Holiday Gift Guide Part I — Quirky and Perky Finds for Fun-Loving Gals
Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming!
I’ve always loved this time of year — I remember how, as a young girl l in Puerto Rico, I fretted about whether Santa Claus would be able to come into our home given that there was no chimney for him to slide down (never mind the fact that there was no snow for his sled). My dad assured me that Santa could somehow walk through walls, which I believed without question. Then again, I also believed Santa needed me to circle all the toys I liked in the Sears and JCPenney catalogs — just in case his elves got too tired to make them and he needed to make a quick stop at these retailers. Now that I’m a mom, I get to experience the magic of this season through the eyes of my son, which fills my heart with joy.
Needless to say, I’ve channeled my childlike enthusiasm into all of my Holiday Gift Guides over the years and, in turn, have always masterminded some rather elaborate themes for them. This year, however, I decided to go back to basics and create a multi-installment gift guide that was less conceptual and, instead, focused on the personality traits of the recipient or the uniting characteristics of the items selected. But, because every woman is a multi-faceted, dynamic, nuanced, complicated, mysterious wonderful creature, we all play different roles in life: the lovable oddball, the smoldering temptress, the detail-oriented hostess, the doting mother, the glamourous siren, the dainty princess, the tough rebel, the wide-eyed ingenue, the tireless romantic, the punk princess, and so on and so forth. Because of this, don’t be surprised if you find something you desire within each of our gift guide installments!
To kick things off, I’ve amassed a number of quirky gifts that will appeal to playful spirits, women who like to break out of the mold, who relish their uniqueness, and who appreciate a bit of kitsch. Let the fun begin!
Onch Movement Rainbow Swirl Cone Necklace, $100. Available at OnchMovement.BigCartel.com
We all scream for ice cream, but this pendant is truly worth shouting about. Unlike a frozen concoction that can melt over your fingers and increase your waistline, this necklace is a guiltless and mess-free treat. The piece features a two-toned 19″-long metallic chain, with one side in an azure blue shade and the other in a magenta hue, and a cone-shaped pendant dangles from the center, its swirly top combining three different flavors. A large, faceted teardrop crystal dangles beside the cone pendant, falling next to the base of the sugar cone.
Eugenia Kim Minnie Black Felt Beret with Fur Pom Pom Ears, $340. Available at EugeniaKim.com
Last year, it was all about cat ears, with headbands, fedoras, berets, and knit caps featuring pointy ears that made every day feel like Halloween. This year, however, another creature has bumped the kitty from its top spot — and, ironically, it’s the cat’s favorite prey. This year, the mice are coming out to play, as you can tell via this cheeky Eugenia Kim hat. Made of 100% domesticated rabbit, this black beret features two pom poms made of 100% dyed blue fox fur, each strategically places to resemble an ear.
Right Hand, Ready! Espresso Cup Set, $37.99. Available at Modcloth.com
Playing Twister was always an exercise in contortionism — just when you though you’d find a way to make a position comfortable, you’d have to move one of your hands or legs to the most ridiculous spot on the mat and hope you didn’t fall in the process. Pay homage to the game that turned all of us into human pretzels with this porcelain espresso set, featuring four dotted cups with matching saucers made to resemble the game’s spinning disc.
LUSH Christmas Friends Gift Set, $48.95. Available at Lushusa.com
Are you enchanted by vintage lunch boxes that resembled tin boxes with handles? Then you’ll swoon over the tin box in which the LUSH Christmas Friends set is packaged — especially since, well after you use all the contents within, you can repurpose it to hold cookies, ornaments, photos, and knickknacks. The top lid, then, features an illustration of a young girl in a printed jacket, a scarf wrapped around her neck, standing in front of a mammoth snowman which is, in turn, positioned before a large Christmas tree. On either side of the girl, you’ll find reindeer, a polar bear, scarf-wearing kitties, hat-wearing dogs, penguins, owls, and partridges. Clearly, then, this is one popular girl with friends of every kind!
Once you lift this lid, you’ll find six bathtime goodies therein which are meant to be your new friends. First, there’s the Bombardino Bath Bomb, which smells like lemon and vanilla and is enriched with skin softening cocoa butter. Next, there’s the Christmas Penguin Bubble Bar, which smells like bergamot, lemon and orange flower, and which fizzes in the tub to reveal tons of sudsy bubbles. The Father Christmas Bath Bomb also has a zesty smell thanks to its mandarin oil and bergamot oil content, and it fizzes almost immediately when dunked into the water, dissolving and changing the water’s color pink and orange. Specks of gold glitter, meanwhile, dance in the tub to make your bath feel a bit more festive. The cocoa butter-enriched Snowman Bath Bomb, meanwhile, has less of a distinctively citric fragrance, instead boasting more of a vanilla aroma that’s indulgent and sweet.
If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll get a kick out of the Magic Wand Reusable Bubble Bar, which features a cotton candy-scented, star-shaped tip that you can dip in the water and take out as you desire. As you swirl the wand inside the tub, you’ll see bubbles begin to form and the water turn a playful pink hue. Last but not least, the kit contains the Melting Snowman Luxury Bath Melt, formulated with cocoa butter, shea butter and almond oil to soften and condition skin. This bath melt has a spicy but citric scent that’s warming and comforting, the result of blend of cinnamon oil, clove leaf oil, and sweet orange oil. When you toss it inside a warm bathtub, it will melt and, by doing so, seep its nourishing oils into the water so they can better nourish and soften your skin.
Iris Von Armin Cashmere Key Chain, $22. Available at Shop.IrisVonArmin.de
Forget a lucky rabbit’s foot! There’s nothing like the feel of cashmere in between your fingers. With this Iris Von Armin keychain, you can have a piece of cashmere within reach 24/7. Available in punchy colors like lemon yellow, classic red, and royal blue, these hand-knitted cashmere sweater key chain charms make a fashion statement while indulging your sense of touch with their ultra-soft feel.
Sophia Webster Arty Party Paint Splatter Leather Ankle Booties, $895. Available at SaksFifthAvenue.com
Channel your inner Jackson Pollock in these whimsical ankle booties from Sophia Webster. Made in Brazil, these show stoppers feature a coquettish peep toe, an open heel with a black leather tie, an audacious 4″-tall heel, and white leather uppers with patent leather appliqués of drippy paint blobs in shades of neon pink, bright turquoise, sunny yellow, and mint green.
Bliss Spa “You Butter Watch Out” Body Butter Set, $39. Available at Shop.Nordstrom.com
Packaged inside a colorful box with a zippy, retro-feeling print, this cleverly named body butter set incorporates three zesty, invigorating, mood uplifting scents: Lemon and Sage, Blood Orange and White Pepper and Grapefruit and Aloe (my personal favorite). Each 6.7 oz. body butter tube features such nourishing, hydrating, softening, rejuvenating ingredients as shea butter, soybean oil, coconut oil, algae extract, and vitamin E for a truly blissful experience.
Lenora Dame Antique Lace Collage Necklace. Available at LenoraDame.com
There’s something so lovably eccentric about this 16″-long Lenora Dam necklace, which features an embellished bib covered with multi-colored rosettes, beads, crystals, charms, faceted stones, and other vintage-feeling fare. As the ultimate finishing touch, an ivory lace trim with a touch of gold thread dangles from the bottom rim of the bib piece.
Tangle Teezer Aqua Splash Detangling Hairbrush, $16. Available at UrbanOutfitters.com
Getting rid of tangles can prove both irksome and painful, but you can make knotted strands a thing of the past with the Tangle Teezer Aqua Splash hair brush. Designed to be used in the water so that you can untangle your hair as you shower, this brush features convex teeth that gently work their way through strands, loosening any knots without yanking at strands, ripping or splitting hair, or creating any discomfort. Measuring 5.5″ in length and 3.5″ in width, the Tangle Teezer Aqua Splash features an ergonomic, oval body that makes it easier to grip. The brush’s hollow center, meanwhile, allows water to drain easily, so your brush can air dry within minutes. Its unique shape, meanwhile, allows it to remain upright when you set it atop the bathroom counter, bathroom windowsill, or any shelf unit.
O-Mighty The Daria Backpack, $48. Available at Karmaloop.com
If you know all the words to “You’re Standing On My Neck” as a result of the hours spent watching the animated TV series Daria on MTV, then you’ll appreciate this cotton backpack, which features an all-over print that pays homage to the bespectacled, irony-loving, asocial teen who consistently made hilariously poignant and sarcastic observations about the world around her.
Bad Dog Wisdom Tumblers, $35. Available at UncommonGoods.com
Some dogs can go to obedience school and become tiny canine soldiers but others, well, they refuse to change their ways — and it may be that they’re perfectly able to do so but simply choose not to. That’s the message conveyed by these glass tumblers, made in Louisiana and illustrated by Patricia Carlin in Minnesota. Each 16 0z. glass features an illustration of a dog committing an infraction of sorts and a corresponding lesson written beneath it. On one glass, for instance, a dog is shown drinking from the toilet and, underneath this illustration, we find the phrase “Defy authority.” On another, a dog is shown peeing on a fire extinguisher and the corresponding lesson is “Assert Yourself.” You get the point: these dogs may be bad, but they have plenty of tricks!
Dammit Dolls, $15.90 each. Available at Amazon.com
Stress balls never quite do much to help us release pent-up frustration but breaking dishes, punching walls, and screaming like a maniac aren’t exactly constructive ways to channel one’s anger. Enter the Dammit Doll, a 12″-tall stuffed doll that’s meant to be whacked and thumped whenever some anger release is in order. Available in a plethora of patterns — from floral styles to striped, polka dot, chevron, houndstooth, leopard, plaid, and paisley prints — each of these dolls features a stitched patch on its belly that reads: “Whenever things don’t go do well, and you want to hit the wall, here’s a little dammit doll that you can’t do without. Just grasp it firmly by the legs and find a place to slam it. As as you whack the stuffing out, yell ‘Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!'”
Found out your ex-boyfriend of five years got married to a girl three months after meeting her? Clutch that doll and bang it on your desk! Received a snotty e-mail from a business colleague? Hit the doll against the wall! Just discovered your flight will be delayed? Bang the doll against the floor! You can literally whack it until the stuffing comes out and feel no guilt whatsoever while doing so.
Charmed Circle Birdcage Charm, $200. Available at CharmedCircle.com
This birdcage charm will be a feather in your cap this holiday season! Each handcrafted, gilded sterling silver charm is meticulously detailed to resemble a traditional birdcage (think of Tweety Bird’s home), with a domed top surface, slim bars, and even a hinged door that can be opened or shut close. Inside the birdcage, meanwhile, you’ll find a tiny blue bird with crystal eyes that’s so adorable, it will feel like it’s singing to you!
Marc by Marc Jacobs Olive iPhone5 Case, $48. Available at SaksFifthAvenue.com
Tired of all the cat-themed iPhone cases out there? Well, dog lovers can finally show off their appreciation for Man’s Best Friend with this graphic silicone case.
Melody Ehsani The Domino Earrings, $36. Available at Karmaloop.com
Love watching the viejitos in San Juan slapping down their domino tiles with gusto? Then you’ll appreciate these gold-plated, 2″-long, lightweight earrings, featuring rectangular shapes etched with the lines and dots you might find in real dominoes.
Ole Henriksen Ole La La Look At Her Glow Set, $44. Available at Sephora.com
The packaging of this set alone will brighten any gal’s mood. Featuring some of Ole Henriksen’s most beloved radiance-boosting products, this kit is packaged inside a magenta faux leather pouch with bright orange piping and a matching top zipper. Once you open the makeup pouch, you’ll find four must-have skincare products: a 1.5 oz. of the African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser; a 10-pack pouch of Truth To Go Wipes; a 0.33 oz. bottle of the Pure Truth Youth Activating Oil; and a 0.5 oz. bottle of the Truth Serum Collagen Booster.
The African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser is among my favorite Ole Henriksen products ever since it has anti-aging benefits while also restoring a youthful glow to skin and helping to diminish hyperpigmentation signs. The cleanser features calming African red tea, which strengthens the skin’s barrier; borage seed oil, which has anti-inflammatory properties and is rife with gamma linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that boosts cellular rejuvenation; vitamin C, which is known to brighten the skin and to promote collagen synthesis; and grapefruit, orange, and tangerine extracts, which also contain vitamin C and which work as astringents and antibacterials. The Truth Serum Collagen Booster, meanwhile, contains a powerful blend of botanical extracts that again work to prevent visible aging signs and to give the complexion more of a glow. These ingredients include brightening and purifying grapefruit extract, soothing green tea extract, skin strengthening rosehip extract, hydrating hyaluronic acid, collagen-boosting vitamin C, and vitamin E to fend off free radicals. When you need a pick-me-up while traveling, meanwhile, you can reach for one of the Truth To Go wipes, deliciously moist towelettes enriched with vitamin C, green tea, and anti-aging micro algae. Last but not least, the kit contains the super-powered Pure Truth Youth Activating Oil, which is designed to activate cellular renewal through 100% concentrated rose hips oil, a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Pier 1 Imports Bicycle Bookend Set, $39.95. Available at Pier1.com
Give your library a bit of personality with these hand-painted iron bookends, which will remind you to take those tomes for a spin and exercise your brain!
Julep Little Lights Mini Nail Colors, $20. Available at Julep.com
‘Tis the season for icicles, twinkling lights, sequined skirts, and all things sparkly and glittery. To capture the spirit of the season, Julep has released the Little Lights set, featuring four glitzy nail lacquers: Jameson, a creamy wine red; Colbie, a metallic citrine green chockfull of gold and green glitter; Ivy, a holographic sapphire blue with violet tones and loads of micro glitter; and Paris, a disco-worthy, holographic silver glitter top coat with chunky sequins and micro glitter alike. It’s everything a gal needs to twinkle as bright as little stars.
Morning Mug, $15. Available at Fancy.com
If you never feel awake until you drink that first cup of joe in the morning, then you’ll relate to this 10 oz. mug. When empty, the mug’s exterior looks completely black, with a circle outlining its mouth and curved white lines shaped like eyelids, as if the mug were in a deep slumber, its eyes fully shut and its lashes brushing against its cheeks. Once you pout in some hot liquid, the mug’s countenance starts to change: first, the lower half turns white in color; next, its mouth appears in a perky red hue; and last, but not least, the top half turns white and black dots appear where the closed lids used to be, as if the mug had opened its lids and revealed its bright peepers. Now fully alert, the Morning Mug is ready to face the day — much like you!
Stila Masterpiece Series Eye & Cheek Palettes, $39. Available at Sephora.com
There’s an art to applying one’s makeup — and that’s precisely the concept Stila was playing on when creating the Masterpiece Series Eye & Cheek Palettes. This set comes in a sleeve meant to resemble the cover of a literary anthology, its background resembling a wooden texture and, on its front panel, featuring an illustration of a fashionable artist in a Parisian-esque ensemble (replete with a beret) holding a paint brush in one hand and a palette with droplets of paint in her other hand. Inside this sleeve, meanwhile, you’ll find three tiny booklets, each labeled Vo. I, Vol. II and Vol. III. Each booklet contains five eye shadows and one cheek color, all placed in an oval-like shape as if resting atop a painter’s easel.
The Vol. I The Minimalist Palette booklet, then, is meant to help women pull off minimalist makeup looks. This palette contains the following eye shadows: Natural Light, a peachy sandy hue with a golden, pinkish luster; Simplicity, a soft flaxseed gold hue; Elegance, a coppery bronze hue; Subtlety, a deep bronze with russet tones and hints of reddish glitter; and Balance, a sooty, matte brown hue. The finishing touch is the Harmony Cheek Color, a mid-tone peachy pink hue reminiscent of the inside of a conch shell. Here are swatches of these shades:
The Vol. II The Impressionist Palette features a combination of pinkish and purplish tones. The eye shadows in this set are: Canvas, a pearlescent, buttercream frosting hue with pink undertones and bits of silver glitter; Pastel, a grayish lilac shade with a satin finish; Vision, a deep metallic purplish plum; Watercolor, which looks like a stormy, almost gunmetal glitter-packed shade in the compact but, once applied, looks way more ethereal when applied, with Aurora Borealis-esque sheer reddish violet tones and silvery glimmer; and Movement, a matte dark eggplant color. These eye shadows are complemented by the Parisian Pink Cheek Color, a rosy shade reminiscent of freshly pinched cheeks.
Next, there’s the Vol. III The Modernist Palette, which includes the following eye shadow colors: Glaze, a snowy white saturated with glitter, Avant-Garde, a grayish cornflower shade with sparse silvery shimmer; Mondrian, a steely, moody bluebell color; Abstract, a deep, near-black gunmetal color with clear glitter; and Charcoal, a sooty black hue with a near-matte finish. These are then complemented by the Nouveau Cheek Color, a peony pink shade.
BCBGMaxAzria Spiked Apple Jewelry Box, $78. Available at BCBG.com
Forget all those tree-shaped jewelry displays and lacquered trinket boxes! Give your dresser a dose of punk rock attitude with this apple-shaped jewelry box, measuring 3.75″ in diameter and featuring a removable lid with a stem that allows you to easily lift it off and place it back on. The black apple-shaped box is coated in a metallic polyresin and features conical spikes all over its surface, making it appear way more poisonous than anything Snow White ever received from the Evil Queen.
Monserat de Lucca “Made to Measure” Bracelet, $52.99. Available at Modcloth.com
You don’t need to be a seamstress or fashion designer to appreciate this “sew” cute brass bracelet, featuring a spiraling shape that resembles a coiled strand of measuring tape. The bracelet even features number markers, tiny ticks, and metal ends for a more authentic look.
Pac-Man Ceramic Salt & Pepper Shakers, $17.99. Available at Amazon.com
Sure, you spent hours on the arcade as a kid running away from Blinky, Pinky, and the whole gang of ghosts threatening your Pac-Man’s life. But, years later, you’ll actually want to invite these former enemies into your home via this ceramic salt and pepper shaker set. Perfect for nostalgic types, avid gamers, ’80s kids, and fans of all things quirky, these shakers add plenty of personality to your kitchen.
Sophia Webster Lilico Sandals, $595. Available at Shop.Nordstrom.com
Channel Carmen Miranda with these coquettish Sophia Webster heels, featuring a striped black-and-white 3 3/4″-tall heel; a retro-flavored, black-and-white polka dot heel counter featuring scalloped edges; a slim black patent ankle strap closure; and a front strap embellished with colorful blossoms like marigolds and sunflowers.
Lenora Dame Party Owl Cuff, $105. Available at LenoraDame.com
Measuring 2″ in width, this adjustable cuff is wrapped in a retro polka dot fabric and then bedazzled with unconventional materials — among them a deliberately frayed yellow linen fabric that’s been manipulated, folded, and pleated to resemble a rosette, then adorned with a hand-painted, vintage-looking, metallic blue owl face; clusters of semi-precious stones and crystals; a pink resin rose accent; and a semi-precious stone that appears raw and untouched.
Sagaform Sweden Bar Jigsaw Puzzle Coaster, $18.95. Available at Fjorn.com
Crafted by Swedish designer Roger Persson for Sagaform Bar, this coaster set proves perfectly functional while also having a sculptural quality that makes it a true conversation piece. Each stainless steel coaster measures 3.5″ in length and 3.5″ in height, and it features the cut-outs and prortruding parts you’d find in a puzzle piece. Best of all, you can attach the coasters together to create a puzzle mat of sorts.
Delia’s Bunny Sweater, $39.90. Available at Store.Delias.com
Talk about a love bunny! The white rabbit pictured on the front of this gray acrylic sweater features a heart-shaped nose and wide-rimmed glasses that make him appear studious and inquisitive. Who can resist a bibliophile bunny?
Hedgehog Dryer Ball Set, $10. Available at Fancy.com
Dryer balls have been growing in popularity since they effectively circulate warm air to reduce drying time (and save energy in the process), remove wrinkles, and soften your laundry. Plus, unlike dryer sheets, they’re reusable, which makes them a money saver. Rather than a traditional ball shape, however, these adorable dryer balls resemble tiny hedgehogs, the spikes along their surface resembling the spines these mammals use for protection. Made of thermoplastic rubber, each dryer ball measures 3″ in width, 5″ in depth, and 3″ in height.