It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is here already. It’s a time to take stock of the wonderful things that we are all lucky enough to have in life. It’s also a great time to do a few of my favorite things: eat, drink, and shop! I have never personally participated in Black Friday shopping, in part because I’ve heard it involves pushing and shoving, but mostly because it requires getting up early, and I’m a gal who likes my sleep. I much prefer Small Business Saturdays, and Cyber Monday (shopping in your underwear – sign me up!)
All the holiday shopping excitement is not meant to overshadow the true meaning of Thanksgiving, but who wants to read about how lucky I am to have such a wonderful and supportive husband, great family, good friends, my health…blah blah blah?! Instead, this week’s Ciao Vella installment will list the Six Superficial Things I am thankful for this year, and perhaps it will help you find the perfect present for a person in your life that YOU are thankful for. Here is my holiday gift guide:
In my life, coffee is absolutely essential. Coffee helps me do the thinking, and the writing, and the being nice to people. But coffee is not just fuel; like a good wine, I think it should be sniffed, and savored. (Yes, I am that freak in the coffee shop saying “ooo, don’t you smell the blueberry.” Feel free to judge me.) Tim really turned me onto coffee. He is a former barista, and can pick up on the nuance of flavor. When we make coffee at home it’s like walking into a mad scientists’ lab with scales and beakers. We are also lucky enough to live right down the street from one of the coolest coffee shops that roasts their own beans, Press.
If you’re thinking about a gift for the coffee drinker in your life, consider stopping at Press and picking up a pound of their own Wood Burl Coffee, or another piece of their awesome merchandise. If you’re not a Daytonian, then there are a lot of great coffee shops around the country where you can buy a coffee subscription. Last year, we were traveling through Denver and Tim absolutely flipped for a place called Boxcar Coffee. After our trip, I purchased Tim a 3-month coffee subscription, where we got a pound of their coffee every month delivered right to our door. It was the gift that kept on giving…and I selfishly reaped the benefits!
Red lipstick is a classic, it always looks good and automatically upgrades an ensemble. I’ve also found that it’s a solution to all of life’s problems. Bad hair day? Red lipstick! Feeling grumpy? Red lipstick! Fat and bloated? Red lipstick! I’ve tried a lot of lipsticks and have found that no two lipsticks are created equal. You might find the perfect hue, but it seeps into those ever present lines around your mouth. Or you find the right creamy texture, but the red is just not right. My two favorite red lipstick brands are:
ModelCo. Party Proof Lipsticks – My perfect red shade is called Red Velvet – but any and all of their available colors are perfection, from a pouty pink, to a matte nude. These lipsticks are rich and creamy, it moisturizes your lips, never cakes or clumps, and stays on all day.
TonyMoly Tony Tint Delight – My favorite shade is #2 Red. This is a lip stain that goes on light as a feather and lasts. This was my favorite lipstick when I was a bartender because I was talking all night long, tasting drinks, and sweating – yet when I looked in the mirror after a 10 hour shift, my lipstick was in perfect shape with nary a smudge in sight.
I live in my bathrobe. The minute I walk in the door after a long day of work, it goes on. I’ve never been one for pants, I’m sure many girls can relate. I have a bathrobe for every season and there is nothing I love more than snuggling up in a cozy bathrobe, with a big ole glass of red wine (that’ll come later on the list), during the chilly winter months.
This year, there is only one thing on my Christmas list – who am I kidding, my Christmas list is really really long – let me clarify: the thing I want THE MOST is an Ugg Bathrobe. I’ve gone into stores, stroked the soft material, stared longingly, subtly hinted (ha!) to Tim, and coveted this one bathrobe. It has pockets for God’s sake. It’s lined with the softest fleece, it’s the perfect length, without too much bulky material, and I’ve got to have it…and I bettcha one of your loved ones has to have it too.
Wine – and the glass it goes in
We already know my love of champagne, and I don’t think I need to explain why wines of all kinds are the best way to ring in the holiday season. A bottle of wine makes the perfect hostess gift (which I’ll cover next month,) but the importance of the wine glass is not to be overlooked.
Have you ever had one of those moments where you realize you’re turning into your mother? Well, mine happened recently while Tim and I were trying to decide where to go out for dinner. He threw out a suggestion and I replied: “No, I don’t want to go there, they have really bad wine glasses.” “I married my mother-in-law.” He replied dryly. Ok, so it’s a little high maintenance to rule out a restaurant over their glassware, but I think my mom is onto something. Wine glasses serve a purpose, not just to hold the liquid, but to enhance the experience. I’m sorry, but you simply can’t properly sniff the bouquet of a zinfandel out of a cheap wine glass from Walmart – you just can’t!!!!
As a wedding gift one of our friends got us a set of Riedel Vinum XL wine glasses. They are as big as your face, no joke: one glass holds an entire bottle. They are the best wine glasses ever and I don’t think I could possibly drink from anything else. It’s like decanting a single glass, there is so much room to swirl and spin – just watch your pour – 6 ounces looks like nothing! It’s the perfect gift for the oenophile on your list!
I don’t know what more I can say other than since purchasing my Le Creuset dutch oven, I haven’t used another pan. I’m not exaggerating. I use it for everything, I fry eggs in it, I make soups, I make pasta, I caramelize onions…I fold my laundry it in, I do my taxes in it…it holds me at night. Ok – I’ve gotten off track.
It is legitimately the most versatile cooking vessel I own, and my life is better for it. They are a little pricey, but I’m not sure there is any better way to show you love someone than to gift them a Le Creuset dutch oven. The colors are beautiful and classic, and the gift will last a lifetime. I could go on forever…I could write mine a sonnet…I’m going to stop now before I start weeping.
Fur Coat or Vest
Last year at Christmas, my mother gave me one of my grandmother’s minks. It’s a stunning snow white color, three quarter length sleeves, and her initials carefully stitched on the inside. It was one of the most special, thoughtful, and fabulous gifts I have ever been given. I found myself opening up our coat closet in the middle of a summer heat wave willing snow to fall, just so I could wear this beautiful fur. I don’t expect everyone to give the gift of a family heirloom this year, but luckily fur is in, (and always will be – sorry PETA) and there are tons of great faux fur coat options available today.
A fur coat or vest is the best way to stay warm and add a little glamour to an outfit. The Oasis Animal Print coat from ASOS is a great everyday winter coat, since leopard print can and should definitely be a staple in any glamour gal’s wardrobe. Perhaps you want something slightly more understated, in which case a faux fur vest in a neutral color is the way to go. This faux from Hinge is the perfect versatile and cozy fur.
So there you have it, Six Superfluous and Superficial things that I am thankful for this year. I hope everyone has a very happy and safe holiday, and remember, try to be nice when shoving your neighbor at Target!