An Enthusiastic "Essentials" Holiday Gift Guide

If you're anything like me, you pride yourself on getting people things they would never think of getting themselves. The kind of gifts they wish they had thought of sooner. I'm not one for over-the-top presents, but rather things that I know people will use (or I feel they should use...but I swear I don't try to push anything on anyone!)

Last holiday season, I created gift guides by category:
Two holiday seasons ago, I created my first ever gift guide that had all of the above categories included (warning: it's behemoth.)

This season? I'm giving you my absolute gift essentials based on (drum roll) things I own, bought, or have been given that I literally feel like I can't live without. This might be my most useful gift guide yet...

There are so many essentials that you can get someone (or yourself) under $25. A few of my favorites?
MAC Lipstick in Ruby Woo ($16)
The perfect red. If you have a friend who always laments that she can't find a red that looks good on her, this is the answer. 
On Love: A Novel by Alain de Botton ($9.03)
I have an eternal crush on Alain de Botton and it all started with this little book that is something anyone who's been in a relationship can relate to. You'll find yourself nodding and smiling a lot while you read this one.
D.V. by Diana Vreeland ($12.48)
Diana Vreeland is an inspiration. There isn't and never will be another woman like her. She took the fashion world by storm and captured the hearts of so many people. This book is her account of her life...a life of "faction"...part fact. Part fiction. All wonderful.
Grace: A Memoir by Grace Coddington ($19.77)
Grace Coddington created almost every single editorial photo shoot I ripped out of Vogue growing up and I didn't realize it until many years later. Grace is a force...and she also had an amazing life. I didn't want this book to ever end.
We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen ($19.71)
One of my favorite epic tales. This doozy is basically three books in one, spanning three generations of a seaside town. If you like tales of love, war, and the sea (or you have a friend that loves that stuff), this is a winner. 
Uniqlo 2Way Stole ($19.90)
OMG, best thing ever. I've worn it as a poncho. I've worn it as a scarf. I've even worn it as a head covering during light rain. This is the most versatile accessory I've gotten in years.

Got a little extra to spare on your gifts? There are some lovely finds under $50 like these!
Nars "The Multiple" (in Orgasm) ($39)
Hands down best blush I've ever had. It's creamy and illuminating and isn't difficult to apply (smile and touch it to your cheeks.) Not only that, but you can also use it on your lips and eye lids. It's basically fail proof. For the make-up newbie or the friend who refuses to spend more than 3 minutes getting ready in the morning. 
Josie Maran Argan Illuminizer ($28)
When I don't get enough sleep, am super stressed, or completely dehydrated and looking a little grey in the face, this illumizer makes me look like I got 10 hours of sleep and went to the spa. Use it on the inside corners of eyes, on cheekbones, and cupid's bows to get an undeniable glow. Your hard-partying friends will thank you for this one. 
A Money Tree ($29.99)
I have three of these in my apartment. Possibly the easiest plant to grow. Have a friend that swears they kill every plant they even look at? Give them one of these, tell them to put it by a sunny window and water it once a week. The end. The easy way to tastefully add color to any apartment or home. (Bonus: Get them a nice pot to go with it.) 
Swedish Vases ($26 - $30)
Speaking of things you can put plants in, I'm obsessed with vases. Fill them with dried leaves, sticks, fresh cut flowers, bundles of leafy stalks. Vases are functional works of art. Seriously, there are few things as lovely as having some fresh cut flowers on a desk while you work. I'm a fan of these particular ones because they're neutral without being boring.

Ok, we're getting bit pricier now, but it's totally worth it. I'm obsessed with all of these things.
Artelier Cologne Travel Perfume with Personalized Leather Case ($100)
Ok, technically not "under 100", but just at $100. 
I love Artelier Cologne fragrances. They're so luxurious and rich. So, if you have a friend who travels often but doesn't want to check their bag, this travel perfume is perfect. You can get a personalized leather case with their initials too, which really makes it special. (30ml perfume is $75, the case is $25.) 
And if you're in the market for perfume, you can get the 30ml travel bottle and personalized leather case for free if you purchase a 200ml bottle. Just sayin'. 
Brooke Corson Tiny Flat Bar Posts ($100)
Another one that's just at $100. 
I bought these bar post earrings maybe five months ago, put them on at the store right after purchasing them and haven't taken them off since. They are perfection. Minimalist, but not boring and the perfect size. (Some bar earrings are too big, some too small...I can get pretty Goldilocks about certain things.) They go with everything
And they're 14k gold. NOT gold plated, so you don't have to worry about them peeling and getting weird and gross. These earrings are in it for the long haul.
Adidas Classic Stan Smith Sneakers ($75)
I'm between these and Nike Air Force One Mids for "Best White Sneaker" - I own both. These are comfortable, minimalistic, go great with slacks, jeans, skirts. They are definitely one of the ultimate fashion sneakers of the moment. They make conservative outfits look so fresh. 
Restoration Hardware Luxury Plush Robe ($49 - $69)
It's questionable how many hours a day I spend in my Resto robe. It's the first thing I put on when I get out of bed and the last thing I take off at night. It keeps me cozy when Charles wants to crank the AC up and is the perfect pillow for my dog to curl up on. 
I got my robe at least two years ago and I still wear it religiously. Give it to your homebody friend or the one who works from home...or the overworked one who needs to learn how to relax.

Ok, now we're getting into some higher priced items. However, again, I stand by each and every one of these things. The quality can't be beat.
Hunter Packable "Tour" Boots ($148)
My brother and sister-in-law gave these boots to me one Christmas and they're the best things ever. I travel to NYC once a month and when the rainy season or snow comes, the last thing I want to do is pack big, heavy rubber boots. These Hunter boots are flexible enough to roll up and stash in their carrying bag, but durable enough to wear in crazy snow and rain. 
These babies saved my life during the polar vortex last Fashion Week. So, if you have a friend who travels often and needs to brave the elements, these boots are a must. 
Mason Pearson Mixed Bristle Brush ($138)
Love this brush. Goes through my hair like it was made of butter, doesn't damage, doesn't snag. It's great for teasing or smoothing. Ask any hairstylist, this brush is a must-have if you have hair. It's also beautifully designed, so you won't feel the need to hide it away once you're done with it.
Madewell Transport Tote ($168)
This bag changed my life. Do you have a friend who loves minimalistic style, but always ends up with a bag with a handle? Are they always carrying their bag in the crook of their elbow? Do they complain about it being heavy or it not allowing them to properly use two hands? 
That was me before this bag. Now it's one of the only bags I use. It's such a simple, clean design and it's so easy to carry around and throw things into. It's fantastic! 
Tatcha Ritual Set for Normal + Combination Skin ($395)
Ok. I know this is expensive, but hear me out. I live and breathe Tatcha when it comes to my skin. Once you try it, you can't go back. Ever since I discovered it, my skin has been a billion times better. So, be warned. 
This is for the person who commits to taking care of their skin, enjoys avoiding wrinkles, and doesn't mind taking the time to properly massage, wash, rinse, and moisturize. What you get is gorgeous skin thanks to the secrets of geishas in Japan. 
All Saints Sentai Klein Coat ($540)
Just got this coat. Obsessed. Plan on wearing it until I'm 120 years old. The boxy, cocoon tailoring is modern, but timeless. Perfect for a minimalist aesthetic. Not only that, but you can wear bulky sweaters underneath it and it's not annoying. A.k.a a miracle during the colder seasons.
And there you have it. A solid list of things I use constantly and absolutely love.

If you've already finished all your holiday shopping then I 1) commend you for doing so and 2) suggest using this as a post-holiday "things to get myself" guide instead. That works, right?

Hope your holiday seasons is going well. Happy shopping! xo!

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