House Beautiful

Steph’s Holiday Gift Guide 2018

Karrie and I have done Gift Guides at the Holly-days for as long as we’ve had this blog, I think. And we will say – they are SO FUN and we do get so much good feedback (“OMG I WAIT FOR THIS EVERY YEAR BEFORE I BUY ANYTHING FOR SO-AND-SO” // “WHEN IS THE GIFT GUIDE FOR GUYS COMING OUT? I’M LOST.”)  Our families are equally as reliant on the wishlists we do for ourselves… my Mom actually threatened to go rogue the other day if I didn’t cough this up. But we’d be lying if we said they aren’t a struggle to put together these days (cuz we’re hard-pressed to think of anything we really need), and also because we also feel a twinge silly doing them… cuz we’re old AF.

TRUTHFULLY, All I really want is:

For Gus to live forever

To hang out with my Grandparents (hey Bud! hey Ruthie! hey Nanny!)

To eat pasta with butter for every meal and never get fat

For Corepower to open a location in Crested Butte

For my entire family (and Chris’) to fly to Colorado so we can all post-up in a cabin in the woods with no wifi and play board games and sit around in PJ’s and watch movies and drink cocoa. But you know what Bud always said: “Honey, wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which one comes true first.”

To stay in good health, because I’m now at the age where things starts to fall apart and it’s scary

To buy a house… trickier since I’m a 1099-er and like to live in places with an insane cost of living.

Oh I’m sorry… did you want a gift guide you could pull from and actually use?  K.. here are some goodies I rounded up – for yours truly but also pour tous-les-femmes:

1. Eberjey Gisele PJ Set in Ivory & Navy, size L, $120. #1 on my list for a reason: Because I’m 37 and I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to traipse around my boyfriends’ parents’ house this Christmas season in my tattered (but so cozy!) men’s boxer briefs from college. It might be time to graduate to a for realz pair of PJ’s. 

2. Personalized Stationery.  This is the Agate Teal design from Minted and it’s real pretty.

 

3. Bodum Chambord 8-Cup French Press in Gold, $49: Because who doesn’t need a French Press the color of Trump’s toilet? Just kidding – we got a Nespresso a few years ago, and it works great and makes delicious coffee, but the Pods legit cost 1 ovary each. Plus, we kinda love a cup of good ol fashioned French Press coffee. I have one, but it’s only a 4-cup – since this one is an 8-cup, it means we can pour for everyone when we have overnight guests without having to boil like 19 rounds of water. Plus, it’s gold… *ting!*

4. Matteo Crochet Duvet Cover & Standard Shams, $234.50 (Queen duvet) + $144.50 (pair of standard Queen shams). 20% off this week on One Kings Lane. Matteo is the mac daddy of bedding and the bedding equivalent to your favorite pair of Levi’s you never want to take off. I’ve had this in my cart for a few years.

 

5. Oliver Peoples Marianela Sunnies in Washed Rose/Burgundy Gold, $326. I realize the price of these is ridiculous, which is why they’re on my eBay and Poshmark saved search lists… But I tried them on on a shopping day with Vani in Austin earlier this year and legit never wanted to take them off my face.

6. James Michelle Oval Ring, $68: Size 7.5, Gold. So simple and perfect for every day. Love. I have a necklace from James Michelle and it’s the one thing I never take off.

 

7. YogiToes Chakra Mat in Turquoise, Marked down to $43.50 for Black Friday (also available on Backcountry): when I moved to California 5 years ago, one of my high school teammates gifted me & my tattered little soul at the time a free month of yoga at Corepower so I could try out all their classes and figure out which one I liked (still the sweetest gesture – HOOMIE!). I immediately became hooked on HPF (Hot Power Fusion), which is a hot vinyasa class – 105 degrees and a little like Bikram, but 60 minutes instead of 90 and far less militant. Anyhow – still my favorite class (it is not only an a$$ kicking but healing and a savior for your joints), and after every other day in that class x 4 years, I should probably retire my tattered TJ Maxx mat and upgrade. Yogitoes is the tits when it comes to yoga mats.

8. Sko by Joe pottery. Anything by this artist out of SoCal is so beautiful, but I’m a huge sucker for the off-white guy with a crack in the back left… and the little cookies & cream fella in front of him. It’s a struggle to find anything design-wise that I need and think I would love forever, but his pottery fits the bill:

 

9. Delsey Chatelet Plus Hardside Spinner Luggage, $200 on sale at Macy’s for the carry-on size (regular: $500): Um, I got the coolest set of Calpak luggage last year (thanks Dad!), but I think I flew once a week for the entire year, and I quite literally blew a tire in my carry-on. So this is really a suggestion for you gals out there, cuz I already snapped one of these up (after reading a few reviews on the best carry on luggage). Also comes with a 10-year warranty.

10. The Wren Leopard Flat, size 10, $140: This smoking-loafer style flat is my favorite (most comfortable) shape, and omg – zoom in – they’re like UGGS on the inside. GYAH it’s like a mullet version of a shoe – yes please. Also, I had a lady I ran into in town the other day look down and go, “Oh honey, you have on your house shoes!” …cuz I walk around town in my Ugg mocs. Whoops.

11. Ugg Duffield II Double-Knit Robe, $130: Because the only thing better than nestling your crusty feet into a fuzzy pair of Uggs in the winter time is nestling your whole crusty self into this delicious Ugg robe. Oatmeal Heather, Size M.

12. Corepower Yoga Gift Certificate $100 in Gift Cards for $80: I’m actually good on these, but always a good gift for anyone. Best gift ever that someone once gave me, because it forever integrated the practice into my routine which made a huge impact on my well-being.

13. Bluetooth Speaker: for my office, cuz tunes just don’t sound the same coming out of your iPhone and thru the megaphone of a Solo cup… my favorite college trick.

14. St. Roche Sissy Sweater, $375: If you read my Fall post from last week, you know this one is on there. I’m all set on sweaters this year, but if you need a nice gift for a nice lady, this sweater is bananas. Wait check that – I wouldn’t be mad if anyone got this for me.

15. Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer, $400: There isn’t one girl I know that I haven’t heard say in passing that all she really wants is this thing for Christmas.

 

16. Vintage French champagne flutes, S/6, about $50: I put these on a gift guide about 6 years ago and they quickly sold, and I’ve been jonesing for them ever since. I went ahead and bought a set of 6 b/c there are only a few left, but these are a FAB GIFT for anyone who entertains. Also, a set of 12 never hurt…

 

17. Bose QuietComfort Noise Canceling Headphones in White, $269 – Bose noise canceling headphones are the Cadillac of headphones. And this white version is the Cadillac of the Cadillacs. Which means, they’re like the Ferrari of headphones. I never realized what a Godsend these are until I was on a plane with a toddler next to me who didn’t stop screaming for 2.5 hours and I honest to goodness thought my brain was going to explode. Sold out there on Amazon but here on QVC. I actually do really want these.

 

18. Wine Club Membership with Winc Gift Card: We got our friends one of these for their wedding gift, and I swear every time we’re at their house they crack a bottle of whatever they’ve gotten in the mail, and it’s ALWAYS SO GOOD. So to keep me from draining their entire stash, perhaps I should have one of my own.

19. BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Spring Curling Iron, 1-1/4″, $39.99: Because apparently this is the mac daddy of curling irons.

Happy Everything!!!  I can’t promise we’ll be able to crank all the usual suspects out this year but we’ll do our best!  Which ones would be most helpful for your shopping trials?

FOR NOW – here are the last few years’ worth of guys lists, cuz I feel like they’re always the toughest. I just looked back at these and they’re pretty legit: GUYS 2017 | GUYS 2016 | GUYS 2015 | GUYS 2014 | GUYS 2013GUYS 2012

Fall Must-Haves

I meant to do this post 2 weeks ago (whoops) – and considered just shelving it since we’re now *cough* 5 days away from Thanksgiving (how is that possible?), BUT there are so many goods on here to take you into next week and thru the Winter, if you wanna nab em.  Behold, my favorite staples – for the home, for suppa, and for you!

1. Black Elk Peak Candle from Ethics Supply Co, $38: this is the most delightful thing I have in my house right now.  SO GOOD for Fall!  Ethics Supply Co is running 15% off right now if you sign up for their newsletter.

2. B(air) Denim Ankle Skinny Jeans from 7 for All Mankind, $99: On sale from $199, or they have a 30% off with code VIP30 on these Best Sellers and of those, these with velvet stripes are killer… plus free shipping & returns. I have these in a classic fade and also in black and I live in them.  These jeans have just enough shape to hold all the things in and just enough stretch to be forgiving if you wanna slam some mashed potatoes. They’re also higher waisted which I love.

3. Nublado Throw from the Citizenry, $395: My sweet grandmother just rolled over in her grave because I put a $400 blanket on my blog, but HOLY TESTICLE TUESDAY LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL & CHUNKY & DELICIOUS IT IS! Also doubles as a work of art anywhere it’s sitting. If you’re like my family, we don’t throw blankets away until they actually disintegrate: I still sleep with the one I was swaddled in as a baby, and all the afghans we had in my house as a kid are still in a basket beside the couch at my mom’s house. Just sayin… #investmentpiece

4. Tapered Beeswax Candles in Black, $48 for set of 8: I love how unexpected the black is (and so moody!) – though any of the jewel tones would be gorgeous. I think they’re sold out of navy, but also love Forest.  Top image via 100 Layer Cake.

5. This velvet pillow as the crown jewel on your bed. We didn’t have enough pillows in the house (that’s a big fat lie), so I had this one made recently and have an extra. The fabric is a Suzani / vintage textile print on velvet, and it retails for (hold onto your shorts) $350 mother-loving dollars per yard. I wanted something really cozy that brought some color into an otherwise neutral palette (Chris made the wood bed, and those Carolina Irving Patmos Stripe euros are a killer staple, but they needed a friend with some pop).  Sham (no insert) is 31.5″W x 17″H, $150.  Face is this velvet, back is solid linen. I can have a custom-sized insert ordered for whoever gets this gem (prob another $50ish). UPDATE 11/17/18 at 3pm: SOLD! But DM me on Insta or email me at stephanie.m.ballard@gmail.com if you still want one – I had at least 15 people inquire so we can always make more!

6. Goē Oil, $49: This stuff SAVES MY BACON (hands) when it gets cold and dry outside, which is about 8 months of the year where we live. Vaseline Intensive imposter has NOTHING on this goo. Available via Goop or also at Anthropologie.

PS: Did you know women in Colorado age (something horrifying like) 40% faster than women in more humid parts of the country because it’s dry as a damn bone in these parts? Eek. So you better believe I slather this stuff on my hands a few times a day (little goes a long way, and it does soak in quickly). Thanks to one of my fave people & rad clients, Jamie, for turning me onto it! Had she not, pretty sure this would’ve been me in a year:


7. Mulling Spice from Trader Joe’s: I haven’t tried this myself but have heard people RAVING about it and being like: “You will never need to try to make mulled wine from scratch at home ever again.” And thank the goodnesses, because Chris & I tried to mull some wine a few weeks ago, and lemme tell you that it smelled glorious on the stove but tasted very much what I imagine a moldy foot tastes like. All the cinnamon sticks in the world couldn’t help me. Lesson learned.

8. Classic Nubby Sweaters. Sweaters are tough, man! Gone are the days when I can see something that looks cute online and then have it not look like a potato sack on me when it comes in the mail. They’re often either too frumpy or too scratchy or too boxy (*COUGH* Madewell, I’m pointing at you). Or worst of all, they have those giant bell sleeves, perfect for dipping in your soup – I would like to give a good slap to whosever idea those were.  So I don’t buy sweaters often – only when I REALLY love em… (this is me, setting you up for some-of-these-are-stupid-expensive-but-so-amazing-they’re-worth-the-splurge):

Heartloom Elsie Sweater, $68: I just bought this and it’s super cute and cozy. Runs large so size down (I got a small).

Forte Forte Round Neck Giada Sweater, $730: I know, get out of town…I can’t get on board with spending $700-odd dollars on a sweater, but I can get on board with sitting in my H&M sweatpants & dreaming about it, then putting it in my eBay “Saved Search” list and nabbing it when it comes up on supa-sale.

Joie Minava Sweater, $349 – I tried this on at Nordy last weekend and never wanted to take it off. The pic on the model scarcely does it justice – SO CUTE WITH HIGH WAISTED JEANS AND A TOPKNOT. Or a lob, if you have one.

St. Roche Sissy Sweater, $375 because the 80’s remain the best decade ever, and this one has just enough cute details with the perky shoulders and the neck detail and the ribbing at the waist.

9. Creamy Rigatoni with Broccolini & Sausage from What’s Gaby Cooking: I’m foaming at the mouth and can’t wait to make this. Nomnomnomnom.

10. Melbourne Patchwork OTK Boot from Sole Society, $149.95 less 15% off today: These are Karrie’s pick! So rad, good price for what they are, come in a few colors and have great reviews.

Have a great weekend!

xoxo,