Merry Belated Christmas and Happy Almost New Year!
How are the holidays going in your glittering world? So far, so good for me…I just got back to Philly yesterday after spending the past few days with friends and family in Pittsburgh. It was really nice to see my extended family and friends from high school for the first time in a while, especially since El Niño has made it super warm here lately.
(We’ve been really lucky that way, but I know many of you have not, so I hope everyone’s doing okay in this crazy weather, and it mellows out soon. See how El Niño is affecting farmers, including coffee growers and cultures all over the world in this article from the Wall Street Journal.)
Of course, one of the fun parts of any Christmas gathering is giving and receiving special gifts, and I felt like I really gave and received some good ones. Not to “Tuite” my own horn, (my last name is pronounced “toot” if you didn’t get that cheesy pun) but I especially liked some of the gifts I gave this year. The recipients may or may not have been that impressed, but I felt like I found some cool, new stuff during my shopping trips that my loved ones would…well, love.
Here are some of my favorites that I gave and received this year (in no particular order), including the reasons why they were so awesome:
We got Mike (the bf)’s mom this lightning cable charger bracelet for her iPhone®, and I thought it was such a great idea for pretty much anyone. It’s easy to throw the little wall charger into your purse, but it’s a pain to have the cord tangled up in there, so why not keep it wrapped around your wrist instead, keeping it untangled and using it as a shiny accessory? This one has a little sparkle, and it’s pretty neutral, so you can wear it almost every day. And like me, I know his mama loves wearing black with metallics, so I thought it was perfect. Hopefully she did too!
In keeping with tech-cessories, I received the Apple Watch from the best boyfriend ever on Christmas Eve Eve. He definitely won Christmas this year, especially because he sneakily checked out the different Watch models and colors with me at the Apple store in the mall, so he knew the exact one I wanted. *That’s a good idea to keep in mind for future gifting…pay attention to what the recipient says about items they want for themselves when you’re out shopping together for other people. Then you can sneak back and grab their faves another day!
If anyone on your list has a nut allergy, you must become familiar with Vermont Nut Free Chocolates. My brother is highly allergic to all types of nuts, so I’ve ordered a bunch of their products a handful of times for him. Their products are guaranteed safe for anyone with a nut or peanut allergy, and they have a huge variety of treats. My brother seemed particularly excited for the Pretzel Caramel Bark since most bark usually has nuts in it…I’m guessing he’s never had any type of bark before this, and that’s just not right. He also really likes the TANABAR granola bars, crispy chocolate bars, chocolate coins and trail mix, all of which are otherwise nearly impossible to find without nuts. Everything is well made, nicely shipped and worth every penny.
Get ready to see these in upcoming blog posts because they’re both so perfect and so cute. Both my mom and Mike’s mom each got me an adorable hand stamped coffee spoon made by some talented ladies. The I ♥ Coffee spoon is from Milk and Honey Luxuries and the one on the right is from For Such A Time Designs. They each have a huge variety of options, so even if tea or cereal is your game, you can still spoon in style. You may have seen both of these on Etsy if you’re as obsessed with browsing their app as I am. *Gifting tip: Mike’s mom found hers on my Pinterest page, which is a great way to find gift ideas for someone without directly asking them. I have an ‘I want that’ board for products I come across, which I never intended to use as a wish list, but you can see it worked out well anyway!
Another idea Mike’s mom got from my Pinterest page was this Hot Pink Pantone Coffee Maker. I haven’t used a brewer like this before, so I’m really excited to try it out. Plus, if you’re into graphic design then this is a doubly great gift because it’s made by PANTONE®, basically the world’s standard color expert.
The most inappropriate gift of the season ironically went to my mom and dad. They’re big on board games at their mountain house, mostly because there’s not much else to do on a cold winter night in the middle of the woods. Recently, they got Cards Against Humanity, and we had a hilariously uncomfortable time playing as a family, so I decided they needed to expand their collection for future unbearable visits. I got them a few expansion packs and what’s known as The Bigger Blacker Box to keep everything together. (It also comes with a hidden surprise if you can find it…somehow my mom knew about it as soon as she unwrapped the box, so clearly it was an item she had been eyeing up.) Just don’t get this gift for anyone who’s easily offended or lacks a sense of humor…they say it themselves, it’s “a party game for horrible people”.
Here’s how I know I’m old—some of my favorite gifts included bathroom towels, a George Foreman Grill and a Dirt Devil for cleaning my stairs and upholstery. I LOVE receiving home necessities as gifts from my parents because they’re things that, as terrible as it sounds, I hate spending my own money on. I want my stairs to be clean, and I want to make delicious paninis…I just want to buy gourmet coffee and designer handbags more.
As you know, I’m clearly more of a coffee person than a tea person. I really never drink tea unless it’s iced, but I knew Mike’s mom has been drinking tea lately instead, so when I saw the DAVIDsTEA shop at King of Prussia mall, I ran right in. First of all, it smells delicious in there, and everything is so pretty. Second, it seems like a really fun brand to get into if you like tea. They had what seemed like hundreds of types of teas, plus mugs with infusers and all the accessories you need to make a great cup. It kind of made me want to start drinking tea, so I could keep up with all their seasonal flavors and carry around the cute mugs, but alas, I have enough warm beverages in my life. Hopefully she likes it, so I can keep going back for more! *Bonus: their holiday collection is on sale now, so check out their online shop or find a real life store near you!
One of the simple things I look forward to each year is fun socks from my Aunt Jan. She’s always super generous with her gifts, and she remembers that cozy, silly socks help me get through the cold winter with a smile. This is one part of your outfit you don’t need to take seriously…most of the time.
If you’re reading this and you’re thinking, “Hey! I gave Erica a frickin great gift, and she didn’t mention it!”, then I apologize. I received way more amazing, thoughtful gifts this year than I expected, and I continue to be spoiled even as I approach 25 years old, so unfortunately there’s just no time to list them all. Plus, people have insanely short attention spans, so I doubt they even got this far in the list. If you did, I appreciate you and your laser focus. Get ready to keep the holiday spirit going with a caffeinated New Year’s cocktail recipe later this week!!