Host Gifts To Delight + Impress

We recently moved to San Francisco and finally opened the last box, which means we can start hosting people again – I love a party! I certainly don’t expect guests to bring anything when they come over, but once or twice I’ve gotten something unexpected and the surprise of it makes me love it more. Which got me thinking: what gifts will make any host smile?

Mini-succulents: These two darlings are from Trader Joe’s ($5 each!), and are a really modern gift idea. We actually recieved these two as a house-warming gift and it was such a nice surprise. Super versatile and you can pop them on a bathroom counter, bedroom dresser or on the mantle! Any local grocery store or Home Depot/Lowe’s would carry these, so they are also easy to find.


Candle: Always a strong option! My FAVORITE candle right now is from Nest Fragrances. Nest has a variety of sizes/fragrances in any price range and the jars themselves are so pretty – they can be repurposed after the candle burns down. The one in the picture below is the 22oz in Grapefruit (it’s such a fresh, citrus, but clean scent!).


Accent plates: These can be used anywhere, including outside the kitchen – bar cart, dresser as a jewelry catcher, bathroom for hair ties, pins. I love the gold in the Rosanna ‘Luxe Moderne’ set and  Jonathan Adler ‘Canapes’. Your friend have a simpler style? Try the polka dots in Kate Spade ‘All In Good Taste’.

Tulips or an Orchid: Tulips in spring are such a dream! 10-12 stems should run you about $10, and if you get a strong pink or yellow color they will pop in any room. Pro tip: Put a penny in the bottom of the vase so the tulips stand straight up day after day. Orchids are also another great plant option, they are usually $15-$20 but last much longer and generally come with a vase.

Wine/Booze (Duh), but with a twist: This one is obvious so if you are going to do it, make it special. Pick a bottle with a really interesting label, or from a place that you know she/he loves. Did they recently go to South America? Try a Chilean wine! Do they love margaritas? Research tequila and find a bottle they haven’t tried. But if you want delight him/her, don’t just grab any bottle off the shelf, put some thought into it!

And if your very best friend moves into her very first house, splurge on some champagne. That bubbly, champagne-popping feeling can’t be beat. Get a bottle of Veuve Rosé or Moët – the host will know you spent a little extra to make them feel special. Then toast together to a new house and a new chapter.




Inspired Gifts for Your Guy

Every year for my husband’s birthday I start thinking about the gift months in advance. Buying for a guy you’ve been with for a while (which means a lot of gifts already given) or who doesn’t necessarily have an obvious hobby (looking at you, golf and music lovers) is HARD. And while experiences are always a solid option, what to do when you want to give a tangible gift? It causes more anxiety than it should. Well fear not my friends, I’ve compiled a curated list of things he’s sure to love. I’ve personally given each of these gifts to someone in my life, each very well-received.

  • Overnight Bag: Every guy needs a great bag he can throw stuff into for 1-2 nights on the road. Now that’s he’s got a job and all that, the backpack from middle school should probably go. J. Crew has plenty of options, like this classic one in blue with brown leather. Or try this gray one from Herschel works if he’s more laid back. Herschel has sturdy duffle bags in tons of colors from funky floral to straight-up all black, so you can choose the one that bets fits his style. And some have a spot below just for shoes. Your bf more of a classic guy? This leather number from Barbour is a little pricier, but he’ll use it forever. Plus, you’ll get to admire your own great taste at every sleepover.
  • Watch: This one’s more obvious, but it’s a failsafe for a reason. Every guy can use a great watch, and you don’t have to break the bank to find one he’ll love. Here are some of my personal favorites in a range of prices.
    • Nixon: These are really well-made, expensive looking watches for a fraction of the price. I got Tim one before, and went for the classic style in brown. Want something more sleek? This one in all black is a winner.
    • Shinola: This Detroit-made brand is very hot right now. Again, a range of styles and prices, here are two I like. The Runwell and The Canfield.
  • Lodge Cast Iron Skillets: There’s no single item that’s gotten more use in our home than our Cast Iron Skillets. You can use them for anything from frittatas, to meatballs, to baked chicken. The beauty is that they can be used stovetop as well as IN the oven for baking. Super versatile. I didn’t even know what they were when my husband got them, and I even use them from time to time. Williams Sonoma has a whole assortment of them for a well-versed chef. Or here’s a good Two-Piece Set on Amazon that’s only $37 if you want to start with the basics. Now sit back and let the frittatas roll in.

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  • Clarisonic: I got my husband one of these 2 years ago for his birthday and his initial response was less than enthused. 2 weeks of using it during his AM shower, and he was obsessed. Now he’s all “my face is so smooth and exfoliated”, like HE’S the one who thought of it. Anyway, if your guy isn’t really into skin care, but you can talk him over the hump into using it, chances are he’ll love it too. He can (and should) use his preferred face wash with it. I find that always has a coupon code, so if you look, you can usually find a recent code for 20% off: Men’s Clarisonic Starter Kit, bringing the price to around $180-ish plus tax.

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  • Personalized Pocket Knife: If your guy is the adventurous type, he will most likely love a personalized pocket knife. Benchmade is a newer company that’s known among the guy community for quality, long-lasting gear. Try one of these “every day carry” Pocket Knives in a variety of styles and price ranges. (Some as low at $100). Don’t forget to add his initials on the blade for that special touch!

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  • His Favorite Thing: Finally, consider another version of something that your guy wears or uses all the time. For example, every year for Christmas, my dad asks for flannel shirts. That’s what he wears every day, but he hates shopping, and if he did buy one it would be the cheapo $5 version at Costco. What makes this present so special to him, is that I go to the store pick out the BEST brand of flannel shirt (Carhartt) in the BEST colors in his exact size. I do all the work for him! That’s the best kind of present. Something that you would love to have but would never buy for yourself.  If your man has a bomber jacket in navy he wears everyday, find one in a different fabric in olive green. Or if he loves coffee, order a couple new roasts for him to try. Does he buy a Pelligrino every day at work? Get a soda stream for the house. Men are pretty straight-forward in their tastes, and chances are, if they love something that much, they are going to be thrilled to get a different version of it.

When all else fails, just ASK him if there’s anything he’s been eyeing lately. It doesn’t make the gift any less special if he gives you a hint, and you can be completely confident he’ll be happy.