Every year, I love poring over other bloggers’ holiday gift guides and also making my own Christmas wishlist on Pinterest—mainly for my mom, who admittedly still hasn’t actually learned how Pinterest actually works—and during that process, I also like to share a few of my favorite things here on this blog. You know, in case you’re seeking a bit of inspiration of your own. Happy Cyber Monday shopping, folks, and stay tuned to the very end as there are some fun giveaways in store…
As a side note, I keep a running list of all my own gear and equipment over on my Resources page if you’re ever looking for camera, computer or other technology recs.
For the At-Home Mixologist: Kate Spade Barware
My dear friends Lemon and her husband gifted SVV this set of Kate Spade glasses last year, and you can say I’ve hijacked them; they’re now what I insist upon drinking my nightly bourbon and ginger from. There’s something about a sturdy yet pretty glass that just makes your cocktail taste better, I swear it. Speaking of booze, I’ve also seen this Carry On Cocktail kit at shops all over Nashville—it comes in Old Fashioned, Gin & Tonic and Moscow Mule flavors—which would make a great stocking stuffer for the traveling boozehound in your life.
For the Chocoholic: Goo Goo Clusters*
Here’s the thing: As a Tennessee native, I grew up on that sweet locally made treat, the Goo Goo Cluster, and since moving back four years ago, I’ve consumed more than my fair share—particularly after the Goo Goo Shop opened in downtown Nashville this time last year. (Side note: Coming to Nashville? They offer samples all day, errrryday.) But in the past year, Goo Goo has one-upped itself and unveiled the Premium Goos, Lil Goos and Goo Goo Buttons. There’s a whole lot of Goo going on up in here! The goo(d) news is that even if you aren’t in Tennessee, you can still order the majority of these chocolaty products via the website. (Let me tell you firsthand: They make awesome stocking stuffers!) OR you can win to enter your own Goo Goo gift pack here. Stick around to find out how….
The Howie Premium Goo Goo, $7.99
For the Friend Who Travels Light: Lipault Foldable Bag
One of the most frequent questions I’ve been asked is what sort of luggage do I use. I’ve never been loyal to one brand—I look more for color and durability—but I got my first Lipault over the summer and love the fabric and the array of hues the bags come in. There’s nothing worse than having a boring old black bag that could accidentally get picked up by someone else on your flight at baggage claim (trust me, I’ve done this before, and it was embarrassing!). But I guarantee you, no one else will have a bag this bright on my flight!
For the Stress Case Who Needs a Break: A Trip
Want to give your significant other something super special for Christmas? Do your parents really deserve a long weekend in the Caribbean? Be the best husband/wife/kid ever and give them the gift of travel. For years, I gave SVV an experience for each birthday and holiday, and I still think nothing can trump a surprise getaway. While I’m a frequent user of Airbnb, I still defer to HomeAway, the original vacation rental service, when looking for a beach break.
HomeAway vacation rentals, various
For the Homebody: FootSac*
I confess: I’d never heard of LoveSac, an awesome 20-year-old, family-owned furniture and home decor company headquartered in Connecticut, until they were one of the sponsors at the Click Retreat I attended in New York this fall. They gave each attendee one of their so-cozy-you’ll-never-want-to-leave-your-couch-again FootSac blankets to take home with us, and let’s just say, Ella, her frog and I have hardly left this “work” perch all fall. Definitely makes 16-hour writing days all the more bearable! Bonus: There’s a pouch for your feet at the bottom so they stay just as warm as the rest of you! Not to mention, an actual PetSac, too! (And this is another item on the giveaway, just FYI.)
Footsac Blanket, from $125 (currently on sale for $93 through 12/7!)
For the Fashionable Traveler: Tieks
I admit: I was just like the rest of you when I first heard about Tieks. Are they really worth $175? I own two pairs of Frye boots, and other than that, I’d venture to say I’ve never paid more than $125 for shoes, let alone flats, which I rarely wear. But let me also tell you this much: Yes, yes, they are worth every penny. Tieks sent me a pair over the summer, and I was skeptical if I would fall in love like everyone else I’ve read online claims to. And then I wore them all over the UK for a week without breaking them in first, and not a single blister! I’ve never been a flats-wearer as every pair I’ve had in the past seems to rub holes in my heels, but not these bad boys. I loved my yellow ones so much that I bought a pair of burnt orange ones to round out my collection. I can’t say I won’t buy a third as my others start to fade….
Classics Tieks flats, $175
For the Hobbyist Photographer: Kelly Moore Camera Bag
For years, I used an Epiphanie bag to carry my laptop, camera and other electronics. Before my most recent international sojourn, I splurged on a Kelly Moore bag after lusting over it for years—I love my Epiphanie as it was great for transporting all my gear, but not so great at doubling as a day bag. So far, I’m obsessed and have to say it’s worth every penny spent! Also, I love that I can use it as a day bag without being too conspicuous (i.e. broadcasting to the world that I’m hauling around thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment!)
Kelly Moore Camera Bag, from $199
For the Art Lover: A Dreaming in Watercolor Print*
A couple weeks ago, we had some special visitors: San Francisco pals and artists, Crystal and Roy. They’re both sound engineers who dabble in other forms of art on the side, and SVV and I own multiple Crystal Dawn Davis originals that I can’t wait to hang in our house once we’re finally ready for an interior makeover. Crystal’s artwork, which is available on her Etsy store, is a multi-color dream world, and some of my favorites of hers are Water & Wind, The Main Ingredients and Heart in Clouds. The precision with which she works is amazing—seriously, I watched her paint some of these with a steady hand while telling me crazy stories about her years as a DJ!—and her use of color is always mesmerizing. Check out her work, read the rest of this post, and you might just win an original print of hers!
For the Avid Adventurer: Canada Goose Jacket
I got this comfy Canada Goose jacket two seasons ago and have worn it for a bevy of winter pursuits—from hiking in the February cold of Tennessee to fat biking the mountains of Colorado. It’s the perfect level of thickness: not too hot that I can’t move around and sweat beneath it, not too cold that I don’t catch a chill from the mountain air. It’s just right.
Hybridge Lite Hoody, from $525
For the New Homeowner: Kendall Simmons E-Design
Buying a house is no cheap endeavor, and if it’s your first home, you’ll likely be inundated with all the possibilities. Do you hire a professional or try to do it yourself? As someone who’s been there and learned to take things one room at a time, I’m loving Kendall Simmons‘ new e-design services, which allow you to hire the Nashville-based interior designer to plot out rooms for you. I know who I’ll be calling when the treacherous job of finishing our exterior is finally complete and I can move on to the fun part: interior design!
Kendall Simmons E-design, from $450 a room
For Those Who Travel in Comfort: Beija-Flor Jeans
You guys know that I’ve never been a pants-wearer; I’m typically dresses 90 percent of the time and leggings the other 10. I interviewed founder Emilie Whitaker for a magazine story—you can read the full Q&A about her brand here—and through that process, I tried a few pairs on. As I slipped into Beija-Flor’s Kelly skinny jeans, I knew my denim-wearing life will never be the same: Figure-flattering and comfortable. Let’s just say, I asked for a third pair for Christmas!
Beija Flor Jeans, $160 per pair
For the Book Worm: Unlimited Reads
When I was in the UK, my travel companion and I came across these gorgeous Leatherbound Classic Books in the John Rylands Library shop. She wanted the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe so badly that I lugged this tome back in my carry-on for her. They also have Dracula, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and other famous reads. If you’re looking for something not as flashy, I devoured The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and The Art of Racing in the Rain over the weekend; both which get two thumbs up from me. I also recommend The Rosie Project and its sequel, and have a long list of book posts if you need inspiration. Or, better yet, give the gift of Kindle Unlimited, which allows for unlimited reads within a pre-selected library (my mom has this, and it’s fantastic).
For the International Traveler: CLEAR Membership*
Back after it first launched in 2004, I was a CLEAR card-carrying traveler. Being based in San Francisco, it made sense to have this pre-screened security clearance to bypass the tedious TSA line—not to mention, reduce the risk of potentially missing my flight. And then just as I was getting used to this perk, the company shuttered back in 2010, but then it came back again—bigger and better than ever. Though CLEAR is only in 13 airports at the moment (including five in Texas!), if you’re based in one of these hubs, this access allows you a much more painless travel experience. Fun fact: You can also add a travel companion for just $50 a year.
For the Outdoor Enthusiast: GoPro
I have a lot of camera gear, but plenty of times I don’t really want to haul it all around with me, which is why the invention of the GoPro camera series is so genius: It’s compact enough to fit in your pocket, purse or man bag. And while I definitely don’t use it to fulfill all my photography needs, it’s perfect for skiing, snowboarding, surfing, biking, diving and other extreme sports. For fellow divers, I also recommend this floating hand grip or another flotation device, as I can tell you from experience that GoPros sink to the bottom very quickly.
GoPro HERO4 Session, $237
For the Freelancer: Bobeau Fleece Wrap Cardigan
When I was in bestie Lemon’s wedding last year, she gave the entire bridal party these uber-comfy cardigan/fleeces. Since then, I’ve bought two more for me and also given them to my mom, sister and other friends. They are SO comfortable, the perfect thing to wear all day if you work from home (but then can transition to running errands or other tasks outside of the house) and also very affordable. Nordstrom sales the Bobeau in myriad colors and textures and often has them marked down in price from $58 to $39. Do yourself a favor and snatch one up the next time you see it on sale.
One-Button Fleece Wrap Cardigan, $58 (currently on sale for $29)
Photo by Matt Andrews Photography
Here’s what you could win:
- LoveSac wanted each of you to experience the Footsac for yourself, so they’re giving one away to a lucky reader (and for those of you who don’t win, you can actually get a Footsac for 25 percent off through Dec. 7). WINNER: Crystal
- My pals over at Goo Goo want you to be able to try out their new line so they’re giving out a goodie basket of Goo merch, complete with a tote, traveler cup with lid, a pair of coffee mugs, a pouch of Goo Goo Brew, The Howie Premium, a 3-pack of each flavor and a gift certificate for $25 to spend in the online store. WINNER: Lily
- Crystal Dawn, my artist friend, wants you to have one of her pretty watercolor prints to hang in your home. WINNER: Katy Lee
- The good folks at CLEAR are giving away an annual membership for those of you who travel frequently. WINNER: Lori
a Rafflecopter giveaway
**PSA: Some of the above links are affiliate links. And a select few of the featured items before have been sent to me or gifted by friends over the years, while others I bought on my own; either way, this is a compilation of my top recommendations. None of these companies paid for product placement, though I did reach out to several of them and see if they’d like to give anything away for the purpose of this post. Because giveaways are the most fun, y’all!