I just got my December Golden Tote and I think this service is genius. I tried out their site a few months ago while I was in a clothing rut and fell in love with the whole process. You know that panic stricken feeling you get when you realize you have a bunch of things to go to and you don’t have a ton of options to wear? That happened last week and all of a sudden my Golden Tote showed up (true story!) Basically, you pick out a few clothing items from their site and fill out a style profile, Golden Tote will send them the items they picked along with a few surprise pieces chosen by a stylist. I picked out this white sweater and a cute vest, but the stylists also sent me a pretty dress and some perfect sweaters that I’ve already worn a ton. This would make such a great gift for my sister or a friend!
This post is sponsored by Golden Tote: a surprise shopping spree bundled up in a cute, canvas tote bag and delivered to your door.
We are having a simple Christmas this year but I still made a big ol’ list for Paul to choose from. Just because it is fun to shop in my head. Here is what is on my wishlist, lots of classic pieces and a few personal luxuries. What do you want for Christmas?
A. Sorry I’m Late Tee B. Classic Pajamas C. Copper Chairs D. Plenty by Ottolenghi E. Fiddle Fig Leaf Trees F. Copper Watering Can G. Mason Pearson Brush H. BKR Water Bottle I. Converse All Stars J. Bando Ostrich Pouf K.Wooden Tooth Brush Holder
Last year I did a post on 10 experiences to give instead of stuff. There are studies that say people get more joy out of an experience than something they own. The experiences don’t have to be expensive. Sometimes it can be as simple as reserving a $25 camp site. (ps: Coincidentally we are headed to Seattle next week and we found $75 train tickets.) A coastal train trip would be a cool adventure to give! I’ll report back afterwards on how it went. I hope it looks snowy and beautiful, like this.
Here are 10 0f my favorite things to give (and receive!) this year.
1. Personalized Pencils $7
There are few things more satisfying than having a nice cup of sharp pencils on your desk with your name on them. If you want to go beyond names you can write poetry, personal jokes. (photo via) ” Good for: a Coworker
2. A Poster of the Stars $50
Anything collected by the Hubble telescope is in the public domain. Which means anyone can use it for anything they want. Download the high res files here for free and send it off to the internet to print and you have yourself some lovely artwork. (via Michelle) Good for: a Brother
3. Book Consultation $75
All Erik Heywood does all day long is think about and research books. Old books and new books and hard to find books. You tell Erik what kind of books you are thinking about buying. (ie: I’m looking for books for my husband who is an artist. He likes books about artists and the creative process and especially art books.) Then Erik will put together a book list of 10 books he recommends. He will speak with you over the phone and tell you about each of the books and you can decide which ones to buy. I did this last year and I bought almost his entire list of books and Paul loved them. Honestly, one of the best things I’ve ever done. Good for: Anyone
4. A Pocket Axe $50
This pocket knife has an honest to goodness axe attached. You know, for those times you need to cut down a tree. Every dude I’ve told about this gets ridiculously excited. Good for: a Dad
5. Reference Guide for Leisure Time $7
I made one of these for Paul one year. Basically its a guide for when you find yourself with some free time. To make it you contact all your friends with great taste and expertise and ask them to make a list of 15 great movies or books or restaurants etc. Then you put all the information in a moleskine notebook based on category and you’ve done all the research for the interesting things they can do in their spare time. See more information here. Good for: a Lover
6. Pretty Scissors $18
If you are going to have a pair of scissors around, might as well make them beautiful. Good for: Someone who Appreciates Beautiful Things
7. Exotic Salts $12
These pretty make gorgeous presents for the person who probably has everything. (If you are in the Bay Area go to Boulette’s Larder in the Ferry Building and buy their custom spice mixes. They make the best presents ever.) Good for: A Foodie
8. A Sandwich from a New York Deli $40
Did you know Katz’s Deli in New York will overnight all the fixings anywhere in the US to make an authentic pastrami or corned beef sandwich? Good for: A former New Yorker
9. Instax Mini Camera $99
I still think these make the best presents. Instant film is so fun and I love having tangible pictures around. These are also great to take to a party. You can take pictures of people and then give it to them on the spot. (PS buy film off ebay, its really cheap.) Good for: A Camera Lover
10. Pantone Marker Set $483
A girl can dream can’t she? This Pantone marker set is priced a little out of my budget but maybe someone out there will get to own it. Good for: a Design Junkie
I read that people get more satisfaction over experiences than things so I like the idea of trying to give experiences over stuff that will just end up in a basement someday. Here are some ideas for ten experiences that you can give. Some are big ticket items but others just require you to reserve in advance or do a little digging.
1. Tickets to a Lecture Series $20
San Francisco has the Commonwealth Club where they bring in really interesting people to speak about smart topics. It’s one of my favorite things to do. You can research for interesting lectures in your area or at a local university.
2. A Hot Air Balloon Ride $200
I love hot air balloon rides! They are usually really peaceful because besides the occasional sound of the gas it is really quiet out way up in the sky. It’s such a neat experience to fly over a beautiful valley early in the morning. (Little known fact: My brother is a hot air balloon pilot so I used to work on his chase crew in college.) photo from here
3. Reserve a Campground About $25
Camping is inexpensive but usually the best spots are reserved way in advance. Do the dirty work and get the reservations and tuck them in with a new led headlamp. My favorite spot is Kirby Cove beneath the Golden Gate Bridge.
4. A Train Trip $200
Americans don’t travel by train vary often but it can be a great way to travel. You can get tickets from San Francisco to Seattle for $75. It takes 24 hours and the seats are fully reclining so you can sleep. It’s a cool adventure where you can see a part of America you’ve never seen before. No one has to stay awake to drive so you can read, eat, or just look at the beautiful scenery.
5. Stay in the Human Nest $100
The Human Nest is a treehouse on the California Coast. It overlooks the ocean and is $100/night. It’s not much fancier than camping (you bring your own sleeping bag.) But you get to wake up overlooking the ocean. It books up way in advance so make reservations for sometime in the future and then wrap up a picture for Christmas Day.
6. A Class price varies
A letterpress class, a floral design class, a pasta making class. Give a gift certificate and sign someone up for a class they’ve been meaning to take.
7. An experience about $70
Vayable.com allows you to buy experiences that you wouldn’t normally get. Like a Vespa tour around Paris, a Locals Eating tour around San Francisco, or learn to surf in Santa Cruz. I love this idea and I can’t wait to try out this site.
8. Eating at a Great Restaurant price varies
When I first moved to San Francisco I was really poor and never ate out. One year for Christmas my boss gave me a meal for two at a very fancy restaurant. It’s something I never would have considered doing on my own but felt so luxurious when someone else was paying for it. It’s one of my favorite memories.
9. Anything Where you say “Go Pack Your Bags, We are Leaving in Two Hours!” price varies
Paul surprised me a few years ago with a night stay down at Half Moon Bay on the coast. He could have just told me that he wanted to take off for a few days after Christmas but instead he made it a surprise and it is one of my favorite gifts he has ever gotten me. It doesn’t even have to be anywhere really fancy but the element of surprise makes everything better. My favorite thing to do when I’m procrastinating is look up tickets on Travelocity with the “flexible dates” option. I got tickets to Paris for $400 and Thailand for $600 this way. Keep your eyes peeled and you can get some great deals.
10. Tickets to a Concert or Show
Nothing makes me happier than going to a good concert. It seems like when I was younger I would travel great distances and spend any money I had to go to a great concert. Now I live in big cities where the best artists play and I never make time to go. Buy tickets for their favorite artists and wrap them up with a new cd.
I’d love to hear if you have any suggestions or ideas of experiences to give!