see myself, I mean, a friend, wearing this over the Pisces T-shirt, clad in the bee wellies, sipping from the fox mug, whilst gazing out over the ocean. It’s a lot of look, to be sure, but someone could pull it off. And that someone is me. I mean, your friend.
Fair Isle Sweater Coat

photo from orvis.com

Fair Isle Sweater Coat– Orvis, $169.00

  1. These are definitely on my own wish list. They will turn your favorite boots into warm, cozy winter wear. (Boots not included.)
Hunter Boot Socks

photo from hunterboots.com

Hunter Boot Socks– Hunter Boots, $50.00

  1. I don’t know about you, but I can never have enough leggings. I have it on good authority (whose, I don’t remember) that these are da bomb. (Do people still say “da bomb” anymore?)
Zella Leggings

photo from nordstrom.com

Zella High Waist Leggings– Nordstrom, $54.00

  1. Along with bringing back early ’00s slang, I am ALL FOR the return of the fanny pack. Especially when the options are so chic.
Belt Bag

photo from markandgraham.com

Belt Bag– Mark and Graham, $99.00

  1. I love this beautiful celestial necklace.
Star Necklace

photo from anthropologie.com

 

Night Sky Charm Necklace – Anthropologie, $58

  1. As we have moved on to accessories, I am a sucker for gadgets that are supposed to give you beautiful, bouncy curls, and this headband looks like a fun and easy way to achieve that.
SoCal Curls

photo from socalcurls.com

No heat waves – SoCal Curls, $18.99+

  1. And then there’s this fun ponytail holder. Give someone in your life the gift of that rockin’ pony, won’t you?
Pony O

photo from ponyo.com

Pony-O Hair Holder– Pony O, $14.96

  1. Luxurious hand cream is something I ask for every year and have received exactly once. This year, I bought some for myself and I love it.
Hand cream

photo from beautycounter.com

Holiday Hand Cream Trio– Beauty Counter, $30

  1. My husband really wants some thick socks for cold winter afternoons spent watching football. This L. L. Bean option looks like a decent possibility.
Socks LLB

photo from llbean.com

Boot Socks– L. L. Bean, $19.95

  1. I think he’d like these slipper socks… but he expressly said NOT slippers, so I can’t decide if these are out of the running yet.
Slipper socks

photo from llbean.com

Knit Slipper Socks– L. L. Bean, $34.99

  1. Maybe he really needs a cozy throw to snuggle under. And if he doesn’t, you probably know someone who does.
Throw

photo from eddiebauer.com

Cabin Fleece Throw– Eddie Bauer, $52.50

We have reached the Kid Friendly Options portion of this gift guide. If “kid friendly” means “appropriate for my particular kid, who is roughly five years old.”

  1. I have been eyeing this educational get-stuff-in-the-mail science kit, perfect for the aspiring scientist.
Science Club

photo from stevespanglerscience.com

Spangler Science Club– Steve Spangler Science, $19.99-$219.99, depending on duration of subscription

  1. Ooooh, and I can personally endorse Kiwi Crates, because Carla has been getting crates every month for over a year. She LOVES them. They satisfy her need to build and craft and my need to feel like I’m teaching her something. There’s a crate for pretty much every age range, too, so if you have a child in your life, I highly recommend this.
Kiwi Crate

photo from kiwico.com

Kiwi Crate – Kiwi Co, $19.95-$203.40 (for the 5- to 8-year-old kit) depending on how many months you sign up for

  1. Speaking of Carla’s – and anyone else’s – need to craft, I am loving Kid Made Modern. I have given the kits as gifts, we have some of their smaller kits (in fact, we gave Carla the Go Wild craft kit for Hanukkah), and I can’t get enough. I think Carla would LOVE this library of art supplies, and I bet any kid would feel the same.
Arts & Crafts Library

photo from kidmademodern.com

Arts & Crafts Supply Library– Kid Made Modern, $39.99

  1. We have several of these little Polly-pocket-style toys. I find that they are the perfect size to hide in my purse and use to distract Carla while I’m getting my teeth cleaned at the dentist/waiting for my oil to be changed/trying to chat with my husband over a much-needed dinner out. It’s a good in-the-car toy, too. It could make a great stocking stuffer for a kid in your life.
Shopkins Secret Lock

photo from amazon.com

Shopkins Secret Lock– Amazon, $8.25 (usually these are $9.99; you can get them at Target, too)

  1. Carla is deathly afraid of bandages, but these would be a great stocking stuffer for almost anyone else.
Unicorn bandages

photo from papyrusonline.com

Unicorn Bandages– Papyrus $9.95

  1. Speaking of stocking stuffers, I suggest filling someone’s stocking with a pile of tiny snowpeople. We got these a few years ago, ostensibly as Christmas decorations. Carla LOVES them – there is something pretty wonderful about a dozen mini snowpeople cascading across your bed or dresser. I can’t really imagine I paid $23 for them though – that seems steep. But I suppose worthwhile, considering we’ve already gotten at least three years of fun out of them. (I guess you have to imagine the other eight?)
Dozen snowmen

photo from amazon.com

One Dozen Plush Snowmen– Amazon, $22.93

  1. This stained glass sticker kit makes for a fun, quiet activity for kids during those looooooong winter days.
Stained Glass Kit

photo from amazon.com

Melissa and Doug Stained Glass Activity Kit– Amazon, $8.59

  1. Carla got this camera for her birthday and she loves it. It’s very sturdy and easy to use, and it takes videos in addition to photos and selfies. Perfect for the pint sized photographer in your life.
Kids Camera

photo from amazon.com

Vtech Kidzoom Camera Pix– Amazon, $29.82

  1. Carla saw one of these at Barnes & Noble the other day (although I can’t find it on their site), and fell in love. I mean, it’s a stuffed animal with those so-hot-right-now changeable sequins; what’s not to love?
Sequin Owl

photo from amazon.com

Large Plush Sequin Owl– Amazon, $18.99

It also comes in a smaller, less expensive version, even though the image makes it look identical in size…

Sequin Owl Small

photo from amazon.com

Small Plush Sequin Owl– Amazon, $9.99

I think books make the best gifts (you can never have too many!), but I don’t have many on my For Carla list this year.

87. However, I do really want to get her this Mrs. Piggle Wiggle box set.

Piggle Wiggle

photo from amazon.com

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle Set– Amazon, $27.89

If you are looking for book ideas for the three- to seven-year-old set, some of her current favorites include…

88. This perfect-for-cat-lovers book all about how similar we all are despite our differences.

Cat Book

photo from amazon.com

I Am a Cat by Galia Bernstein – Amazon, $15.61

  1. This beautifully illustrated poem about Cuba’s first female drummer.
Drum Dream Girl

photo from amazon.com

Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle and Rafael Lopez – Amazon, $16.31

  1. This two-book series about a sentient robot. (FYI, the story might not be appropriate for all kids. It references guns a few times, and some creatures get killed, which I wasn’t crazy about. But it was a good story and Carla was absolutely rapt through both books.)
Wild Robot

photo from amazon.com

The Wild Robot Hardcover Gift Set– Amazon, $21.88

  1. This gentle book that I loved as a kid; it’s still as lovely and imaginative as it was a billion years ago.
Sand Cake

photo from amazon.com

Sand Cake by Frank Asch – Amazon, $7.99

  1. This vividly illustrated book about being yourself.
Tiger Goes Wild

photo from amazon.com

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown – Amazon, $13.89

  1. And maybe a plush tiger to go with it…
Plush Tiger

photo from amazon.com

Aurora World Bengal Tiger Cub– Amazon, $10.94

  1. Or you could gift your favorite animal lover with four plush animals of your choice, with your donation in support of wildlife and nature…
Tiger WWF

photo from worldwildlife.org

Build Your Own Bucket– World Wildlife Fund, $75

  1. Also for the Big Cat lover, how about this gorgeous tiger puzzle…
Tiger Puzzle

photo from worldwildlife.org

Tiger Puzzle– World Wildlife Fund, $55

  1. Speaking of puzzles, my husband is a BIG puzzle fan, and this 2,000 piece beauty was a fun challenge (it’s enormous, though)…
Truffle Puzzle

photo from amazon.com

Springbok Tin of Treats Puzzle– Amazon, $24.99

  1. This puzzle also looks like it would fit my husband’s criteria: lots of discrete sections to work on, not a lot of blank space. Maybe you know a puzzle fan who has similar specifications?
Book Puzzle

photo from amazon.com

Vintage Book Covers Puzzle– Amazon, $17.99

  1. I may have also signed him up for a Puzzle of the Month club, which you may want to consider for the puzzle fanatic in your life. It’s such a good price for puzzles!
Puzzle of the month

photo from puzzlewarehouse.com

Puzzle of the Month Club– Puzzle Warehouse, $9.99 – $179.99

I see we have moved out of “kid friendly gift options” and into “family friendly gift options,” so might I suggest some games?

  1. My in-laws got Carla Operation for Hanukkah, and it’s just as fun – and challenging – as it was when I was a wee girl. (And it ENDS. Unlike some other kid games.) (I’m looking at you, Candyland!)
Operation

photo from amazon.com

Operation– Amazon, $11.83

  1. And we love Codenames and have gotten it for all our family members. It’s really fun.
Codenames

photo from amazon.com

Codenames– Amazon, $14.89

Read Full Post »

We use a lot of citrus around here – I like lemony flavored dinners and limey flavored drinks – but our current juicer wasn’t really cutting it for me.

 

Here it is:

Old juicer

I searched Amazon, Sur la Table, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Target, and couldn’t find this for sale anywhere, so maybe I’m not alone in thinking this could be improved upon.

I mean, it’s FINE, but it tends to get seeds in the food and it requires some elbow grease to extract juice, so it’s not PERFECT.

So the last time my husband and I were at Sur la Table (for a hot! date!), I asked if we could look at the juicers and see if there were any better options.

I was thinking of something like this, where you can use gravity to aid in the juice extraction process.

Glass juicer

Glass Citrus Juicer, $12.00 (photo from Sur la Table)

But instead, during the course of our hot! date!, we got to see THIS juicer in action.

Juicer 2

And lo! it was amazing!

So even though it was $14.99, we bought it. And it is my new favorite thing EVER.

It’s SO easy to use.

But! It is also non-intuitive to use!

If I had bought it on sight rather than after seeing a demonstration, I would never have guessed how to use it properly. And the website is no help. There are multiple photos, including a somewhat disturbing one of juice falling from the juicer, but not ONE showing how you put the fruit into the juicer.

I would have put the cut lemon or lime into the bowl of the juicer with the rind nestled down in the little bowl all snug, and the pulp facing up. So that when I squeezed the arms of the juicer together, they all fit together in a nice nested fashion, and that the emptied-of-juice lemon ended up looking like a little empty bowl at the end.

No!

Instead, you put the lemon in round side UP, and pulp side DOWN. Like so!

Juicer 4

I do know this is a lime and not a lemon. Also, it’s not a FULL lime. There are limits to what I will do for a post.

At the end, you have an inside-out lemon. And lots of delicious juice.

A real live chef showed us this method, so I am choosing to believe that this is The Best and Proper Way to use it. Although I haven’t tried it the other way. So perhaps it works equally well if you put the lemon in round side down.

It is – and I am not being compensated at ALL for this opinion (call me, Sur la Table) – FULLY worth the $14.99. In fact, I plan to buy one for each family member at Christmas. Okay, I also now see that there is a very similar version on Amazon for $8.95. Whatever. I don’t regret a thing.

Perhaps you do not use lemons and limes as frequently as I do. I still recommend this tool because it is AWESOME.

Juicer 1

Read Full Post »