Category Archives: Christmas

The Ultimate Amazon Gift Guide {$15-$50}

Even though the gifts in this lineup aren’t quite as affordable as my under $15 guide, there’s still a lot to love (the polish package is pretty sweet!), so I hope you manage to score something awesome for yourself  your loved ones.

under $50 gift guide

Another organizer? But it’s so pretty! And practical…especially with all of those New Year’s get-it-together resolutions just around the corner.

Speaking of organization…as someone who has owned several Rifle Paper Co. planners in my time, I can personally attest to the quality, beauty, and usability of the designs.

Got a makeup lover in your life? Then, chances are, she’ll also loved this lighted make-up mirror. Great reviews plus a pretty rose gold finish! Ooh-la-la!

You might also consider this ColourPop shadow palette. Since she’ll need something to apply while using her snazzy new lighted mirror.

You guys! It has gotten harder and harder to find polish packages for great prices (from reputable brands) on Amazon. So I was pretty stoked when I found this 12 piece full-sized bottle polish set from China Glaze (great quality). The colors are a surprise, but at approximately $3 a pop, it’s hard to complain. Would make an awesome addition to any stocking or teacher gift!

I get a lot of traffic on my “How I Style My Curly Hair” posts, but I really should do an updated post now that I’ve switched to “no-poo” (I know…sounds gross) products from DevaCurl. I can honestly say that the experiment (I’ve been using them for about 5 months) is going well and that I can see an improvement in the shape of my curl + texture (much softer). But! The real kicker is how long I can go between washes. I’ve never been a frequent hair-washer, but to be able to go 8 days with nary a greasy strand is LEGIT.

Anyhoo, if you’ve got a curly girl in your life, you might consider this DevaCurl starter kit. Great reviews, plus it comes in cute little bottles that are perfectly gift-sized.

I love these posters from Cavallini. I have several framed throughout my house for high-impact, low-budget art. The funny part? They’re actually pieces of wrapping paper (although I doubt anyone uses them for that). P.S. Ikea has a simple, inexpensive white frame that fits their dimensions perfectly. These would make a great gift for an art-lover in your life.

Had to include this because I’m a Texan, and, well, it’s cute!

Man, do I love me a good (and pretty) woven storage basket. I have various sizes and styles in corners around my house for easy toy clean-up or to store extra blankets/throw pillows. (They also make stylish containers for house plants).

Over the years, I have slowly amassed a small collection (probably 6) of cake stands. And they come in surprisingly handy–at parties or dinners or to hold decor when you need to vary the height of a display. This one would be awfully cute layered with mini-cupcakes at a little girls’ party.

Again with the rose gold. Apparently, I have a thing. As I always say, if it can be pretty and functional, ALLLLL the better!

And then, there’s this cute pie server set (which is another thing I’m always grateful to hvae at leasst one of, even though it might seem like something that wouldn’t get used often).

Here’s the big sister version of the mini latte bowls that I posted in the under $15 guide. Love the ombre pink and white!

I mentioned in the last guide that I was having trouble finding mugs I really loved this year. But I’m digging the bright, funky floral vibe of these. Plus! Since there are three, you can always split them up among friends!

Again with the floral cups, but I’ve found that something my girls love to do is have impromptu tea parties. Even if all they have is PB&J’s cut into squares plus a cup of milk, they get so excited to use my fancy china. Which I get because I like to drink out of pretty things too.

Cute, quirky cutting boards are my favorite. I currently have a rabbit-shaped one + a hedge hog version in my kitchen. But I think my favorite combo ever might be marble + gold + lettering. In which case…tada!

Oh! And this Christmas tree version is super fun too!

Another classic and classy addition to anyone’s kitchen: these gorgeous copper canisters. Endless uses and just the right touch of bling.

I don’t remember how I stumbled on the R. Vivimos brand on Amazon, but they’ve got some pretty great (and comparatively affordable) alternatives to popular Free People pieces. The focus is on flowy, boho, embroidery (which I love), and I’ve bought at least two items that were well worth the $20 I spent.

I get lots of questions about these cute, slouchy overalls when I wear them on Instagram. I have them in both blue and black, and they work great for maternity and beyond. Sadly, when I bought them, there were less than $20, and it looks like they’ve jumped $10 for most size/color options. Still a cute alternative to jeans when you’re not feeling the love for a waistband.

And this floral sweatshirt is just adorable. Not to mention reasonably priced and well-reviewed! Several designs available.

These floral p.j. pants get great reviews for comfort, durability, and style and come in so many color/pattern combos.

If you’re tired of the sweatshirt look or know someone who likes a little quirk with their outerwear, maybe try this pom pom poncho. Excellent reviews + multiple color options!

As much as I love embroidery and florals, I love simple pieces with little details just as much. Two words: elbow patches.

Whereas the elbow patches were a subtle touch, the leopard print on this cardigan is not so much. But it’s still fun and trendy (and comfy!) for not much money.

The next several options would be great for the fitness girl in your life. I have this armband for my phone, and–while I’m not doing much running these days #hellobelly–it sure comes in handy when I do go for a run or walk. Honestly, it’s nice to have available if I’m doing projects or chores while listening to an audio book too.

I also have this muscle tee and am a fan of the quality/softness of the fabric.

Ditto for these compression leggings of which I own two pair. They’re not see-through at ALL and hold everything in and provide true compression (aka: varicose vein relief, in my case) better than many pricier name brands.

After doing all of that exercise in your cute new gear, chances are you’ll need to hydrate. Why not do it stylishly with this pretty stainless steel thermos (more colors available).

There’s a variety of prices listed for particular sizes/designs of these Joules ankle high rain boots, but most are under $50 (my fave are the bees).

I ordered these because I wanted something stylish, close-toed, and comfy to wear during the winter (and was seriously lacking in the goes-with-most things casual shoe department). I haven’t gotten them yet, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed I won’t have to utilize the free return option.

Another fun tennis shoe option is this retro style New Balance sneaker. I just ordered these subtle neutral + gold accents with some Amazon gift cards and got them yesterday. I haven’t had a chance to take them for a full spin, but they seem well made, cushy after a quick test drive around my bedroom. Definitely my usual 1/2 size up for tennis shoes, and they would have been too short if I hadn’t. There are lots of other fun color combos, and most are right around $50, which, while not cheap, is actually pretty reasonable for New Balance (I saw some similar ones the other day at Marshall’s, and they were $49.99).

I love meaningful jewelry. And not just the kind with your kids’ initials or birthstones in it. I like it when my jewelry says something. Literally. Which is why I think these “inspirational” bracelets would make a fabulously encouraging gift for someone special in your life.

This watch may not say anything deeper than: I like pretty + functional. But…maybe that’s enough? (Love the scalloped edges of the leather band).

In other jewelry news, I think that quirky is always a good thing. Cue: this gold honeybee necklace. I mean.

Stylish bags are also always fun to get and gift. Like this embroidered wristlet.

Or this clutch option.

OR this (genuine) leather fringe ditty with a crossbody strap.

The bold florals of this backpack are fun, and so is the fact that it comes with a matching pouch.

And then there’s this toiletry bag option in a classic stripe + leather look.

And if stripes are your thing…well, you might as well go for this preppy weekender bag, which combines style, durability, and function. Woot!

I don’t actually own one of these cute cross body saddle bags because they just aren’t super practical for a mama who’s pretty much always toting a big bag full of all. the. things. (see striped bag above for that category). But this one sure is sweet (real leather!).

This one too, which, I’m not going to lie, is my fave.

This chunky knit pom pom blanket sure is cozy and stylish–with great reviews for only $20! And there are only a few left in stock. Run, don’t walk! (That rhymed).

Speaking of cozy, these Minnetonka (I’ve heard great things about the brand) slippers are cute and crafted from genuine leather. And! They’re supposed to be super comfy (plus, they come in tons of colors).

These Capri Blue candles (famously sold at Anthropologie) are sooooo yummy-smelling…if a bit (okay, a lot) on the pricey side. $25 is about as cheap you’re going to find them, though, for the real deal.

Are you a fan of Call the Midwife? Know someone else who might be? Then, a season (or two) of this engrossing show might be just the ticket for a movie-lover in your life.

If you recall those calligraphy pens that I recommended in the under $15 guide, then you’ll understand why I think this would be the perfect complement. I have this book and have been fun working on my lettering craft. I find it informative and easy-to-use.

A friend turned me on to the idea of these snazzy inverted umbrellas (when you close them, rather than getting a cascade of water down your arm, it flips the other direction, sending the water away). They have great reviews for function and form, which is always a plus!

And there you have it! I could honestly keep going and going. But I’m hustling to finish up a book guide and a kids’ guide for you, so I’d better cap it here. As always, be sure to check out previous gift guides in the price range (or scroll back for the under $15 + Men’s guide) if you need more ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Ultimate Amazon Gift Guide for MEN (2018)

Question for the ages: Why, oh WHY, are men so hard to buy for?

Answer: 1. Because if they want it, they go ahead and get it for themselves without ever dropping any hints or creating an Amazon wish list or ANYTHING, and 2. Because most don’t like clothes and jewelry (unlike we easy-to-please, shallow women). 3. Because they like tools. Specific tools. Like with exact serial numbers and stuff (ask me how I know). Grrr….

Now, that I’ve demystified that for us all (thanks, Abbie), I’m here to tell you that, difficult to buy for though they may be, men are not impossible to find the perfect gift for.

gift guide for me

In FACT, I (think I) managed to score the perfect gift for Shaun this year without his having a clue that I remembered his mentioning it. Woot!

That gift is not listed below (because, somehow I doubt that most of your males-in-need-of-gifts want an inversion table), but I’ve got you set with lots of great, practical, fool-proof options–many of which I’ve gifted Shaun over the years and which are still in use!

I hope at least a few of these strike the right chord for the men in your lives.

I’ve been wanting to listen to this highly lauded historical account of a crew rowing team who raced for gold in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and challenged much more than a speed record at the time (think Hitler controlled Germany and all that that entails). I haven’t found the time yet, but the more I read about it, the more I think I will love it, especially since it’s often been compared to Unbroken, which I found mesmerizing (and would highly recommend if your man hasn’t read it). And if I’m intrigued by the topic, I guarantee plenty of men will be too.

This camping mug is manly, stylish, and sturdy. Need I say more?

Ditto for this metal thermos, which has a great reviews and a strong, standout logo.

And then there’s this Bush Craft book, which has 1,500 4 1/2+ star reviews. Apparently, it teaches you everything you need to survive in the wild. Manly, much?

Shaun travels a fair bit for work, so he was thrilled when I replaced his worn out mesh toiletry bag with a sturdy leather one for Christmas one year.

This one is a bit different than the one I bought, but it would definitely do the trick.

I’m loving the concept of this leather mouse pad, both for its sleek minimalist good looks, and for the padded wrist-rest.

I have become a bit of tennis shoe snob. I strongly suspect that I suffered a stress fracture in my right foot when I was pregnant with the twins, and I blame it on a tendency to be cheap with my workout footwear. Ever since, I’ve been willing to “splurge” a little on workout shoes, which totally makes sense for me since I’m a fitness instructor and they are part of what makes me able to do my job well (not to mention a tax write-off). In my mission to find the cushiest, best shoe, I discovered Brooks…and have never looked back. Now, Shaun is not a big exerciser, but he still appreciates a comfortable shoe. So, when I bought him his first set of Brooks for his birthday last year, I was a bit gratified at his expression of disbelieving ecstasy. “They really ARE better!” he said. “It’s like walking on CLOUDS,” he said. And I just smirked.

P.S. Lots of size/color/price options here, but $75 is about as low as most styles ever go, so this particular shoe is a bargain.

With a husband who builds houses, good work gloves are a must. And this leather pair has great reviews for comfort and durability.

Got a retro kind of guy in your life? Then this handsome Crosley record player just might be the thing. I’ve tried to justify buying this for Shaun in my head, but I know it would actually be for me.

One thing Shaun is never without? A quality set of noise-canceling earbuds. If he’s working on a project or mowing the lawn, he always has an audio book book in his ears. Chances are, you’ve got a guy in your life who could use these.

Okay, this one’s a long shot, since everybody’s tastes in scent are different. But I bought this for Shaun over 15 years ago, and it’s all he’s worn since. It has such a warm, spicy-without-being-overpowering fragrance that I think would work well for lots of folks. He doesn’t wear it every day, but he knows I’m guaranteed to notice (and give him extra snuggles) every time he does. Come to think of it, why doesn’t he wear it every day??! (Funny story: when one of his bottles ran out, I found a bottle for cheap at Marshall’s without realizing it was the exact same thing that he had always worn and bought it, thinking that it seemed familiar. Turns out, I know what I like because it really was the exact same thing).

Another of Shaun’s favorite gifts he’s gotten from me are these Reef Smoothy flip-flops. I had a pair myself years ago (not sure why I never replaced them because they were great), so I can testify to how cushy and smooth the foot bed is.

These Reef Leather Smoothy’s have the same comfort level with a more stylish twist. (And, yes, Shaun owns these too).

I just bought this book at Marshall’s the other day. It’s basically a guide to cool, hidden finds in various locales around the world and makes for a fascinating read (from what I’ve seen so far). Would be great for a traveling man in your life.

Last year, I recommended Foyle’s War as a manly period drama/series, and this year, I’m throwing Endeavour out there in case you’ve got a mystery-loving man in your life. It’s not as clean, content-wise (most episodes are, but some have more “sensual themes,” even though this is not a show with anything explicit like nudity or sex scenes). On the whole, though, the entire series is smart, moody, well-acted, and engaging. When I asked Shaun which of our favorite British crime drama series (they’re pretty much the only thing we watch) he would recommend after Foyle’s War, he said this one, so I’m going with it.

It sure isn’t an alluring gift, but I will say that Shaun has used the tar (maybe not the right word choice for this particular gift) out of the electric toothbrush I bought him a couple of years ago.  His is a Philips Sonicare, but this cheaper option still has great reviews.

This Under Armour Fleece Sweatshirt is a pretty decent price for a high quality, brand name athletic sweatshirt with awesome reviews. Just saying.

Anybody else have men in their lives who insist on wearing “show” socks with shoes that they shouldn’t? Then, these no-show versions would make a great not-so-subtle hint of a stocking-stuffer.

Is there anything better than cozy flannel pants? Fine. I know the answer is yes. But they’re still pretty great, right? These have good reviews and come in a variety of patterns.

And while you’re outfitting him with comfy sweatshirts and pants, you might as well give him something soft to put on his feet too.

It wouldn’t be a gift guide for men without a good multi-tool option. I’ve gifted Shaun with various versions of these over the last 15 years, and he has always used them a ton and been excited to explore their various gadgets and gizmos.

I am so tempted to get this jacket for Shaun, even though he already has a real leather version he wears often. The reviews say the “leather” is well-made and authentic-looking and the fit is excellent (if anything, it runs a tad small, so size up if in doubt).

This canvas + leather duffle has tons of compartments and great reviews for style/durability. Plus! An optional long strap for different carry options.

I bought Shaun this “bib” last Christmas, and he faithfully uses it each time he trims his beard. It’s nothing so very fancy, but it certainly helps with clean-up after and stores easily.

And with what does Shaun trim this beard of his while wearing a bib? ;) Something very similar to this puppy. Which! Comes with a boatload of options for trimmer lengths.

Got a guy who loves to hit the gym? Or swim? This bag has great reviews for durability and the inclusion of both a shoe compartment and a wet bag for sweaty clothes or damp swimsuits.

I don’t love most baseball caps, but this one has a stylish vibe while still maintaining its man card status.

And there you have it! As always, be sure to check out last year’s guide, which still has tons of great, available options!

 

 

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