The Dress A Day Dozen Gift Guide: #6 Fancy Umbrella

As everyone knows, the perfect gift is something that the recipient wants, but wouldn't buy for her- or himself. And fancy umbrellas fall into this category. Everyone loves them (like the ones above from , $27.99 and $37.99) but nobody wants to buy them, because umbrellas are #1 on Family Feud responses list under "Items You Often Lose." 

Umbrellas are also good "I don't know you very well, but I like you enough to give you a present" gifts, if you stay away from the overly cutesy (nothing anthropomorphized) or the overly branded (no sports logos).

[And we're still on the fundraising drive/Secret Lives poll:]

If we reach $1200 in donations by December 25, I will write a new "secret lives" story, that will include the top-two vote-getters below:

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The Dress A Day Dozen Gift Guide: #5 Birchbox subscription

The idea behind is really simple: they send you a (beautifully wrapped) box of beauty samples (skin cream, makeup, hair stuff) each month, and if you like them, you buy the full-size products in their store (and if review the products you get points towards … more products). A month of samples is $10, and I've gotten at least one sample in each box that I would consider bigger than "sample size".

Everyone knows that the free samples are the best part of buying makeup, moisturizer, or perfume (and that often the "sample size" of something is all you really want) so why not just sell the samples? Genius.

is a very pricey present (you do get one month free, making it only $110) but I have to say I love getting those nice little boxes in the mail … you're basically giving someone a beauty grab bag every month for a year. It's about the same as buying one drugstore makeup item a month … or doing what I do, blunder into department stores to buy expensive lipsticks that don't suit me. If you consider it that way, I actually think I might break even on my Birchbox experience. (8 drugstore foundations, 12-13 clumpy mascaras, or 4-5 expensive department-store lipsticks a year < 1 Birchbox subscription).

[And we're still on the fundraising drive/Secret Lives poll:]

If we reach $1200 in donations by December 25, I will write a new "secret lives" story, that will include the top-two vote-getters below:

The Dress A Day Dozen Gift Guide: #4 Walker Bags

I love these cases from : 

They make fantastic presents — if you pre-load them. A quick trip to the drugstore or dollar store and you can give a great emergency kit: aspirin, nail files, safety pins, bandaids, gum, lip balm … you can also add a $20 if you're so inclined.

NYCers: They sell these at Ricky's and they often go on clearance in January — stock up for next year! And if you live near a Kinokuniya or a you can find similar bags there (although Walker's are the nicest, and they're based here in San Francisco …)

 

[And we're still on the fundraising drive/Secret Lives poll:]

If we reach $1200 in donations by December 25, I will write a new "secret lives" story, that will include the top-two vote-getters below:

Vogue 5121: Girl's Night Out

Birgit sent me the link to this ages ago — I can't believe it's still available at . Don't these girls look out for a good time?  They all look loaded for bear, but my money is on the brunette in teal. 

I think view D is the prettiest dress — even in basic black. 

The fundraiser is still going strong — remember, if we hit $1200 by Christmas, there's a new Secret Lives story coming! And there are still 3 or 4 prepublication copies of up for grabs for the next few donors … 

 

 

Remember to vote for what you want to see in the story:

The Dress A Day Dozen Gift Guide: #3 LEGO Dynamo Flashlight

You cannot tell me this is not awesome:

Look at that happy face! Look at that glowy foot! It's a LEGO guy! It's a flashlight!  Or, as Amazon puts it, a !

Yes, that's right: no batteries! Crank this little guy up and he glows! 

And: he is under $20. Best. Present. Ever.

[And we're still on the fundraising drive/Secret Lives poll:]

If we reach $1200 in donations by December 25, I will write a new "secret lives" story, that will include the top-two vote-getters below:

The Dress A Day Dozen Gift Guide: #2 Engraved Compact

A present which always looks fancier than it is is an engraved silver compact, like so:

This one is from  (and is only $15) but there are dozens of sites online that offer custom engraving. 

The important part of the gift is the choice of engraving; I like quotes, myself. A great one for a compact is from Ruskin: "Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless; peacocks and lilies, for instance." (Kind of a memento mori, but for prettiness.) Or try Horace: nihil est ab omni Parte beatum.

[And we're still on the fundraising drive/Secret Lives poll:]

If we reach $1200 in donations by December 25, I will write a new "secret lives" story, that will include the top-two vote-getters below:

Happy Birthday, Holly!

Yesterday was birthday, and as a present she’s giving us all a sale: 

 

You have GOT to click on the link to see all the pictures of this stunner. Silk chiffon! Halter-neck! There has GOT to be some alternate universe where I wear this dress every day, right? 

If that universe, for you, is this one, Holly’s sale is 25% off, and runs through midnight (CST) December 4th. Use the coupon code TEENAGER. (Because that’s how old she is, OF COURSE.)

[And we're still on the fundraising drive/Secret Lives poll:]

If we reach $1200 in donations by December 25, I will write a new "secret lives" story, that will include the top-two vote-getters below: