By QuickieChick Laurel House
Holiday gift giving
I sifted through literally thousands of gift ideas and found the ones that I would actually give (and even love to receive). From someone you hardly know to the love of your life, I've got you covered...
HAPPINESS DELIVERED (and great LAST MINUTE Gifts)
Soft Serve at your Doorstep
Chloe's Soft ServeIf you or anyone you know has a sweet tooth BUT trying to avoid fat... this is the perfect present. Really, it's the perfect present for anyone who has a sweet tooth- fat averse or not (like fans Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Biel, Mario Batali). Chloe's Soft Serve Fruit, made with just fruit, water and a touch of cane sugar (translation: fat free, vegan, nothing fake about it), is truly the no guilt alternative to fro-yo. The stores are in NY, but they ship their soft serve pints and vegan pies too all over the country. I am over the moon for dark chocolate (yes, cacao is a fruit).
Your Own Pop-Up Restaurant... At Home
Cod ProvencalNot into cooking? No problem! A chef will overnight your gourmet meal in clean frozen packaging including easy directions on how to reheat and assemble the dish. Pop Up Pantry is the latest in pop-up restaurants, but these are popping up in your home! Celebrity chefs have created 3-course gourmet meals- like Cod Provencal with Zucchini Fondue, which comes with Sweet Pea Arancini and Peach Tiramisu for dessert or Wild Boar Ragu with Truffled Polenta, which comes with Asparagus Salad With Crispy Pancetta and Vanilla Lavender Pound Cake (for half the price of takeout). You can even pretend that you made it... after all you DID reheat and plate it!
Not Another Bill
Fruit, Nuts, and Jams... That's What Life is ABOUT!
FRUITguys Organic seasonal fruit, roasted and candied nuts, flavor bomb jams... life doesn't get much sweeter. Have these packages delivered to your sweetie, friend, mom, or yourself so you can stop stressing about no getting to farmer's market on time (if at all), and you can start enjoying how easy and delicious healthy food can be. LOVE The FruitGuys!
FOR THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE
Your Love Story
Poetry SalonCrying is a normal response. That's according to the founder of Poetry Salon who says that she knows they've done a good job when their clients cry. When I got mine I laughed, I cried, I got goose bumps. Poetry Salon takes your love story (or whatever story you want to tell their team of professional writers) and turns it into a poem. Once you approve the poem, you choose how you want to present it: on special handmade paper, framed, folded into a matchbox, rolled into a tape dispenser, or in a champagne cork (which is what I did), or any other way that you want. This is about you… and him. It's probably the best gift I have ever (or rather will ever) give… and this is coming from a writer. Truly, there is a magic to Poetry Salon that most presents simply are unable to possess. The poems are the extraction of the essence, the breath, the life force of your love. All you have to do is have a phone call with one of their team, answer 10 set questions, maybe do a follow-up email to give a few more needed details, then your poem is assigned to the writer who will best express your heart, your energy, your love. Give this gift. You will not regret it.
Dinner or Breakfast in Bed (or how about an entire day in bed?)!
Celebrity TraysSometimes a simple gift just isn't enough. Make your present even more special by adding an experience. For example: You can give a tomato plant and a note that says "I'm making you dinner," or this limited-edition, celebrity-designed serving tray from Joss & Main and a note that reads "Breakfast in Bed… my treat!" Courteney Cox, Orlando Bloom, Zoe Saldana and Bridget Moynahan have each personally designed trays that benefit the Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation (EBMRF).
Jimmy JaneLooking for a little extra excitement in the bedroom? Change up your routine with these:
Jimmy Jane FORM vibes are discreet, even, dare I say "stylish," bath-friendly, and VERY powerful to the touch. Prepare for your intimate experiences to be transformed… for good (because once you try FORM, it's hard to go back to the norm).
Dejamor helps bring back the romance with expertly curated experience kits- one for him and one for her, delivered to your door! Get a monthly subscription for ongoing excitement.
Mug on a Mug
philoSophiesCustom gifts are often favorites. But only if they are well done. Forget the photo mug or musical frame and instead have a PhiloSophies artist illustrate a super flattering, totally fun image of your friend or loved one and put THAT on a mug or on personalized stationary. Fact is: people love things that are about them. Make this gift all about them, but having someone else create it for you. It's probably the easiest, most hands off (your hands off), thoughtful gift you can get.
Homemade Dog TreatsYou know that gigantic smile that comes over a dog's face from the mere utterance of the word "cookie" or "treat?" That smile is even bigger when the treats are delicious! You can elicit that smile again and again with a waffle maker-style dog treat maker! Create your own organic, vegetarian, peanut butter, frosted… whatever you want treats- the same kinds you buy at specialty pet boutiques for several dollars each! Recipes are included.
Not into DIY? Give a few bags of packaged Zuke's all-natural Pet Performance superfood treats that you know are the highest quality and will provide instant gratification the moment the bag is ripped open (my dog does jumping circles when I open the bags of these delicious treats). They are also awesome stocking stuffers.
FOR THE SUPER FOODIE
Holiday gift giving
Tiny Hands CupcakeI love cupcakes. I love the taste, look, smell, even the symbol of them (little, single serving size of happiness). In fact, it's safe to say that I'm obsessed. But I'm not the only one. Considering how popular cupcake bakeries are these days, there are clearly loads of other lovers out there. Your BFF might be one of them. Not so much? How about pancakes, waffles, pumpkin pie, or cookies? Whatever your friend's sweet pleasure may be, it no longer has to be an occasional indulgence. She can now salivate over the scent all day with these most adorable and no-joke amazingly scented Tiny Hands necklaces that look and smell JUST like the real thing.
The New "Counter Culture"
Bella Slow CookerSure there's something nostalgic about having your grandma's old crock pot on the counter. But nostalgia only goes so far. The newest "it" counter item is BELLA Dots brightly hued slow cookers that are infusing new life into old memories.
Nespresso UThe French Press is pretty, but Nespresso is stylish and produces some of the richest, most delicious coffee with seriously just the press of a button. No cleaning. No mess. For people who drink a lot of coffee- I mean a lot, this is their dream come true. Similar to wine, coffee beans grown in different regions have distinct flavor notes and characteristics, Nespresso features 16 types- pretty much guaranteeing that whatever your palette preferences are, they will be satisfied.
FOR THE DINNER PARTY DIVA
Holiday gift giving
That Personal "Something" at the Party
Chalkboard PlacematsChalkboard Placemats with orange, yellow, blue and green chalk are perfect for kids and, better yet, for doodling adults. It's also an easy way to assign seats- just write their name on the mat.
Like Having a Picnic at Ascot
OverstockCheese trays have officially been glammed with this all-in-one cutting board, hors d'oeuvres bowl, and magnetized cheese knives. You'll want to throw a cocktail party just to celebrate!
A True Restaurant Insider's View
Come in, We're ClosedTrue foodies may have heard of "staff meal." That's the food that is served up to employees, generally family style. So what do the people who are making your dinner eat? Come In, We're Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World's Best Restaurants makes you feel like a real insider with a sneak peek inside the kitchen that the average diner never gets.
FOR THE "GET FIT" TYPE
Holiday gift giving
Don't Huff It. Hoop It!
Huffing it is so yesterday. Hooping is becoming the exercise of choice for everyone from hipsters to boomers all looking to make their workouts do more in less time and actually enjoy it. Though still rooted in whimsy, hoopsters have reinvented the fun after school activity, transforming it into an adult exercise tool that is seriously effective when it comes to toning muscles and shedding fat. To seriously target your stomach, trimming your sides and making the burn more intense, add weight to your hoop with the Empower Fitness 3-pound weighted hoop.
The Ultimate Fitness Tracker
Fit BitEvery breath you take, every move you make, even every loud snore that jolts you awake, the Fit Bit will be tracking you. As you go about your day, the memory stick-sized monitor tracks your steps, distance, calories burned, and stairs climbed. As you sleep, it tracks your sleep cycle. Then it wakes you in the morning. The data collected automatically sync with your computer and selected smartphones where free graphs, charts and tools are created so you can manage and improve your life cycles.
New Mom? Get Your Body Back
Body Back Finding the time, energy, and motivation to get your pre-baby body back and feel like a woman again when you have a toddler requiring your attention, you hardly slept last night, you have endless errands to run can be the last thing on your mind. Body Back will provide you with the plan so that you truly can be the "do-everything woman" that everyone expects you to be… and feel and look fabulous while you're at it!
FOR THE UBER-STYLISH
Holiday gift giving
Because She Would NEVER Wear a Holiday Sweater
Snowflake Glass RingInspired by the Game of Thrones episode Winter is Coming, this glass snowflake ring is the one permissible piece that says holiday that your stylish friend will actually wear… no, she will actually flaunt it because it's fabulous!
So Much Better Than A Bouquet
Olive and Cocoa VaseA bouquet in a vase is nice. But a bouquet in 10 vases is great! In fact, forget the bouquet and just give the vases! I'm personally obsessed with this statement-making serpentine centerpiece that instantly dresses any area up, or simply give life to a windowsill. A great idea: fill each vase with a sprig of your friend's favorite fresh-cut spice from the garden or even just interesting stems of leaves. It's like bringing the garden in.
Lamps PlusSome believe that style is inherent. Others believe it can be learned. If you know someone who's full of it or needs a serious dose, this is the perfect gift. Not to worry, it's not an intrusion. It's an infusion of style. Get the Possini Euro Design White Flower Acrylic Shade Table Lamp at Lamps Plus.
A Chick's Essential Cheat Sheet
Does your friend have the 3G's (gumption, grace, and guidance)? Is she a trendsetter, path-paver, risk-taker? Or does she want to be more like that? Whether you need tips on how to lose weight, make the most of your workouts, look fabulous on a budget, manage your money, finally have a great date and get the guy… QuickieChick's Cheat Sheet is the manual filled with instant gratification solutions to all things that women need right NOW. Yes... I wrote it.
THE Most Comfortable Designer Footwear
Viviene Tam SlippersJust because they are comforting doesn't mean that slippers have to be cutesy. Add some flare to your feet even when at home with these custom designed Vivienne Tam slippers made of soft terry cloth, plush cushioning at the toe and a textured sole.
Perfect for the Stylish Bookworm
Alice in WonderlandLove Shakespeare, Kafka, Jane Austen, Mark Twain? Pretty much memorized Don Quixote, Alice in Wonderland or Little Red Riding Hood? If you're such the aficionado, show it off on your wall with Affichionado's wordy prints that extract the essence of your favorite works.
Paulette PeacoatHeading to the snow (or living in it) doesn't mean you have to get decked out in staypuff marshmallow style gear that does absolutely nothing for your shape and is completely devoid of style. The North Face will keep you warm and still smokin' hot in this for-chicks knee-length, empire waist, fitted, quilted, down-filled Paulette Peacoat.
Sassy and Seductive
True Blood Forsaken ScentSome, okay many women are serious addicts when it comes to perfume. They must try them all, be in the know of the newest, and be familiar with how it smells on her skin- which will be different from how it smells on your skin (perfume is finicky like that). Here are two new one that evoke very different, but both fantastic, experiences:
True Blood Forsaken Perfume, inspired by the world of *True Blood* is a dark, seductive, and spellbinding carnal blend of Night Blooming Jasmine, Sheer Violet, and Black Plum. It closes with the mysterious finish of Ebony Wood, Amber Crystals, Patchouli and Vanilla.
Very Sassy perfume by mark is modern and fruity with hints of musk and notes of white moss and fruitwood, inspired by a lush mix of exotic black currant berries and warm peach skin.
FOR THE MANLY MAN
Holiday gift giving
Bluegrass BarrelsBig into small batch infused or aged bourbons? Make your own with Bluegrass Barrels one, two and three liter American white oak barrels- the same as barrels used by the world's top bourbon producers. Each barrel has been charred at a medium level, giving it its color and flavor. It's up to you to choose the herbs and spices that you want to infuse it with. Personalize it with a laser engraved monogram or message.
BarenjagerPair the barrel with a bottle of the newly introduced Bärenjäger Honey & Bourbon for some immediate gratification while you wait for your own batch to age. Made with premium honey liqueur and Kentucky bourbon whiskey, this perfectly balanced sweet bourbon is a perfect gift for your honey.
A Gentle Nudge to Shave the Stache
Remington ShaverRemington Black Diamond Shaver will make your man feel like one. Because the technologically advanced heads are 4X smoother and 5X harder than stainless steel, you won't have to worry about his " scruff leaving makes on your skin anymore.
GEEKS & TECH FREAKS
Holiday gift giving
You've Got The Beat
Beats by DreI predict that boom boxes are coming back. No, not the gigantic, heavy accessories that guys carried on their shoulder in the 80s, but sleek, light, super-techie, take-anywhere music systems. Just like some people are Mac addicts and others prefer PC, depending on your preference, these are two of my faves to choose from:
Beats Pill also has the Bluetooth connectivity to your smartphone or computer so that you can hook up your music, skip to the next track, and take calls without missing a beat. The Beats Audio sound system is big on bass, but still about the size of your hand so you can take it anywhere, even going old school and strapping it to the handle bars of your bike. Awesome.
LogitechThe Logitech UE™ Mobile Boombox with a Bluetooth speaker that connects with your smartphone, can pause music, answer calls, double as a speakerphone, then seamlessly go back to the music when you hang up is pretty awesome. If you drive a vintage (or just older) car, place the palm-size boombox on the dash and you've got your Bluetooth phone system set up- no more illegal handheld cell phone calls while on the road!
You're So ObtuseMathlete in your life? Let him show his geometry obsession with the "You're So Obtuse" shirt from Ex-Boyfriend Collection. It's one of those T's that people will stop and actually read. You might even notice those "I'm a geek too" secret eye contact and head nods between you're guy and others who are part of the secret match society.
Funky SocksGeeky is officially great thanks to deGrays of London striped, and Argoz argyle bright, funky, statement making socks. Though they're considered the perfect gift for "exceptional men," you'll likely be tempted to adopt these socks as they somehow find themselves hiding on your feet. May as well buy enough sets for you too.
Over and Out
Watch WalkiesPretty much anything from The International Spy Museum will be on your geeky guy's wish list. If the 2-Way Radio Walkie Talkie Wrist Watch isn't, that's because he doesn't know about it… yet. The lightweight, compact watch features 22 channels + scan capability, operating range up to 1.5 miles, frequency range 462MHz, 467MHz, and 0.35 output power. It's a must. Over-and-Out!
The Dark Knight Rises on Blu-Ray
Dark Knight RisesWhat more can you say? It's iconic, it was just released, and it's what people who have blu-ray want to add to their collection.
SleepingHealthy pillows are the new trend in sleep. Depending on what you're looking for, seems these pillow can pretty much solve any sleep (and that's just for starters) issue.
Technogel Italian-designed, super luxurious pillows and mattresses have been scientifically created to cool, restore and finally soothe you into a good night sleep. Beyond the at-home sleep experience, the travel pillow is perfect for those who are always on the go and never know what type of pillow they will be laying their head on. Pack one of the mini technogel pillows in your bag and you will always have at least some comfort of home in every hotel.
Om Herb Pillows take ancient Chinese healing medicinal and let them seep into your sleep with specifically formulated herbal "inserts" that go to work to treat various health concerns like insomnia, neck stiffness, migraines, and even boost sex drive.
FOR THE HOSTESS
Holiday gift giving
A GOOD Gift
Native Trails TilesYou don't have to be a do-gooder to gift these gorgeous Native Trails' Pure Talavera hand painted ceramic tiles/coasters/trivets that are handmade by artisans. But you will be. 100% of the proceeds from the sale are donated to my personal favorite charity called KIVA- an organization which helps provide micro-loans for people with little access to banking systems. It's not just a good deed, it's a good gift.
This Charming Candy
Spiced LollipopsFoodies often, but not always, also seriously appreciate sweets. Particularly when done well. These sophisticated hard candy lollipops appeal to foodie palates thanks to their nuanced flavors that feel a bit like a Willy Wonka experience. A perfect hostess gift are the sweet and spiced flavors like Salted Caramel, Vanilla Cardamom, Strawberry Basil, Tangerine Clove and Nutmeg Crème.
Olive OilHostess' rarely even realize when you bring wine as a gift to their party. In fact, it's often placed on the alcohol table and guzzled up without any acknowledgement of its greatness. Like wine, olive oil is another life necessity, but a good bottle of this will be savored for significantly longer. But don't just stop at the grocery store on your way. Bring a bottle that shows you put some thought into it, something that has been crafted to extract the nuances like notes of tomato leaf and apricot, grass and pepper, artichoke, or strawberries. Get olive oil from Fig & Olive
Personal and Posh
Peacock PlatterMaking fantastic food for your soiree is only half the battle. The rest is the décor, and not to mention the plate that the food is placed on- think about it: the buffet style items are so delicious that they are immediately gobbled up. And then what? You are left with an ugly plate underneath. Not anymore. This Peacock serving platter is the perfect piece to lay your lovely food on. And when not in use at the party, it's a great display item! Give it to your favorite hostess with some homemade cookies for a personal and posh gift!
Green TeaInspired by wine, these Vintage Works Teas pick up the flavor profiles of Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, without the buzz. Plus each tea has pairing suggestions so that you can get the most out of the delicate flavors.
Bringing Luxury Home
candlesCandles can transform a room, transporting you to an island, a spa, or in the case of Baroness von Neumann's Era collection- to luxury. I love "Antoinette," the scent of hibiscus white tea, sweet nectar, currant and lilies. Paradise is found.
FOR THE ALWAYS PREPARED
Holiday gift giving
The Everyone-Must-Have Survival Kit
SOLNo matter where he finds himself, he won't be SOL (S**t Outta Luck) with this SOL (Survive Outdoors Longer) Origin Survival Kit. This is the ultimate mini kit for survivalists (and those who pretend to be). You've got a Knife, Light, Whistle, Fire Sparker, an emergency fishing kit, Signal Mirror 60 informative survival tips all crammed into a 6 oz waterproof box. This kit is legit. You're always prepared when you expect the unexpected. SOL Origin Survival Kit from Cool Material (which is also one of the most awesome websites out there for guys).
All-In-One Everyday Life Survival Tool
Tailgater GearThe Game Day Tailgater 6-in-1 has everything a guy needs for tailgating. More than for football fans, it's perfect for camping or your emergency kit, supplying all of the essential musts to keep you fed and drunk (except the food and alcohol themselves): Knife, Fork, Spoon, Flashlight, Can/Bottle Opener, Corkscrew. It's the ultimate men's survival tool for everyday life.
Just Because He's Cool
Mesograf PenYou know that guy who always likes to appear ahead of the game, without advertising it? He likes cool gadgets (even if they aren't super useful), appreciates craftsmanship, and is filled with useless information. If you need to get that guy a gift, this Messograf Pen is for you (for you to give to him). It's a metal refillable ballpoint pen. And it's also a ruler, calipers, tread gauge, and thread scale. And if you don't know what those are or do. That's ok. He will. Or at least he will pretend he does which is cool too.
RoadIDThe FIXX ID from Road ID is a simple but essential concept and a must for athletes and adventurers. The idea is this: IF something happens to you and you can't give life-saving information (like your name, blood type, medication needs, emergency contacts, dog's name- in case you hike with your dog, etc…) the tag speaks for you. Wear it as a bracelet, a dog tag, an ankle bracelet, or strapped on your pack or sneakers.
Little Girl's Sleepover Essential
Pillow PurseThe DIYVA Pillow Purse is perfect for a girl's sleepover. Sure she might have to sleep in a sleeping bag, or even just on the floor with a few blankets (remember when we were satisfied with so little?) but she will have her uber-cute pink pillow bag. Fill it with her overnight necessities- toothbrush/paste, PJs, retainer, etc… then when emptied it transforms to a little bit of comfort.
FOR THE STOCKINGS
Holiday gift giving
Santa Baby ChocolatesYou can't deny it- "Santa Baby" is one of your favorite holiday songs. Now it's so much more than merely music to your ears. LOVE the full Santa Baby-inspired Gift Collection including the Musical Box of Chocolates, Santa Baby Apron trimmed with detachable white feathers, embroidered with the words "Santa Baby, Hurry Down the Chimney Tonight!", gift cards, and even a Musical Christmas Stocking.
A Year of Fortunes
A Year of FortunesWhat's the best part of the fortune cookie? The fortune! Now you can save the calories and get to the good stuff everyday with 365 wise paper prophecies printed on perforated, authentically sized slips-perfect for tearing, sharing, or posting on your fridge.
TOASTED - A Guide to Raising Your Glass
ToastedForget hoity toity etiquette books on the appropriate way to toast. "Toasted" gives it to you straight, fun and real when it comes to toasting everything from anniversaries to "let's just drink to something!"
Laurel HouseLaurel House is a healthy lifestyle author, personal trainer, and nationally recognized print and online magazine writer covering travel, relationships, healthy food and fitness (Women's Health, First for Women, Men's Journal, Yahoo! Shine, Elegant Bride, Fit, Spa, Fit Yoga, Playboy, Elite Traveler, etc). Beyond writing, Laurel has appeared as a expert on television morning shows including E! News, Weekend TODAY, The Daily Buzz, Better.TV, KTLA Morning News, CBS, Fox, NBC, and ABC Morning News shows both locally and nationally, and her YouTube videos have received over 9 million views. Her 4th book "QuickieChick's Cheat Sheet to Life, Love, Food, Fitness, Fashion and Finance on a Less than Fabulous Budget" (St. Martin's, May 2012).