Tag Archives: great gift ideas

2018: Fran’s list of Gifts for Women

Challenged by originality? Remember to be thoughtful.

It’s probably a huge generalization, but I think it’s a lot easier to get a gift for a guy-friend than it is for a girl-friend. Not saying that guys are less sophisticated or that women are overly complex – not at all.I think it has more to do with being a woman, coming up with an original gift idea for another woman.

Originality is the challenge – many men don’t care that much about originality but for us women it’s in the DNA. How about this example: men don’t seem to mind much about showing up to a party with the same Tommy Bahama shirt as another guy. But – if two women show up to the same event wearing the same dress? Disaster!  I went to a black tie party once where THREE women showed up wearing the exact same designer dress. Talk about a problem…

And then, just when you think you’ve come up with the perfect gift idea, she tells you how much she loves your gift from last year –exactly what you thought was so original for this year! That’s why I have a notebook and why I keep track. I don’t do it to impress people that I’m original. I do it to keep myself organized. I love it when I give a gift and the eyes open wide from the sheer joy of receiving something unexpected. I delight in the art of giving in the very same way that I love to entertain guests who come to my gatherings. It’s no fun unless everyone is excited. And itjust so happens that “originality” is a key ingredient for that kind of success.

I’m constantly jotting ideas down all year long as I think of them. It took me nearly the whole year to build my gift lists: one for men, the other for women.  Here’s my 2018 list of Gift Ideas for Women, all thanks to Bloomingdales and Geary’s of Beverly Hills. And watch my video for a close look at all of these lovely gift ideas:

Scarfs from Zadiq & Voltaire. This label is one of my favorite fashion brands.I love all of their designs – especially the grey skulls!

Bedside Crystal Carafe and Glass from Majestic Gifts and a gorgeous tray from Juliska. Now, this is truly special and unique: a bedside crystal carafe on a special tray to keep your friend hydrated through the night. It’s always a good idea to have water by your bedside. If you wake up at night, like I do, it’ll be right there.

TinyTress Press from Dry Bar. Have a friend who has curly hair but wishes it was straight and loves to travel? This is perfect for them. It’s a detailing iron that nice and compact. Great for touch-ups while on the go. And–added bonus—it has a dual voltage feature that’s perfect for global nomads.

Lucky Butterfly from Baccarat. The butterfly is offered in twelve beautiful colors and absolute perfect quality, this is a jewel-like touch for your friend’s table top décor. The butterfly isa symbol of freedom and grace and giving the Papillon Lucky Butterfly is a way for you to express these qualities for your friend.  

Picture Frames from Match1995. I love pewter. And pewter picture frames are an excellent gift:  no polishing, no worries. Match1995 has other perfect gifts, handmade in pewter. This is a favorite brand of mine.

Collectible Animal Figurines from Herend. Start your friend’s collection, or help them take their existing one up a notch.These are truly exquisite collectible animal figurines, such lovely design and craftsmanship. And Herend has so many different little animals in multiple colors and most have a funny side to them (when pigs fly, bunny chef, frog in a meditation pose, just to name a few).

Scented Candles Decorative Candles from the Baobab Collection. Candles are such a lovely thing to add to a home. I love the flickering warmth of a tiny flame, especially when it’s framed inside one of these beautiful glass jars. The great thing is they burn completely down so the empty glass can be used for flowers!

If you love entertaining friends and family at home, then you’re already there for giving fabulous gifts for your friends. All they want is a little sign of your thoughtfulness. Originality comes along for the ride with the joy shared by all.

2018: Fran’s list of Gifts for Men

Putting thought into gifts for men takes a little effort, but it’s so very rewarding.

I admit it. I can get pretty particular sometimes. I still hand-write letters and thank you notes to friends and family. Yep. On paper! I admit my handwriting has gotten a bit sloppy over the years (I spend a lot of time on a keyboard) but I make the effort.  And, I still read a paper newspaper and real books. Oh, I’m not a tech hermit by any means.  After all, I write this blog, right? And I’m pretty engaged on social media (check out Instagram and the latest video about this post). I also love streaming video – so nice not to look at commercials. And I email, text, watch Vines.  You know, the usual.

What I love about newspapers and books is the tactile experience of reading – touching the paper. I can pause, make notes, reflect about the story. Sure, the same can be said about digital copies but, you can’t hold the pages in your hands. And that’s the important part of the experience for me. Real-world paper gives me a real-world connection with the author. So, when I read a newspaper or book, it feels more personal.

I’m just as particular about giving gift cards. As hard as it can be to buy gifts for some friends, a gift card just doesn’t feel like a “real” present.  Where’s the effort? Where’s the feeling of thinking about someone and being inspired to get a gift that fits the friendship and the person?

We all need a little help now and then for ideas. I can understand that. That’s why I take notes when a friend mentions something they love – on my phone – see? – tech can be very helpful! I spend the whole year thinking about my guy friends; about the things that would really make their eyes pop or at least make them smile. And, you can’t get that with a gift card. Not really.

Here’s my 2018 list – Gifts for Men:

Clase Azul Tequila. Maybe you’re thinking, what? Seriously, great tequila is a delicacy that a lot of my male friends really enjoy. And each bottle is a unique work of art. This year, I picked Clase Azul. To be perfectly honest, it’s become one of my favorite sipping tequilas so I make sure I always have a bottle in my bar at home too.

Wine Opener from L’Atelier Du Vin. Everyone needs a good one. And, for those who love wine, invariably you’ll have one or two that are either broken or not great. Get a good one from L’Atelier Du Vin for your friend so he’ll always be able to properly open the bottle of wine you brought to his party.

The Art of Shaving. My dad used to shave with a straight razor. Then everyone went to electric shavers because they were easier. And for a while, hand razors (with 3 or 5 blades) became the thing. Now, some guys are going back to ‘old school’ shaving. The Art of Shaving has them all. But if you really want to open some eyes, get him a straight razor kit, complete with shaving cream and a badger hair brush all in a cool travel kit!

Beanie & Scarf from Bloomingdale’s. If you live in cold weather, then what could be better than a cool beanie and scarf set from “Bloomies”? Even if you live in sunny Cali, there are enough cool days where a gift like this will warm the heart. Seriously – they’re so soft and warm – touch them to make sure they’re as soft as you want! The beanies and scarves, I mean.

Bang & Olufsen Wireless Headphones. This is one of those, “oh yeah,” gifts for the special guy. Of course, who doesn’t appreciate audio gear from B&O? But how about the Beoplay E8 – a truly great set of wireless Bluetooth headphones! Perfect for a power workout or a stroll around the neighborhood.

S’Well Water Bottle. Help him bring his own water to the gym and stay hydrated wherever he goes. And, look fashionable to boot! They have so many styles and treatments to choose from. I personally love the wood look – very masculine!

Sandro Travel Toiletry Bag. All men can use a new one. What’s not to like about one from Sandro of Paris? This one is so very stylish and roomy – it will fit everything he needs for a trip and it’s made from a durable “pique” nylon with leather details.

Okay, maybe I make this look a bit easy. But, the point is to put thought into your gifts – always think about what your friends would use and love to receive. Trust me, it will put a smile on your face when you see the look on theirs when they open your present.