10 December 2013
This year’s first two gift guide installments offered up many lovely things (and many I’d love to give and get), but I think I’m most proud of today’s. I’ve never done a gift guide for the gents before, largely because I think men are more difficult to shop for, in general, and also because I think the best gifts for men tend to be more specific (whereas, in general, a lot of gals would be pleased with a lot of the same things). I probably won’t be able to come up with this many male gift ideas for another five years, so enjoy! :)
A. Clean bottle ($10) | There probably should be a “brought to you by Shark Tank” disclaimer on this post. The Clean bottle was an ST discovery, and I think it’s brilliant — a water bottle that’s super easy to clean because it unscrews on both ends!
B. Wrought iron fire pit ($40) | We bought my brother in law a fire pit last year, and I must say, it was one of my more genius gift ideas. S’mores for all!
C. Light n’ go bonfire log ($10) | We also got Cormac this nifty log thing — it’s like a self-contained bonfire!
D. Flavored chili salts ($12) | These salts (flavored with different chilis) are perfect for the gent who loves to cook!
E. A Walk in the Woods ($8) | I would recommend Bill Bryson books to anyone, even those who don’t consider themselves readers. He’s laugh out loud funny and smart; A Walk in the Woods is one of our favorites.
F. Junior travel bag ($54) | Handsome dopp kit made from genuine Pendleton wool.
G. Red chambray tie ($16) | We bought John this tie a few weeks ago, and we both love it! It can be dressed up or dressed down, and is always casually cool.
H. Gosling freaker ($10) | Yep, you have Shark Tank to thank for this one, too. It’s a koozie (handmade in the US!) that fits any bottle! You have to check out this episode — the founder is a little nutty. Beep bop!
I. Sunglasses case ($12.50) | A manly (and safe) home for your gent’s specs.
J. Salsa Collection Gift Box ($36) | Cherry Republic is an awesome small business in Michigan (I wrote about them here and here). John is a salsa fiend, and highly recommends this sample box!
K. Nest thermostat ($250) | This one is more of a major gift, but it’s a good one! The Nest thermostat learns your habits and automatically adjusts your thermostat accordingly, plus you can control it from your smart phone. John’s wanted one for years!
L. White Whale mixers ($13.50) | Made from exotic juices and garden-fresh herbs in Durham, NC!
M. Tell The Ones I Love by the Steep Canyon Rangers ($15) | Have a bluegrass lover in your life? This CD is one of our favorites.
N. Leather dopp kit ($78) | Handsome and embroidered. I love the custom-stained antique caramel color!
O. Bezl iPhone case ($20) | I have my friend Will to thank for this last one, which just might be the most minimal case ever invented. Watch the video — it’s pretty neat.
Whew! I hope that gives you a few good ideas for the gents in your life! I’d love for you to share other suggestions in the comments — I’m always on the hunt for tried and true options!
9 December 2013
John and I finished off most of our Christmas shopping over the weekend, with just a few goodies and some stocking stuffers to pick up this week. In case you’re still checking things off your list, too, here are a few of my brightest suggestions!
A. Colorblock double-strand necklace ($42) | Bright and colorful with jeans and a tee.
B. Letterpress Alabama camellia print ($25) | My Mom gets the credit for discovering these beauties! So fun to build a collection of states to which you have a connection.
C. Merry Christmas Y’all pillow ($15) | Southern and merry.
D. Lola sunglass cake ($22) | I think this case would make me smile every time I pulled it out of my bag.
E. Pieces and patterns wall calendar ($25) | So beautiful you’d want to frame each month when the year’s over.
F. Halcyon print ($35) | Gorgeous and girly colors.
G. Molly Blue cosmetic bag ($24) | Just big enough for weekend essentials!
H. Floral pillow cover ($48) | Bright and beautiful, and less than half the price of similar options from Society Social.
I. Dotted napkins ($5 each) | A perfect set for everyday use.
J. Buffalo check iPhone case ($35) | A little expensive, but I love the pattern.
K. Mason jar soap dispenser ($24) | I know I put this on last year’s guide, but it’s too good not to include again!
L. Pool confetti note set ($18) | So pretty! I’m actually planning to try my hand at DIY-ing these, though…
M. Prinstagram gift card (varies) | For the person who has everything… printable memories!
Which is your favorite?
P.S. 2012 and 2011 bright gifts.
6 December 2013
Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful comments on my last post! I know it might seem strange to follow it up with the first installment of this year’s gift guide, but… it’s not! And that’s the beauty of it :)
A. Striped infinity scarf ($16) | Soft and cozy with smart stripes — and handmade by a friend!
B. Scalloped metal pot ($10) | These are on my wish list this year! So pretty in person, and would make a beautiful gift filled with some bulbs.
C. Georgia Olive Tree seedlings ($20) | I love olive branch arrangements so much (we had one at our wedding!) that growing my own trees (inside?) seems like a worthwhile endeavor.
D. Black satin cat eye mask ($24) | As a professed cat lover, I’m not-so-secretly coveting this sleep aid.
E. Good luck porcelain horseshoe ($32) | Upturned horseshoes are thought to be good luck — this one would be so sweet as a housewarming gift, or nailed over your front door.
F. Adjustable rope dog leash ($60) | Best looking dog leash I’ve ever seen.
G. Tortoise link bracelet ($40) | Classic, but unexpected, and goes with everything.
H. Bulbs (varies) | As mentioned here, I was entranced by the bulb offerings at my local garden store. A selection of tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils would make a fun and unexpected gift for even the most novice gardener! Wrap them in a pretty pot.
I. Oh Happy Day print ($20) | This gold foil beauty hangs in our gallery wall, and I think it’d be a perfect pick for so many aesthetics!
J. Lux Fur Mittens ($36) | My beloved leopard gloves are becoming quite hole-y in their old age… I wouldn’t be happy to replace them, but these (faux) fur mittens would make the transition a bit easier.
K. Oversize mason jar drink dispenser ($20) | Southern style for a crowd.
L. 9″ driftwood heart ($44) | Made from hand-selected pieces of Santa Barbara driftwood.
M. Shanna Murray salad plate ($6) | I’d stock up on these, then load them up with goodies as gifts for neighbors and hostesses.
Have a wonderful weekend! I’ll be back next week with the colorful gift guide, plus two new ones — littles and gents!
P.S. 2012 Neutral Gifts
3 December 2013
Photos of Bucky in full finery were requested — I aim to please.
Hello, friends! Some of you may know that John and I are BIG fans of Adam Hamilton. We worship online with Church of the Resurrection every Sunday in addition to our local church, and we never cease to learn from and be inspired by his messages. Last year, I was moved to post 25 acts of kindness after listening to one of his sermons. (Here’s the list — we’ll be doing some of these this year, and I still think it’s a GREAT way to shine a light outward this season!)
Last year, COR’s Christmas season campaign encouraged members to give a Christmas Eve offering equal to the amount they spent on Christmas gifts. John and I were inspired by the boldness of this challenge, and ended up making a larger-than-anticipated offering ourselves. (Most churches give away their Christmas Eve offering to a particular cause — for example, COR splits theirs between building wells in Africa and working with low-income schools in Kansas City, and our church gives it to one of our main missions, Zoe.) We eagerly awaited the results of COR’s offering, knowing it was going to be exciting, but we were still blown away when they reported raising $1.2 million in one night — far surpassing the previous year’s amount of $650k. I actually cried when they announced it, I was so moved. Isn’t it amazing what God’s people can do when they lean into what He is calling them to?
We immediately set the goal of giving away as much as we spent on Christmas gifts in 2013 (in addition to our normal pledge). There are so many ways to be generous, selfless, and un-materialistic at Christmas, but there are a few reasons why I particularly love this way:
1) It infuses the spirit of Christmas back into our giving, and gifting. This way, they’re not two separate things — they’re interconnected. As we shop and plan, we keep in mind that we have three ways to meet our goal: we can either a) reduce the amount we spend on gifts, b) increase the amount we give, or c) do a little of both. It reminds us that there are trade-offs for every choice we make with our money.
2) It doesn’t require us to stop giving gifts. I LOVE giving gifts! I love selecting things the people I love will love, something that will make their lives a little happier or prettier or easier. I love supporting small businesses, and making handmade goodies, and I also LOVE wrapping presents.
3. It allows us to tell a new story. Signing on for this might require you to make some changes in the way you’ve traditionally given gifts — I know it did for us — which provides an opportunity to explain why you’re making said changes. We’re planning to include a little card with our gifts that says something along the lines of, “This is only half of your present! We also made a donation in your honor to help empower kids in Africa.” What story are you telling with your life? I want my story to be about generosity. I want it to spread light in the world. I want it to be about something much larger than ME.
4) It’s legitimately exciting! For me, it was an almost giddy feeling to drop that check in the offering plate on Christmas Eve. There’s something exciting about being “counter-cultural” and saying YES to what matters most in a tangible way. I believe God’s messengers are everywhere, in everyone… in you and in me. He’s just waiting for us to step into our role, and there’s nothing more exciting than making a small move in that direction.
And then there’s this:
Christmas starts with the poor and the nobodies. I think part of the reason God sent the angels to the shepherds first is because they didn’t have anything to celebrate. Let’s start with them. Let’s invite them to Christmas. We can celebrate every day if we want, and we have lots of reasons to celebrate. But to celebrate Christmas the way God celebrates it, we must start with the poor and the nobodies.
(That’s from Adam. See why we like him?)
In what ways are you planning to make light shine in the darkness for someone else this season? Would you consider joining in this challenge? Whether or not you think you can do it this year, I would love to hear your thoughts!
P.S. It turns out that after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, today has been termed Giving Tuesday. Appropriate, no?
28 November 2013
John and I are prepping and eating Thanksgiving dinner solo today, which we’re actually kind of excited about. We LOVE celebrating with family, but for various reasons (mostly because of John’s work schedule and my older sister’s inability to travel — baby niece or nephew is coming any day now!!), it didn’t happen this year. It’s been a really busy few weeks (months, actually), and so we are relishing in a day or two to relax, eat delicious food, address Christmas cards, listen to our favorite Christmas music, and begin getting our decorations sorted out. I wish the same for all of you, no matter where or with whom you’re celebrating!
P.S. I am thankful for you all — for your encouragement, your emails, and for coming to check in day after day. Much love!!