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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Holiday Gift Guide: Conventional Retailers



I love supporting small businesses, but I will admit, I do sometimes look to other retailers when it comes to buying gifts. I have Amazon Prime, and the convenience alone makes it hard to resist. I do buy small whenever I can, but on the occasion you need to explore conventional retailers, here are some of our picks for gifts.


I have to give a shout out to LL Bean. We shop there all year 'round, but in particular, we find ourselves in our local Bean store a lot during fall and winter. They have amazing quality flannels, socks, winter gear and even home essentials like bedding and dog beds. I could walk in here and likely find something for everyone on my list, including Betty! Our picks from the Bean for gift giving? Our first is flannel jammies. I got Josh a pair last year, and they're wonderful quality and really warm for those super cold winter nights. In fact, just the other night he was wearing them and said they were his favorites. They always have a great color selection so you could go Christmas-y red or traditional and neutral.

Photo courtesy of LL Bean.

A few years back, I got Josh a Bean canvas duffle bag and had his initials monogramed on it, and he uses this thing all the time. It's perfect for weekend trips, and even longer vacations, and it's wonderful quality. The monogramming option makes it extra personalized, too.

Josh's duffle bag that I got him from the Bean years ago.
The monogramming option makes it a great personalized but useful gift.


Neither of us have an LL Bean Fisherman's sweater, but I contemplate getting one every time I'm at a Bean store. They're traditional, they're cozy and they're incredible quality. I personally love them because they're perfectly New England, and they make me think of being in a cabin in Vermont somewhere, reading a book by a fire. Or, sailing on my imaginary boat on the first chilly day of Fall.

Photos courtesy of LL Bean.


For beauty lovers, I really love the Bite Beauty gift sets that the brand comes out with for the holidays. Every year, they release mini lip products in a cute little tin, and since Bite has some of the best lipsticks I've ever used, I feel so confident in giving them as gifts. This year, though, I'm especially partial to the Agave Kisses Set. It features minis of their agave lip mask, lip balm and lip scrub, all of which I've tried, and all of which are truly stands outs. If color is more your style, they also released mini tins of their liquified lipsticks and their cream lipsticks.

The Bite Beauty Agave Kisses set includes small sizes of three amazing lip care products. 


I've been having a love affair with the relatively new RMS cream palettes called Signature Sets. They come in two options, and I purchased the Mod Collection this past summer, which has slightly warmer undertones. RMS is known for being an organic beauty brand with stellar performance, and their cream products are simply amazing. I've been using their individual pots for a few years now, and love them all. Having a lovely white compact with five products to sample is an exciting gift to receive if you love playing with makeup. Plus, her products are infused with coconut oil, making these great for dry, winter skin! My recommendation for anyone on the fence would actually be Pop Collection, simply because the two cheek/lip colors are perfect for a snow-kissed winter look.


This is my own palette in Mod. The Pop palette has slightly brighter colors that are
beautiful for the winter season. 


Perusing on Anthropologie's site, or just walking into a store during the holiday season, you can probably cross quite a few people off your list. I always find really great gifts here that don't disappoint, and this year, I put together a small list of some of the things that stood out to me. 1. The Joy & Cheer Mug caught my eye because of the, well, cheerful design and it struck me as the perfect winter mug for someone who loves shabby chic or colorful cottage decor. 2. This Vintage Ski Loft Ornament isn't an extravagant gift, but it makes me smile when I look at it, and perfect for someone you now who loves to ski. 3. Not that people are eating a ton of ice cream in the winter, but this Copper Ice Cream Scooper kind of makes it worth being extra cold. 4. I see these Night Market Candles in the store each year, and I'm always drawn to the Mulled Wine scent. Also, the vintage illustration on them is so heartwarming. 5. I've had these Monogram Gem Necklaces saved in my cart specifically so I would remember them for the holiday season. I love that they're a bit different than your traditional alphabet pendant, and the colors are so beautiful. 6. I'm not normally one for patterned stemware, but I'm kind of in love with these Monogram Champagne Flutes. Whenever you break out the champagne, it's usually time for a celebration, and these flutes just say "party time" when you look at them. Plus, they come in all letters of the alphabet, so they're also personalized, which makes them even more fun and meaningful.

Photos courtesy of Anthropologie.

I love getting books as gifts, especially books with beautiful photos to admire that I can display on our coffee tables. I have so many books to suggest that I've loved reading over the past year, but today I'm recommending two that are less traditional and more inspirational. The first is the Half Baked Harvest cookbook. I've drooled over her Instagram feed for ages, and I'm so excited that she has a book filled with her mouth-watering recipes. It would be such a lovely display book on a kitchen shelf, and an amazing guide to some serious weekend cooking. Second, I'm sharing another book that I first discovered on Instagram. I've followed Flora Forager for a couple of years now, and she creates art out of botanicals. They're so whimsical and mesmerizing when you see what she uses to create images of birds, trees and other living things. Her book, Flora Forager: A Seasonal Journal Collected from Nature is filled with these images, and I think would be a fun, unique gift to someone who feels inspired by nature.
These could technically fall under small business if you purchase them from a local bookstore, but to be honest, I haven't seen them in smaller shops - Amazon and places like Barnes and Noble are the only places I've found them. But, you are supporting these lovely individuals by purchasing their books, even if you buy them from Amazon.
Photos courtesy of Amazon.


Josh told me about this new thing that was aided in development by Kickstarter, and as soon as he told me about it, I immediately thought it was an amazing and unique gift idea for a vinyl music lover. The RokBlok is a wireless & bluetooth-enabled device that plays a record simply by moving around on top of the record. It sounds crazy, but it's kind of genius. It runs on rechargeable batteries and will wirelessly connect to to a speaker system within a 30-foot radius. I assumed it would retail for more than $200, but they actually cost $99, which I think is a fair price for something rather unique. 
Photo courtesy of RokBlok.

I've gotten Josh a couple of Timex watches over the years, and the Weekender style is the most universal, and also comes in so many styles and price points. Josh loves watches because, in his words, "Guys don't really have a lot of fun accessory options," so he loves that with just two different watch faces he can totally change the look of it by swapping out the bands. I've gotten him several different bands as stocking stuffers for the past few Christmases, and it almost like he's gotten an entirely new watch. The Weekender comes in both men's and women's styles, too.


Photos courtesy of Timex.




I feel like I, personally, can never have enough scarves, and I love receiving them as gifts. I also love giving them. This year, two scarves at J.Crew caught my attention. The first being the Plaid Cape Scarf. Normally, I don't gravitate toward cape-styled, well, anything, but this one drapes like a light sweater and it looks so stylish and so easy to pull off. The second is the Patterned Cashmere Scarf, which is technically in the men's department but really is unisex. I love the navy and red plaid color making it classic for any season, or really, any person. And who doesn't love a little cashmere?



When in doubt, wine is usually a good idea, especially if you're in need of a hostess gift. One of my absolute favorites during the holidays is a red blend by Bogle called Phantom. My mom introduced it to me years ago when I went home for Christmas one year, and we definitely ran to the liquor store to buy more after polishing off two bottles. I'm not a wine expert, and I'm terrible at describing the flavors, but this one is just rich and complex and makes me think of the holidays. I've only ever seen it at liquor stores during the holiday season, and I think I read somewhere that it's a limited release each year, so I always like to snatch a few bottles up right before Thanksgiving to enjoy throughout the next several weeks. 


And that's a wrap on my gift guides for this year! I had a lot of fun putting these lists together, and I hope that it gave at least one person an idea or two. I'm wishing everyone who takes time to read my posts a huge helping of thanks and gratitude, and a wonderful next few days with friends and family. 


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