My Christmas List

This isn’t a gift guide in the sense that I am buying these for others, this is PURE ME.

Confession: I keep an ongoing wish list throughout the year, mostly to remember what I am into at the moment, sometimes to keep an eye out for deals and occasionally to share with others.

While the list includes the unrealistic (“Giant diamond ring” has been #1 for five years running), there are also the cool things I find along the way.

Here’s what’s on tap:

Image via Amazon

I *love* Cindy Sherman’s self portraits. A few years ago there was an exhaustive show of her work at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and I spent hours immersed in her world. This new book is the #1 item on my Wish List.

Ok, I am also going to post about this tomorrow, but Santa came a bit early for me on this Patagonia Women’s Better Sweater. More thoughts coming, but suffice it to say this jacket – while not new by any means – seems to be having a renaissance in popularity. Include me on the fan list.

Image via Nordstrom.

Ok, here’s another item to file in the To-Me-From-Me category: These fluffy Ugg slippers. If I’m at home, I am always, always wearing slippers. Embarrassing but true: my second toes are longer than my big toes (this is called a Morton’s toe in medical terms), and the lifetime net result has been that I have broken my second toes over 4 times (!!!!) via a combination of running-related stress fractures or painful stubbing incidents. I’ve learned that slippers with some frontal barrier are enough to usually keep me out of trouble. These fit the bill.

Image via Jo Malone

It’s hard to pick a favorite Jo Malone fragrance, but there are a few that rise to the top for me. This isn’t one! However, I am well-stocked on my #1 winter scent (Pomegranate Noir, spicy and delicious for cold weather; FWIW, my overall top choice is Nectarine and Honey Blossom), and this one is a great alternative to round out a winter fragrance wardrobe. Did you know you needed a winter fragrance wardrobe? You do.

Image via Lululemon

Another future post coming, but 2019 was the year I went nuts buying Lululemon, a brand that previously did not appeal. What changed? I am not sure, but I went down a huge rabbit hole snapping up their running shorts, convertible Vinyasa scarves and workout jackets. This On The Go Poncho is slightly elevated from their usual fare. I want it.

Image via Lululemon

I promise to stop with Lululemon after this, but these gloves are So. Good. They are thin but do the trick to keep my hands warm enough from the time I get into my chilly car at the end of the day to when it warms up. Plus, they are thin enough to easily allow me to pick up my travel mug and sip coffee – an unusual requirement, but a requirement nonetheless.

Image via Crate and Barrel

This is the most needed, least exciting item on my Holiday List: new baking sheets. While we’re at it, pizza pans should also make the list. Despite how much I hate domestic chores, I frequently roast veggies of all varieties and heat more pizza than I care to admit. The grungy pans we have now could use an upgrade.

Image via Amazon

Described as the “Oracle with Attitude,” this deck of cards is meant to be a fun way to answer questions Magic Eight Ball-style, but with edge.

100% self-explanatory.

Fun Christmas Ideas

I absolutely *love* to give gifts, so Christmas shopping is one of the highlights of my year.

Carefully selecting the right gift for the right person, scoring a killer deal whenever possible and even wrapping are all part of the fun.

Here are some of the things I have my eye on this year:

For kids:

  • Science kits are a high priority item. Mindware  has several options that appeal to all kinds of kids, but my favorite was this Lip Balm Lab.

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There are also Perfume, Slime, Soap and Volcano labs available. Most of these are for kids 10 and up.

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  • A game the whole family can play. I already mentioned this in my Thanksgiving recap post, but a favorite new find (via my friend A.) is Not Parent Approved, a family-friendlier version of Cards Against Humanity.

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For college-aged young adults:

  • Home Tees. These would be particularly good for homesick college students.

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  • Snacks. Last year I stocked up one nephew’s dorm room with Costco-sized versions of trail mix, Twizzlers, M&Ms, animal crackers, popcorn and other assorted junk foods that would be uniquely appreciated at 3 A.M. An excessive snack supply also seems like a good way to quickly turn your room into the go-to place on your floor. Score one for popularity.
  • Individual coffee makers, like a Keurig, with at least six boxes of coffee pods. Here’s the important second part of this gift: send yourself a reminder to send more pods again in March and May. The last thing you want to do is give a kid a space-hogging appliance that he can’t afford to use. 

For adults:

  • A case of wine. I’ve given this gift again and again for a variety of occasions, and it’s always well-appreciated (and usually gone before the end of January).
  • A magnum of wine. Magnums are the oversized wine bottles that are the equivalent of two regular bottles. If you choose something spectacular, like this Veuve Clicquot, you’ve got one impressive gift. If you buy a $6.99 1.5-liter bottle of Yellowtail Chardonnay, you’re going to be disowned.
  • A wheel of parmesan cheese. Ok, this is basically a fantasy gift given its $2250 price tag, but it looks so incredible.

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  • Coffee or beer from a local roaster/brewery. Or kill two birds with one stone with a growler of coffee stout.

Fun things I just love:

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  • These. Can you detect a theme? (Sadly, these are sold out).

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  • Artist socks. These are also sold out, but immensely fun. They are from Signals.

 

 

Jenni Kayne Seasonal Gift Box

I am so, so not in the market for this, but this Jenni Kayne holiday gift box feels thoughtfully curated and luxurious:

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Here’s a closer look at what’s inside:

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The box includes (description and images are screen shots from the eponymous website):

  • Over-the-Knee Socks
  • Santa Maria Novella Relax Candle
  • Sylvain Le Hen Barrette
  • Farmhouse Pottery Milk Bottle Match Striker
  • Stacy Nolan Rose Gold Earrings
  • Grown Alchemist Hand Cream
  • Small Jewelry Catch-all Dish

Ok, you know you’ve got everything when you own a match striker.

As I mentioned above, this feels quite tasteful to me. While I would never spend $295 for this (and if you are a friend or family member hoping to surprise me, please pass on this!), I love the look and feel of the box – which somehow manages to be rustic and cleanly modern at the same time – enough to try and perform my own (similar) curation but for significantly less expense.

 

 

 

 

 

Heath Ceramics, Part Deux

Yesterday I posted about visiting the Heath Ceramics outpost in the Ferry Building during a recent trip to San Francisco.

Even though the storefront is small, I spent a looooong the browsing.

The looking continued when I got home.

I love that everything Heath sells manages to be both rustic in materials and modern in design.

This picnic set would be such a wonderful wedding gift. I love that it comes with a Faribault recycled wool blanket!

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On a smaller scale, this mini serving set would also suffice:

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This tray is spectacular! It’s currently out of stock, though, which is probably a good thing.

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This unique tea candle set would make a perfect hostess gift:

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One more tray:

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And I am so, so susceptible to things like this and this:

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Pop Out San Francisco

Spouse’s sister S. has lived in San Francisco for about 15 years, and she sent this great gift to Trixie for her sixth birthday.

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It’s a sturdy cardboard playset of San Francisco landmarks that kids can assemble.

It’s adorable and reminds me of Muji’s New York in a Bag, one of the best and most affordable souvenirs ever.

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Only $18!

Construction only took about five minutes, but the fun went on and on.

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Unicorn Horn Bubble Bar

My little daughter, Trixie (5), would love this Unicorn Horn bubble bar from LUSH.

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We haven’t tried them before, but the instructions are to crumble under running water to create a bubbly, fun mess.

At only $7.95, I think this is worth picking up this weekend as I buy gifts for her sixth birthday next week.

I hope our nearby LUSH store has them, because it looks like they’re out of stock online.

Another thing I plan to pick up is Tenzi, a dice game that seems easy to learn and adaptable to multiple players of different ages.

tenzi

The kids and I are going on a vacation with my sister next week, and this seems like it might be a fun way to spend some down time.

And, since it’s Trixie and I love her in a way that makes my thinking about money even more irrational than the usual state, I predict another painful trip to the American Girl store to spend my hard-earned dollars buying things like a $68 baking set. For dolls.

Valentine Gifts

When I was a kid (cue “Back in my day” geriatric voice), my parents always gave me a small gift for Valentine’s Day.

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It was never extravagant, although one year there was a red sweater AND a pair of black Gloria Vanderbilt jeans.

I really don’t bring this tradition forward, although I am susceptible to all things gifty.

So, how about these?

Ok, this is starting with a splurge: a Jennifer Meyer Pave Ruby Necklace ($950) at Gilt.

 

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A pretty scarf from J. Crew:

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A flight of truffles. Yes, please.

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Candy hearts PJ pants:

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Cristal!

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P.S. I predict a family pizza and animated movie party here at Fancy Pants Ranch on 2/14.

 

 

 

A Bad Birthday Surprise

Yesterday I had lunch with my sister and mentioned that we had to get a birthday gift for one of Trixie’s friends.

She whipped out her phone and showed us a picture of a toy that was so unbelievable that she had to document it.

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In case you can’t read the fine print, this is called a Lalaloopsy Babies Diaper Surprise Doll. 

The tagline: “I magically poop charms.”

Collectible charms that you can add to your very own bracelet. Ewww.

The commercial says it all:

Again, ewww.

Needless to say, we did NOT buy this for Trixie’s friend.