Monday, December 5, 2011

Nurture Your Friends - Gifts For The Ladies On Your List

Whether it is your best friend, sister, or mother-in-law you are shopping for, I have two rules I always play by when buying gifts: 1) is it something thoughtful (i.e., speaks to their interests or shows some advance planning) and 2) would I want it? If you answer yes to both, then whatever you choose will be fabulously well-received, regardless of how much you spend!  Here are a few things I spotted while shopping this weekend (both at the mall and online).  I thought about buying them for myself before I realized they would make great gifts instead.

Anthropologie is a great place to find gifts for every female on your list.  From sweet glass boxes, to aprons, candles, and unique books, it is hard to walk out without something for a friend and yourself.  When I saw these measuring spoons, I had to scoop them up for several girlfriends who love to cook.  They are so much cuter than the boring plastic ones I use and are guaranteed to make you smile every time you pull them out.  Dining Room Measuring Spoons, $24, Anthropologie. 

After years of scouring ebay and other auction sites hoping for some crazy deal of a lifetime, I've finally come to the conclusion that a Birkin bag is not in my future.  However, this cute organic cotton shopping bag is perfect for my trips to the market (plastic bags are banned in our city) and doubles as my gym bag in a pinch.  It's a tongue-in-cheek ode to beautiful designer handbags and many other styles are available including Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Goyard, Balenciaga, and YSL. "Audrey" bag, $19.99, 

I'm always on the hunt for unusual and chic jewelry and these earrings fit the bill.  They are available from one of my favorite San Francisco shops - The Curiosity Shoppe! Take some time to browse their website and you may end up doing all your Christmas shopping in one place.  They seriously have an amazing eye for selecting unique, fun and beautifully designed pieces.  Honeycomb earrings, $34; Gem Drop earrings, $40, both at The Curiosity Shoppe. 

A girl can never have too many scarves, especially if they live in a state or country that actually gets a serious winter.  When it is cold and you have a big peacoat on, your scarf is the only part of your outfit people see - so you better make sure its got something going on.  This scarf comes in four colors and the boucle texture is a fresh twist on the practical and boring scarves in the windows of every store at my local mall.  Popcorn Boucle Eternity Scarf, $34, 

For the art lover or fashionista on your list, you can't go wrong with a gorgeous print from illustrator Anna See, a Pasadena resident and Art Center grad.  In addition to her beautiful collection of bird prints, she also has a number of illustrations of iconic designer shoes - Chanel Quilted Flats, the YSL Tribute Sandal, the Manolo D'Orsay, and the Louboutin Maggie heels to name a few.   Each print is 5x7 and is numbered and signed.  Pictured above: Chanel 2.55 Bag, $25; Miu Miu Teacup Maryjanes, $25, both available at Anna See's etsy shop

My closest girlfriends and I have given each other jewelry for Christmas since we were in college.  Its usually flea market finds that are unique and speak to our individual personalities, but now it seems harder and harder to find the time to scour the booths looking for the perfect gift. (BTW - the Rose Bowl Flea Market is this coming Sunday for anyone who lives here in SoCal.)  It was the industrial vibe and mixed metals of this ring that caught my eye at Opening Ceremony, one of the coolest stores in the country (at least in my opinion).  It is unique, makes a statement and is versatile enough to make many appearances.   Metal Triple Crystal Cocktail Ring, Low Luv by Erin Wasson, $65,

Almost everyone loves beautiful stationary and ordering personalized note cards for a friend or relative always tells them you thought ahead.  This personalized set of 15 note cards, envelopes, and return address labels from The Occasional Hello comes in a sweet muslin bag and is available in purple, turquoise, pink and black.  Personalized stationary set, $32, The Occasional Hello.

The last couple of years I've given books to just about everyone on my list - usually fiction, biographies, or books on a particular topic I know they are interested in. Decorate is by Holly Becker, the author of my absolute favorite home decor blog, Decor8.  It is filled with beautiful photography and wonderfully practical guidance on how to rethink the way you look at and decorate your home. I guarantee it will be something you refer to again and again - pick one up for yourself and a friend!  

Several years ago, my brother gave us all Christmas gifts from, a non-profit that lends money to people around the world with a goal to encourage entrepreneurism and alleviate poverty. It works like this:  You can give your friend any amount (starting at $25) through Kiva.  They then go online and choose who of the thousands of people around the world they would like to "loan" it to. Kiva works with microfinance institutions on 5 continents to provide loans to people without access to traditional banking systems. (some examples: Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, and Burundi) Through the life of the loan, you get progress updates and as the borrower repays the loan, you get it credited back to your account where you can re-loan it to someone else, or withdraw the money.  Since I loaned my money to a woman in Mexico starting a textiles shop, I've been repaid 100% and have now loaned it to woman in Mongolia who is starting a clothing shop.  Most of us are fortunate enough to have a home, food, a car and clothes on our back.  It feels good to help give someone else the opportunity to have the same. 


Elizabeth Schnuelle said...

LOVE the etsy prints by Anna See! I'm adding it to my favorites so that I can purchase some when we get an office. Thanks Jen!

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