House Beautiful

Tag Archive for 'Christmas'

Holiday Gift Guide: for Dudes

{all images via here}

Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood mornin’ and HO-LY pajamas, that’s a good way to start a post.  GYAH.  Who needs a towel?  …Just kidding Mom.  Anyhoo – when it comes to buying for boys, listen.  I’m not saying I have the key to One-Eyed Willie or anything, but what’s with all the hokey, stereotypical “manly man” gifts I keep seeing this year on gift guides for guys?  Wood grain cufflinks (whaaaaaaat?), wine-glasses-inside-a-beer-glass (wait, who?) and every useless object you could possibly imagine in the shape of a gun (why, why why).  The list goes on.  So, I don’t presume to know exactly what guys want for Christmas, but I’d betcha my left nut it’s not any of those things.  So since I wanted to dole out some tried & true, testosterone-approved options, I enlisted the help of my other half to help me edit and round out my list.  Because he’s a down-to-earth guy’s guy – loves beer & sweatpants & Ohio State Football, but he also has the snobbiest most spot-on taste of ANY person I know.  Heeeeey, Sugar hey!

Matty’s the best…  just ask Tim.  Now then:  hold please while I beat my chest and prepare to unleash this bomb diggity list……………………………………

1. The BIG GREEN EGG.  Also code for a big green wad of cash, so this is definitely an investment.  Generally speaking, they run from the $300’s on the low end (for the mini) to almost $1200 on the higher end for the XL Heavy Duty.  Apparently, this thing can do anything…  slow roast a Thanksgiving Day turkey, smoke a brisket, or sear a steak (temperatures can hold steady at 200 and get above 600).  A lot of the hubbub comes from the fact that the shell is ceramic…  therefore it holds heat perfectly inside without temperature fluctuations, but even at its highest temp is still cool to the touch outside.  My former boss told me it was the best thing he’s ever bought in his entire life.

2. The ART OF SHAVING 4 ELEMENTS OF THE PERFECT SHAVE KIT, $60.  When I first saw this, I thought it was one of those hokey gifts rigged to be a default item for holiday shoppers not knowing what to get the men in their life…  almost like the boy-version of the Bath & Body Works Sun-Ripened Raspberry gift basket, popular the world over circa 1997.  But then, this dapper kit got the unsolicited endorsement of one very sophisticated gent we know.  He said that if you have 20 minutes to spend shaving (for a big interview, special occasion, whatever) then it will literally be THE best and smoothest shave you’ve ever had.  A little luxury for the boys doesn’t hurt, eh?

3.  BILLY REID ‘JACKSON’ SHAWL COLLAR SWEATSHIRT, $195.  Kinda casual, kinda woodsy, kinda preppy, and ultra dilf-y.  Yeah, I said it. The sweatshirt dresses it down, but the shawl collar dresses it back up a little – so it’s perfect for your family’s Christmas party or for a snazzy dinner on the town.  Or, while he chops down a tree in the front yard.  So versatile it might as well be an LBD for men.

4.  PLAYBOY’S GREATEST COVERS, $24.  Selected by Hef himself out of all the covers from 1953 to today, and with a foreword by Pamela Anderson.  I’d love to roll my eyes, but I did just say “DILF” up above.  Matt calls it “the gift that keeps on giving.”  Truth be told, I suppose it’s a pretty cool, historic piece of American pop culture.  Did I just say that outloud??  This blog post will self-destruct in 5 seconds.

5.  ARC’TERYX THETA SL HYBRID JACKET, $369.  The website says, “Lightweight, packable, waterproof GORE-TEX® jacket, designed for emergency storm-protection in inclement weather.”  Matt – whose Mom bought him one years back – says, “It’s far better quality than North Face or Columbia, but they’re just a Canadian brand still flying under the radar.  And it’s colder up there, so those guys definitely know what they’re doing.”  Bahhaha, I’ll take it.  And after having walked Gus in it for an hour in frigid weather recently, I say:  “Light as a feather but surprisingly keeps you as warm as if you were rolled up in a giant blanket in front of the fire.  That thing is money.”  BANG.

6. MAPS ROCKS GLASSES, $25 per pair.  11oz each and etched with custom wraparound street maps of the following cities:  Seattle, Los Angeles, Boston, South Boston, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland OR, San Francisco, and Washington DC.  I *also* heard a little rumor that custom locations are available…  how cool is that??  And I’m a jerk, because I just checked back and they’re sold out through January.  Sorry about that, guys.  So maybe it’s something to keep in the think tank for his birthday (?!)  I don’t know that these are something a guy would go out and purchase for himself, but he’ll definitely appreciate the understated, minimalist edge you just graced his cabinets & cocktails with.

7. Wait, what’s that in the glass up there??  Could it be FIREBALL CINNAMON WHISKY?  Do yourself a favor and pick up a little bottle of this at your local liquor store for your favorite guy.  One cold, rainy night in Columbus, we took home a bottle at the suggestion of the cashier on duty when we asked him what would warm us up.  We also mixed it with some kind of amber beer that night, which was good, but it’s also delightful just to sip (“SIP” being the operative word) on its own.

PS, If you wanted to get really creative, you could gift him a little package with:  a) The Fireball Whisky, b) The Mixers – and here are some recipe suggestions, and c) The set of Rocks glasses.  But since they’re currently sold out, a set of my old faithfuls would do the trick…  $12.99 for a 12-pack.

8.  MICHAEL KORS CASHMERE SCARF, $135.  In dark camel or in black. Yum.

9.  TICKETS TO SOMETHING AWESOME – a concert (e.g., the Stones are playing in Jersey this weekend!), a sporting event (Bowl game?), or a wheelbarrow race – whatever.  Anything he loves.

10.  UGG ASCOT SUEDE MOCCASIONS, $110. THESE. ARE. HEAVEN. And I cannot stop buying them for everyone I know.  He can wear ‘em around the house, or around the corner to Sunday brunch.

11.  MANLY-MAN CANDLESVoluspa’s Suede Blanc (my favorite, $27) and Diptyque’s Feu de Bois (Karrie’s favorite, $60) are two of *THE* best ones out there.  One whiff and you’ll be on the bandwagon.  This is another something that I doubt they’d buy for themselves, but boys like their houses to smell good & clean, too.  And yo – the standard “vanilla”’s gettin’ a little old, right?

12.  WEBER STYLE 6445 STAINLESS 3-PIECE BARBEQUE TOOL SET, $35.  How can your pops, brother, grandpa and hubby flip steaks without ‘em?

13.  WEEKEND SHIRTS3/4 Sleeve Raglan Henley, $22 and J.Crew Oxford Buffalo Check Shirt, $75.  I own the one on the left, and it is nubby paper-thin perfection.  Fits boys better, but I like it to sleep in.  Good staple to stock-up on at that price, too.

14.  BOSE QUIET COMFORT NOISE-CANCELLING HEADPHONES, $299.95.  Since I don’t know diddle about boy-techie-stuff, I had to have Matt weigh-in on these.  And his breakdown went something like this:  “So, you know how everybody knows Samsung makes the best TV’s?  (insert blank stare on my part…)  Well Bose makes the best headphones and sound systems.  And the noise cancelling ones would be awesome if you’re traveling.”

All I needed to know.  Who doesn’t wanna drown out the sound of the screaming toddler next to you on the plane?  Or, maybe you got lucky and got seated next to this guy:


Cushioned Argyle Socks, Set of 3 in assorted colors, $22 | Mustache Coasters, $10 | Two of *THE* most swoon-worthy men’s colognes on the market – Versace Eau Fraiche and Tom Ford Noir | Homeland Season 1 DVD…  aka the best show on television.  Stop what you’re doing immediately and start watching it if you haven’t already. | Alexander McQueen skull tie – Karrie’s pick.  She says:  “There’s a hint of sophistication, and a hint of edge – just like I like my men.” Rawr. | Last but not least…  an old-fashioned mixed tape…  because making someone a homemade mash-up will never go out of style.

Happy Shopping!!


Steph, Karrie, and our trusty guest-blogger, Matt

Dear Santa… Love, Stephie (ca. 2012)

Santy Santy SANTY Claus (!)  It’s me, Stephie. If you must know, I may’ve fouled up a little this year.  Here’s why…

(1) Because I just posted this pic of the Abominable Snowman Karrie, which officially renders me the worst friend in history.  And that’s what she gets for putting chicken nuggets all over my face while I was sleeping, and then posting pictures of it on our blog.  (2) Because I didn’t act my age; not for 1 second of the last 345 days.  (3) Because I got into some *sweet* shenanigans in Mexico.  (4) Because every time I did what I’m doing in this picture, I blamed it on Gus.  (5) Because I pretended to host Thanksgiving, but when it got down to the nitty gritty – doing the gizzard gutting, which is where you separate the girls from the men – I chickened out and made my mom do it.  (6) Because I picked on Karrie’s husband Tim (TEEM!) all year long.  And in my defense, he totally deserved it.

But I can still give you my list and click my heels 3 times and hope for the best, right?  I also did lots of nice things…  like always letting Gus lick the leftover peanut butter off of the butter knife in the morning, supporting my local Goodwill, and giving popcorn to the homeless man with no teeth on the corner of Armitage and I-90.  So with that said, here’s what I’m drooling over this holiday season.  And let’s dream big and start with pipe dreams, shall we?


1.  The CHLOE MARCIE LARGE LEATHER TOTE.  There is nothing in the name of Sam Hill that could ever implore me to spend that amount of cheese on a bag.  Which is why I’m asking you to spend it for me, Santa.  Until then, I’ll continue carrying my nearly 10-year old Furla that’s already been reconditioned twice and is beaten to a pulp.

2.  MADELINE WEINRIB YELLOW & LILAC OVERDYED SUZANI. This thing seriously just made me whoosh my drawers.  But I mean, yo.  There’s not even pricing listed on the site…  kinda like a restaurant menu with no prices.  That’s when you know you’re really in trouble.  So until a money tree sprouts in my backyard, I will continue to pine and peruse lookalikes on Etsy.  Sukan’s Etsy Shop is good for that kinda stuff.

3.  ISABEL MARANT ETOILE TOP…  which I might have to sell my 1st born for.  But isn’t it lovely?

4. The VILLA PALOMA PALM RING from Tiffany’s.  Classic enough to be a great everyday piece, but chunky/wide enough to make a statement.  Everything Paloma designs for Tiffany’s rocks my face off.  Perhaps that’s what happens when your dad’s name is Pablo Picasso – you inherit some creative genius genes.

5.  LEATHER BIKER JACKET by June.  I bought *the* perfect leather jacket in Florence (Italy) 3 years ago, but I bought it in the wrong color because I was trying to branch out, and now I never wear it.  Next time, it’s black leather or bust.

6. CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN PIGALLE 100 PATENT-LEATHER PUMPS. Because I have about 8 pairs of crusty pumps I no longer wear, so at $80-ish a pop (times 8), that would *almost* justify this purchase in a quality not quantity sort of way…  right??


Phew, that was fun.  But since I’m a mortal, not a Kardashian, here are some more down-to-earth ideas for Santy Claus…

1. I absolutely positively need this iPHONE 4/4S LEATHER WALLET SLEEVE, $50.  Because I change bags – from my work bag to my crusty Furla bag to weekend clutches  – about 5x/week.  Which means my credit cards, license and iPhone that are loose in each bag get lost about 5x/week.  If I could pop my necessities in this little ditty and then just pop that from bag to bag, I’d be all set.

2.  STACKABLE, MISMATCHED VINTAGE RINGS, in shades of vintage gold and turquoise, comme ca:

via | via

But quite often, glorious images like the above get pinned from those sites where you can never, ever track back to the original source.  Better to scout them at estate sales and antique stores and layer ‘em over time, but below are some close seconds I found on the fly:

1 – Heart Ring, $32 (large) – had it and lost it in the ocean in Cabo | 2 – Turquoise Stones Ring, $72, size 8 | 3 – Erie Basin assorted gold rings | 4 – Gold Feather Ring, $17.

3. NIKE ZOOM STRUCTURE TRIAX RUNNING SHOES, $99.  In size land canoe (10).  I have been a long-time devotee of the Asics Gel Kayano, but these were just as cushy without being bulky.  And ever since I had my iPod stolen and ran the treads off my current kicks, my pants have gotten a wee bit tighter.  So, I should probably upgrade my kicks before I bust a seam in my jeans.

4.  VOLUSPA SAIJO PERSIMMON CANDLE, $27.  My all-time favorite – smells like heaven.  Also usually available locally at most Francesca’s chains, and in Columbus at Objects for the Home in Grandview.

5.  H&M POM POM HAT, $15.  Don’t you feel like this is something Ralphie was wearing in A Christmas Story?  Love.

6. EVERYDAY CARRY KEYCHAIN SCREWDRIVERS, $9.  It doesn’t get more utilitarian than this.  Genius!

7.  TORY BURCH TUMBLED LEATHER REVA FLAT in black, $195 (size 10).  I had these in the tan shade up until a few months ago when they mysteriously went missing.  I suspect they are lying in a hole somewhere in the backyard…  or in the pit of Gus’ stomach.

8. KENTON SORENSON iPAD PORTFOLIO IN BUTTERY LEATHER, $190.  Doubles as a chic little clutch-thing…  keeps me from carrying my big honking over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder Swiss Army bag into meetings.9. STATEMENT JEWELRY.  I wanna wear Lulu Frost’s Triple Beach Plum Earrings, $170, with a white t-shirt and jeans, and after that I wanna wear ‘em to a black tie wedding.  Great staple.  Little pricey though.  This WHITE BAUBLE BIB NECKLACE would also get some solid wear and looks way more expensive than it is at $34.99.

10.  TUFTED LINEN DINING CHAIRS from Nest Furniture in Chicago, about $200 each.  I bought only 2 of these before I moved to Columbus because I had visions of mismatched but still perfectly coordinated seating…  but after 6 months of not having found the right chairs to mish-mash with, I realize I made a rook mistake and should’ve bought(en) 2 more.  That one’s for you, Newman.

11.  VINTAGE CHLOE CLUTCH, $35.  And via eBay!  C’est un steal, and perfect to grab before you scoot to cocktails.  BANG – love it.  Need it.  Gotsta have it.

12. A good ‘ol MANI PEDI FROM ATTRACTIVE NAILS in Columbus, $45.  A little pricier than other salons, but they are meticulous and do the best mani-pedis I’ve ever had…  and that includes all the snobby salons I’ve been to in Chicago.  And a word to the wise:  if you want something other than OPI polish, bring it with you, cuz that’s all they stock.

With all that said, I don’t really need anything (well…  except for the Chloe Marcie bag.  Just kidding..  Sort of.)  In fact, it took me a long time to think up enough stuff to fill this list that I legitimately might like to have.  2012 has been by far the best and happiest year of my little existence, so as long as I can take a little Christmas break and not think about work, hang out with my family & friends in my sweatpants, spoon Gus, watch It’s a Wonderful Life, and eat frosted sugar cookies, I’ll be happier than a pig in sh*t.

Stay tuned this week for Gift Guides (!)  For the Home, For Her & For Him.  True to form, Karrie and I are coming out with ours about 2 weeks late.  Whoosie daisy.

Merry Christmas to you!!