Fashion & Beauty

To Give and to Get

November 27, 2018

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AFTER ALL the Thanksgiving hoopla, I was finding it hard to focus on that next big holiday on the calendar. In particular, I was running on empty when it came to gift ideas, let alone interesting ones. So, as I’ve often done in the past, I checked in with my fab MyLittleBird colleagues—Nancy, Mary and Kathy—for their suggestions on what to give and also what they’d like to see under the tree for themselves! Nancy found some wild pajamas; Kathy is asking Santa for Fragonard soaps and Mary is hoping someone among her family and friends wants a terrarium. Thanks for your input, team, and to Stephanie, who has already weighed in with her garden-inspired thoughts. See below for some inspiration for your own list. And, as long as you’re asking, I did come up with a few of my own ideas.

JK Adams slate cheese board from Cityscapes Collection.

JK Adams, the Vermont company of butcher-block renown, has these clever new cheese boards made of charcoal slate. We have the Washington DC skyline on ours—it’s part of the JK Adams Cityscapes Collection. There are seven other cities represented:  Boston, Chicago, Denver, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle. At 5 by 12 inches, they’re not humongous, but at $20 they’re a great hostess or even regular gift.

Nancy:  No, I don’t want to drink absinthe and don’t know anyone who does. But how cool will this 19th-century repro absinthe carafe look on your favorite friend’s bar cart? The Absinthe Loupe Carafe (left) is $49 at Frontgate. In olive-growing areas of Italy, where people take their olive oil seriously, they take these handsome stainless-steel containers to the local cooperative frantoio and buy their oil for the coming year. Now, I use a lot of olive oil but not this much—I just want to feel a bit more italiana. This two-liter stainless container with spigot (right) sits on a stand, is by Sansone and is $89.95 at, which sells it as a water dispenser.


Kathy: There isn’t much I want, but I can always find lush throws, fancy room sprays, goofy Christmas ornaments I’d like to give to friends and family. I think once we get to our age we have just about everything we want. Certainly everything we need. And then experiences become more important than things. So I suppose if there is something I’d want it would be for Santa to spring for one of those Viking River cruises along the Danube or some other European river.



Nancy: It wasn’t until I stayed at a fancy (and traditional-minded) hotel in Istanbul that I understood what “Turkish towels” really are. They NOT the heavy, bulky things we seem to prize by weight. They’re gossamer-thin, truly absorbent cotton towels that are making themselves known here at home. Antiochia offers a wide array, different colors, different trims. Hand towels are a generous 20 x 40 inches and $18 each. The 40 x 70 -inch bath towel is $38. They’re at Antochia Home. I’d be happy to give a couple of these as gifts and would be equally happy receiving some myself.
Nancy: Am I the only person who would like vintage images of elephants stomping all over me while I sleep? Okay, then, give them to me! The elephants are rendered in indigo and black on a white ground. These Vintage Safari Pajamas (left) are $174 in sizes small, medium and large from Olive and Cocoa. Mary: Because Christmas is in the winter I like to get cozy wool and cashmere things, scarves and sweaters. Once I even got cashmere tights that I’ve relied on ever since for extremely cold days. These Natori Cashmere-Blend Sweater Tights (right) are $68, Nordstrom.
Nancy: This adorable Faux Fur Star Sweatshirt (left) from Derek Heart is great for little girls who can wear it—in pink, aqua or navy—without worrying if it makes them look fat. It’s on sale for $19.99 at Lord & Taylor. Janet: Joseph’s Stretch Leather Leggings are on my wish list. They’re a spendy $1,185 in navy, but nobody does pants better than this brand. And if I wanted them in olive green, they could be mine for $711.

Kathy: If Santa has maxed out his credit cards, there is one other thing he might consider giving me and that’s a year’s supply of my favorite Fragonard Olive Oil Botanical Soap (left). It’s the one thing I’ve splurged on since a French friend gave me a bar years ago. And now I give it to my friends, too. $19 may be a lot to spend on a bar of soap, but the lavender fragrance is divine and the dense, luxurious bar lasts a month. I usually buy six bars at a time at Fragonard. Janet: They make this Santa Maria Novella Potpourri (right) out of a mix of rosemary, clove, thyme and lavender. It supposedly smells like the Tuscan hills. I think it smells better. This bag of 100 grams is $35.

Mary: If I could think of someone besides me who likes terrariums, I would give them as gifts. This double-decker terrarium (left, note: you have to add plants yourself) is $48 from Terrain, a sibling of Anthropologie. Janet: Nothing makes coffee seem more special than when it’s topped with a foamy froth of milk. It makes Wednesday feel like Saturday. Which is why I’m so very happy with my Nespresso Aerocinno 4 Milk Frother  (right) and would be glad to give it to a very good friend. It’s $119 at Sur La Table.
Mary: I often find scarves, shawls and other accessories for friends from the Museum of Modern Art catalogue. Extra Long Touch Gloves (left) not only add valuable real estate for warmth but also allow for dextrous texting. One size fits most. $19.95 at MoMA Design Store. Nancy: Yes! Your iPhone has a flashlight so you can see where you dropped your keys. Now it can also have a protective cover that turns into a mirror when the phone is in locked mode. The Fifth & Ninth Beauty Glass is $25 or $30, depending on your iPhone model. Yay!
Nancy: Very handsome, very confusing. Not to get all gender-y about it, but I imagine women across the land fussing in the kitchen before a party while the men are very, very busy at the bar trying to infuse something with something using their new Porthole Infuser. It can be used to make infused oils, or to make flavored syrups that can become the star ingredient of a yet-to-be-named cocktail. The Porthole Infuser is $149 at Frontgate.


Janet: There’s a recipe in Yotam Ottolenghi’s and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem cookbook, Roasted Chicken With Clementines & Arak, that makes me, a so-so cook, look like a star. Ottolenghi has recently come out with a new one, Ottolenghi Simple: A Cookbook (left, $21, Amazon) that promises dishes made in 30 minutes or less with 10 or fewer ingredients and a single pot. A definite for my friends of similar cooking caliber. I have a brand-new glossy kitchen with a despicable-looking dish rack that’s old as dirt. This minimalist, Japanese-designed Wood-Handled Dish Rack (right) might even change my attitude about washing dishes. It’s $65 from Food52.

—MyLittleBird Staff


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2 thoughts on “To Give and to Get

  1. Nancy G says:

    Great ideas, ladies. Thanks!!

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      Thanks, Nancy. We had fun thinking about them.

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