'Tis the season for every blogger with an active URL to whip up a gift guide! The lights are still on over here at The Pretty Intellectual, so I've selected my favorite gifts of 2015 - items I actually own, use, love and think you might love to own and use. A great gift, in my mind, is something the recipient might not purchase for herself but will be beyond thrilled to receive. I think each of these fits the bill.
Be still, my heart. This beautiful baby, the Paul Mitchell Limited Edition Express Ion Unclipped 3-in-1 tool is IT for me. Before I got this, I had a whole mess of curling irons in various sizes cluttering up the vanity in my bathroom. I've replaced all of them with this glorious tool and haven't looked back. This tool creates a variety of looks and has that holiday WOW factor upon unwrapping. ($115, available at select Paul Mitchell salons - find yours here. )
An eReader is an excellent gift, I think, because books. Obviously. I very recently upgraded my old clunker of an eReader (the original Nook tablet, which weighed approximately 46 pounds) to this one. The main reason I didn't choose a Kindle is because the Nook tablet supports both Overdrive and the 3M app, which allow me to check out books from my public library. The Kindle's not compatible (at this time) with the 3M app. In any case, I love having a lightweight device that lets me always have several books handy. Because again, books! ( Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook 7.0, $149 at Barnes and Noble)
First Aid Beauty is just...what's the word? FAN-FRICKING-TASTIC. The line is formulated specifically for sensitive/dry skin, and I can vouch for it. I use the Vitamin Hydrating Mist, Facial Radiance Pads, Ultra Repair Cream and Hydra-Firm Sleeping Cream every day and my skin is smoother, clearer and more hydrated than ever. I love every single product in the Peace, Joy & Fab set (don't make me choose which one is my favorite, because I simply can't/won't do it). This particular set is available in-store at Sephora,but they're going fast so if you want one you'd better jump on it. Though you really can't go wrong with any of the First Aid Beauty skincare sets, so don't stress about it. (Peace, Joy & Fab set, $59 at Sephora)
A few of my prized possessions are recipe cards that Grandma Ruth has written out and shared with me. Not only do they contain recipes (and memories) of my family's favorite dishes, but they're in her handwriting. And a few of them even have cute little stickers that say "My Favorite Recipe!" Obviously something like that needs a special place for safekeeping. The Grande Dame recipe box fits the bill perfectly. Not only is the print vintagey-cute, but there's something really satisfying about wrenching the metal lid off the top of the box in order to get at the recipes inside. ($39, for the locals, you can find them at Paper Patisserie on Selby Ave; everyone else, hit up Anthropologie. )
Almay has put out these cute gift sets which I am all about right now. The products inside are great because they're gentle and hypo-allergenic, which means most gift recipients will be able to use them without concern over any sensitivity or reactions. And how cool is it that you've got a complete eye look here: a shadow trio, liner and mascara plus eye makeup remover pads that work so darn well. The kits are coded by eye color - you can't go wrong with the kit for blue eyes. The eye shadow trio is a mix of neutral brown shades that will work well on anyone. ($15 at Wal-greens)
This banned book bracelet is one of my favorites. It never fails to get a reaction from other people, and it makes me feel like a book-reading badass. You can create your own bracelet (with the banned books of your choice), which makes it even more of a personal gift to give. ($35 on Etsy)
I would never be so bossy as to tell you whom to give which gift. Except this one. This one is the perfect family gift. If you're a houseguest this holiday season, and you show up with the Paul Mitchell Gift of Total Renewal, you'll totally be the favorite. Which means you might score an extra fluffy towel or get to sleep on the good pull-out couch (instead of the futon in the basement). My husband and I both use Tea Tree products because the smell is invigorating and pleasant, yet gender neutral. And there are enough items in this set for everyone in the family to lay claim to in the bathroom. ($50, available at select Paul Mitchell salons and quite possibly Ulta).
How cute are these particular editions of old, favorite books? (Well, my old favorite books. You might like different stuff) A gift like this shows someone that you actually know his or her reading tastes AND that you have terrific taste in selecting an updated, cool cover. You can find special editions of books at most bookstores. I found the Atwood book at Half Price Books and the Anne of Green Gables is by Rifle Paper Co. ($16-30, Anthropologie)
When done right, a subtle highlight is one of the best ways to add a little pep and perk to the face. The keyword here being subtle. No one does subtle highlight better than Becca, as any makeup guru with a blog or a Youtue channel will attest. We all attest because it's true. And now you can gift a little glow to someone on your list with this adorable package of travel-sized highlighters. I like to layer the liquid highlighter over the powder for a little extra va-voom. ($20 at Ulta)
Is there anything cozier than a cup of tea? And yes, I know everyone's got Keurig machines that will crank out one cup at a time but there's something so wonderful about brewing up an entire pot and plunking it down next to you while you read a trashy romance novel. (Or something else.I guess it doesn't have to be a trashy romance). I always find the cutest tea pots and tea cups at World Market. That's where my mom found these two gems for me, last year.
Headbands are something I see on other women and think, "Oooh! I want to do that, too!" Then I get to the hair accessories aisle at Target and immediately freeze. (Can I really pull this off? Am I too old? Is my hair headband-compatible? Will it squeeze my head? But they're so fun!) I know I'm not alone here. Which is why a sparkly headband is a terrific stocking stuffer. I've been wearing these headbands from Remington and can report they're sparkly but not TOO sparkly, and they do not squeeze my head at all. ($7, at Target)
Another terrific stocking stuffer: fancy pens. Sure, a Bic will do the trick when it comes to signing a credit card receipt or jotting down thoughts in a journal. But writing with a fancy pen is just so much more...fancy. And fun. I'm a big fan of these Jonathan Adler pens because they have great flow - which is to say they write as nicely as they look. ($19 at Barnes and Noble)
This post includes a mix of items gifted to me by friends, family, myself and PR companies.