December 4, 2019

I made a Holiday Gift Guide of some of my favorite things.

OREZ (zero spelled backwards) is a brand that epitomizes the zero waste, sustainable lifestyle. I love so many of their products, but my favorites are the enamel food storage containers, the glass water bottles, the straw basket backpack, and the natural makeup tints packaged in paper tubes. Pro Tip: They have created a number of bundled holiday gift sets!


CANDLES. There are 5 billion candles on the market and choosing favorites can become overwhelming. Also overwhelming: fake, perfume-y or chemical-y smelling candles which I can’t stand. These are two of my favorites: Linnea’s Lights is a woman-owned, small-batch soy candle company and their Pumpkin scent is like if you took a Yankee Candle and gave it massages, a weekend at the Four Seasons, and fed it a vegan diet. It’s amazing. I also love the Apotheke Charcoal candle. Smoky perfection (but not bad coughing smoky, delicious whiskey smoky).  Pro Tip: I also found a cool, USB powered lighter at Food 52.


KERRI ROSENTHAL. I love pretty much everything that Kerri Rosenthal does. (And everything about her as well.) She’s one of the most creative and prolific creators I’ve ever met. My house is filled with her art, from the Tikis to Le Bibliotheque, from a custom Cali Girl portrait to Blocks of Love. Kerri has gifts of all prices from low to high, gifts that will make you smile and gifts that will make you feel patriotic, gifts that you can wear and gifts that you can put on your sofa. Pro tip: if you’re ever in Westport, CT, visit Kerri’s store; it’s a dream cloud of joy.


MUD\WTR. Instagram is excellent at serving me ads. One of those perfect hits was an ad for MUD\WTR, which I now blend into a smoothie almost every morning (plus almond milk, banana, decaf coffee, ceylon cinnamon, MCT oil (from the Foodtrainers shop), and ice). It’s a magic powder that contains “organic ingredients lauded by cultures old and young for their healthy and performance benefits” like cacao, masala chai, turmeric, chaga, etc. I’m not a coffee drinker, but for those who are, they tout themselves as a coffee alternative. Pro Tip: The order comes with a free nifty frother and you can get on a monthly plan.


BUNNY EYEZ. I had to get cataract surgery this year, because even though I’m young and spry, my left eye is like 97 years old. Anyway, I now have reading glasses all over my house (kitchen for the newspaper and crossword puzzle, bedroom for reading at night, and office for the job) and they’re all by Bunny Eyez. This company makes tons of cute styles (mine are the tortoise and pink Minniesand the glasses do all kinds of cool foldy maneuvers. Hard to explain, but there’s a video. And they were created by Jenny Hutt who has her own radio show on Sirius and who interviewed me for The Balance Project and who is terribly nice. Pro Tip: they have Blue Light readers for those who like to use screens at night. And Sunnyz (reader sunglasses).


POUCHES. I tend to give Mark & Graham products as gifts a lot. I’ve given the Lia Striped Pouch to people I work with, I use the Leather Stripe Pouch in blush/small as my wallet, and my husband and son have the striped dop kit (which isn’t listed on their site right now). Clearly, I really like the stripe colors combinations they have. Pro Tip: monogramming is free right now.


BOOKS! No gift list is complete without books, and I can recommend ones I’ve loved all day and all night. But, my lists aren’t comprehensive cause I can’t read that damn fast. My TBR (to-be-read) pile keeps growing and there are so many in that stack that I can’t wait to get to. I did read a lot of books this year and have some favorites, but there are expert book reading people who’ve put together top-notch lists that you can check out for good ideas: NPR, SheReads, Brenda Janowitz’s POPSUGAR lists, Oprah, Reese’s Book Club’s past picks, Skimm ReadsBelletrist, and the books on Zibby Owens’s podcast Moms Don’t Have Time To Read Books. Pro Tip: buy local. Either go into an independent book store near you or order from one of my favorites: Arcade Books, Rye, NY (in-store pick up only); Interabang Books, Dallas; Books are Magic, Brooklyn; Parnassus Books, Nashville; Murder by the Book, Houston.


(one more) BOOK: How about a pre-order of my new novel We Came Here to Shine which comes out in June. It’s historical fiction set at the 1939 NY World’s Fair and features two ambitious and bold women pursuing their personal and professional dreams. I’m still swooning over the gorgeous cover.


CHARITY. Always the perfect gift and so many worthy ones to choose from. I was really moved by Nicholas Kristof’s recent column: “Forget the Scarf. These Gifts Change Lives.”

Note: I am not getting paid by these companies to promote them and I don’t make any money if you buy these products. Just a bit of holiday spirit, y’all!

Comment below: What are your favorite go-to gifts this year?