As a single woman, I’m often amused at how little attention we get during the holiday season. There are Gift Guides for Mom, Dad, the college student, teens and tweens, teachers, bosses, and even bachelors. But I’ve never seen one for single women. Arguably, single women shouldn’t necessarily need their own gift guide… except if just about everyone else gets one, why can’t we? Heck, we like gifts too!
But we like good gifts, not fuzzy socks, robes and pajamas; not t-shirts and mugs with corny jokes about being single; and we don’t want a pink tool kit. What we want is what everybody wants: a thoughtful gift that reflects our lifestyle and personality.
So, on behalf of myself and Spinsterlicious women everywhere, I’ve decided to create my own gift guide for single women. A guide that has gifts I want to receive, gifts I want to give to my spinster friends, gifts I want to give myself. Where the modern-day spinster comes to play, indeed! Take a look at some of my favorite gift ideas this holiday season:
EATING AND DRINKING
KRUPS on Request. A girl needs her caffeine and yet I don’t want to make a whole pot of coffee since I live alone, and I can’t seem to get the portions just right when I’m trying to make a single cup with my coffee maker. The KRUPS KM9000 Cup-On-Request was invented for those like me. At the touch of a button it dispenses piping hot coffee. It even has different settings for weekdays and weekends (because I sleep in on the weekends). The coffee stays hot for up to 4 hours. Plus, it’s a pretty good-looking machine! It retails for about $199. http://www.krupsusa.com/All+Products/Cup-On-Request/Products/KM9000/KM9000.htm
Kusmi Teas. For 140 years, Kusmi Teas has been offering the finest in exceptional, high-quality teas, and has recently launched a wellness tea collection. I found all five of the selections in the ‘Russian Collection’ to be fragrant and delicious. So much so that I went out and bought a tea pot for loose teas. I’m a convert! Gift sets range from $20 – $100. www.kusmitea.com
Wine from Italy. Wow! Saladini Pilastri and Fratelli Barba. I loved both of these reds. (So did my neighbors, Tony and Traci, who were happy to help me finish off them both!) My favorite, by a hair, was Fratelli Barba, which was given a rating of 87 points by Wine Advocate. It is aged in oak for four months and described as “earthy and full-bodied, and full of plum fruit smoke, licorice, and black cherries, with a classic almond character on the nose”. My palette doesn’t pick up all that, but it was quite good going down. The bottle is priced at about $12.99 and both wines can be found at www.totalwines.com.
Vino Innovations from Old World Gourmet. These are a fun line of bold and delicious frozen wine mixes. Add your favorite bottle of wine to the mix, freeze for 3-4 hours… and then indulge yourself! We tried – and loved – the red-wine-based blueberry pomegranate. Normally I don’t associate frozen drinks with this time of year, but the red wine base makes it feel right. A good combination of festive and delicious, and perfect when you want to kick it up a notch. Other flavors include frozen lemon, lime, and peach. The mixes are about $10.00 and can be found at http://www.owgshoponline.com/Vinolicious-s/1856.htm
Miss Nicky’s Toffee. This is the best toffee in the world! Honest! These handmade artisanal toffees are made in small batches to ensure freshness and are never more than 4-6 weeks old. They’ve got nothing bad, (no high fructose corn syrup, no preservatives, no additives) and lots of goodness (delicious nuts and chocolate) – and come beautifully packed and gift-ready. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and I love that they’re not overly sweet like a lot of toffees. This stuff is just great. Prices start at $11.00 and they can be found at http://www.missnickys.com/toffee.html
Robert Lambert Artisanal Goodies. These goodies are made by Robert Lambert himself – from tracking down ingredient sources to harvesting the fruit himself. He tries to make sure that there’s no other product on the market quite like it. I made a super-fancy grilled cheese sandwich with the Wild Blueberry Lemon Jam. Yumm. And, I added the Hot Ginger Caramel Sauce to my coffee and a cup of vanilla ice cream to see which I liked better. It was a tie. This stuff is good. You can “choose your own” Artisanal Specialty Gazebo Gift Box for $29.50 at http://www.robertlambert.com/store/index.html.
Goodie Tins. These are a cute twist on a gift basket. Goodie Tins come packed with some of the basics a hostess needs to get the party started. The Cosmo Goodie Tin, priced at $48, has a Cosmopolitan mix, glass rimmer, and a cute apron so you don’t muss that cute little dress you’re wearing. Good Tins can be found at http://goodietins.com/catalog/girlfriend-35/?zenid=43gvbfdeg0mjlfkpe3rb3t1aj3.
Prairie Organic Vodka. Prairie Vodka is a clean, crisp-tasing organic vodka that is made in small batches for its “own unique character.” It’s great on the rocks and in their own Pumpkin cocktail recipe: Mix 1 part Prairie Organic vodka, 1 part Irish cream liqueur, and pumpkin puree. Add simple syrup, bend with ice. Pour into martini glass garnished with a dash of nutmeg. Prairie Organic Vodka is available for $24.99 at http://prairievodka.com
Necktie Flask. My friend Angie and I have often joked that from time to time we wished we had a flask to discreetly avail ourselves of alcohol when there was none available. I now have the cutest one I’ve ever seen. These stainless steel flasks are covered with recycled vintage neckties and come in a signature black box, and measure about 4×4 inches. Easily purse-sized, and looks like fun… and a little mischievous. I can’t wait to use it! They’re $28.00 at www.keelanrogue.com.
Wixon Jewelers. Why not treat yourself to a fabulous piece of jewelry? Wixon Jewelers, based in Minneapolis, MN, is known for its unparalleled service and jewelry made of the highest quality, including exceptional diamonds, gemstones and watches. They’ll even create a one-of-a-kind custom design piece. It’s a real indulgence… perhaps one that’s well-deserved! They’re not cheap, though. This is serious stuff! Check out www.wixonjewelers.com.
Kim’s Wrap. I love the look and feel of this very stylish and warm scarf. It’s a chunky texture, extra long 100% merino wool cable scarf with a delicate seed stitch edge. And, it’s handmade. The designer, Kim Williams, loves working with natural fibers and creating texture thru the mixture of stitches. Measurements: Length: 67″ Width: 8 1/2″. Care: hand wash in gentle detergent, lay flat to dry. This beautiful scarf, at $135, can be found at
Ronni Simon Bracelets. The perfect gift because, with its beaded closure, these bracelets fit practically everyone. Wear one or a bunch. Mix and match. These were worn by several models in the 2011 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and are available in a wide variety of freshwater pearls and gemstones. Originally $70 and now reduced to $50 for a limited time at www.ronnisimon.com.
Creative Waist Beads. So cute and fun and a tad sexy. These waist beads are worn under clothes so not a lot of people get to see them, and that might be part of the fun. It’s kind of like wearing great lingerie; most people don’t know you’re wearing it, but you do and you love the way it looks. The concept of waist beads originates from Africa, and these are made to accentuate waists of all sizes. They are made of a harmonious mixture of glass, horn, clay and wood, plus semi-precious stones, shells, charms and pearls. They’re adorable. And, of course, if I’m bikini-ready by next summer, lots of other folks will see me in them too! They range from $15 – $30 at www.creativewaistbeads.com.
Voss Foundation’s African Bazaar Evening Clutch. The Voss Foundation African Bazaar is a curated collection of artisan goods, crafted in the regions of Sub-Saharan Africa where the Voss Foundation provides access to clean water to communities. Since 2008, the Voss Foundation has helped to build 36 water access points in 5 countries, changing the lives of over 100,000 people. The clutches are handmade in Liberia at Jola House – a small, grassroots social enterprise near Paynesville whose mission is to reduce the economic inequality of women. The clutches come in a variety of textures and colors, and feature a magnetic snap button closure and inner zippered pocket. They measure 6 inch tall, 10 inch long and the bottom is 3 inch wide. They’re $75. Here’s an easy way to look good and do good. http://zuych.qtzuu.servertrust.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=Evening-Clutch-
Camilla Olson Scarves. These 100% silk pure chiffon scarves are lovely to look at and just as lovely to the touch. They are imported from Asia and custom-printed individually at Camilla’s textile studio in northern California. They retail for $150.00 and no two are exactly alike. They even include instructions on ways to tie a scarf. They can be found at http://camillaolson.com. Mine looks a bit like this one, but not exactly (remember, no two are exactly alike!)
Adore Me Lingerie. Adore Me offers an affordable and personalized lingerie shopping experience. You start with a quiz that helps identify the type of lingerie for you, then you’re given access to a “showroom” with a selection you may like based on your responses. Each lingerie set, night gown, chemise or pack of tights is only $39.95! Adore Me has free shipping, free exchanges and easy returns. When you place your first order, you become a member, then you can decide each month if you are tempted (or not) to buy something in your new showroom. The best part? If you don’t like anything, you don’t have to buy! The selection is great and shopping with them is kind of fun! See www.adoreme.com/.
BooTights. What are BooTights? Exactly what they sound like. Tights you wear with your boots. And they’re just what I need for many of my boots – because, right now, I have to put on a pair of socks over my tights, for warmth and fit. But no more! BooTights are a premium tight with a performance sock attached so your legs look great and your feet feel great. The tights have all-over support for a smooth, controlled silhouette, and the socks are moisture-wicking so your feet are drier and have arch support so your feet are protected and comfortable. They range from $30 – $40 at www.bootights.com.
Camibands. This cute little item is a multi-tasker, for sure. Wear it up top and it prettily covers up when too much cleavage is showing. Slip it down to my waist and it peeks out beneath my shirt just enough to cover potential “plumber’s butt” from my low-rise jeans. It also gives a nice layered look with my t-shirts. Camibands are made in the USA and range from $25 – $30 at www.camibands.com.
Tablet Cases. I carry my iPad just about everywhere. So, it makes sense to have a case for it to protect it from any number of mishaps that can happen. A case that is attractive to my eyes is even better. Marware (www.marware.com/ipad-4-cases) has great cases for about $50. Gracious Style’s (http://www.graciousstyle.com/buy/brown-crocodile-ebook-case Crocodile-embossed eReader case, at $105 is particularly good-looking.
BSkinz Workout Gear. All of my workout shorts are black or navy… until now. My new, BSkinz workout shorts are purple! BSKinz is a fitness apparel company that blends function with fashion, and they have a range of running gear, yoga apparel, tennis and golf skorts in a wild range of colors and patterns. There’s really no reason one can’t be fashionable while working out, right? Compression shorts are $19.99 at http://bskinz.com. Definitely not the same old thing.
EXPERIENCING AND LEARNING
Cloud 9 Experience Gifts. I love this idea of gifting an experience and creating a long-lasting memory. Cloud 9 Living offers over 1800 experiential gifts in 43 regions throughout the U.S., including such activities as sky-diving, city tours, dancing lessons, race-car driving, scuba diving, private dinners with a favorite chef… and lots more. Fun, right? Give the gift to the recipient either via an email certificate (which you could also email to yourself, print and wrap), or with a custom gift pack via regular mail. Once the recipient receives the gift, he or she calls Cloud 9 or goes online to schedule it. Gift experiences range from $50 – $3000 at www.cloud9living.com.
Fun Sherpa. Another alternative to traditional (boring?) gifts, Fun Sherpa offers 2000+ experiential gifts from relaxing yoga classes, cooking demonstrations, and belly dancing lessons –to- intense ice climbing treks, zipline adventures, and whitewater rafting. You choose the gift, email/mail it to the recipient, and she can redeem it at her convenience. Fun Sherpa experiences range from $10 – $250,000 at http://www.funsherpa.com.
Poetry Salon. What could be more moving than a personalized poem written just for you? I love this idea of giving a gift of poetry. A published poet from Poetry Salon finds the perfect words that translate your sentiments into a timeless poem. The process is simple: you answer interview questions about the gift recipient via email or phone, and the poet works her magic. They have a “satisfaction guaranteed or your money back” policy that they say they’ve never had to use. Poems range from $175 – $600, and many come framed, boxed, or accompanied by a fitting accessory. You can find them at www.poetrysalon.com.
Udemy Online Courses. Here’s a great way to learn a lot about a topic you’re curious about, in the comfort of your home. Udemy is an online education marketplace with a wide range of fun and interesting courses, from sushi-making to learning French, to becoming a wine connoisseur and learning ancient Greek religion, to starting your own business, and much, much more. Many of the learned instructors are from Ivy League institutions, are category innovators, experts in their field, and they even have one taught by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. The courses range from free to $500, and you can find them at www.udemy.com. They even have an iPad app. Why not surprise someone with an online course of something you know she’s been dying to learn?
The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement, by Jan Cullinane. This is a book with very practical advice on managing your finances, body, mind, and spirit to make sure you have what you need for a good retirement. It has useful examples, real-life stories, and worksheets to help take some of the guesswork out of your decisions. I’m glad I found this. It’s about $11.00 at www.amazon.com/The-Single-Womans-Guide-Retirement/dp/1118229509
Spa & Wellness Gift Cards. Who doesn’t love being treated to a spa? (Nobody!) These gift cards can be used for any spa treatment or product at over 7500 spa and wellness facilities throughout the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, 365 days-a-year. And what’s more? They never expire! Gift Cards are available in increments of $25, $50 and $100 at www.spaweek.com/spa-gift-cards/.
Metropolis Soap. A line of organic skincare, manufactured in Brooklyn, NY. All products are natural vegan, and free from sulfates, parabens, and synthetics. But the best part is the soaps and body scrubs smell fantastic! According to my neighbor, Traci, who helped me sample everything: “So aromatic, filled up the entire bathroom – smelled like a seasonal tea.” My favorite is the Whipped Shea. My skin felt luxurious for hours after using. Gift packs are from $9.99 – $44.99 at www.metropolissoap.com/shop/.
Bellaroma Spa Gifts. Bellaroma is a natural skincare boutique with products made from 100% pure essential oils, organic infusions, and other nourishing ingredients. I’ve fallen for the facial scrubs, especially the Crushed Kelp & Lemon Chamomille. They smell great and left my face feeling great. Gift sets are $25 – $50 and can be found at bellaromaboutique.com/category_18/Gift-Sets.htm.
Healing Spa Gift Baskets. This lovely basket has everything you need for a great spa experience at home. It’s got aromatherapy bath products, soothing gel eye mask, cotton towel, pedicure set, plus truffles, cookies, and tea. The combination of spa products and treats should create a setting of pure pampering and luxury! It’s $75.00 at www.aagiftsandbaskets.com/gift-baskets-women/bath-body-spa-gift-baskets
Bubble Crumbles Luxury Bubble Bath. There’s nothing like a bath in a tub full of bubbles to soothe you. Bubble Crumbles come in 17 great fragrances (like Cranberry Spice, Pumpkin Crunch, and Little Black Dress), and can be found for $5.95 at www.floweringtreebotanicals.com/bubble-crumbles-tm-s/1825.htm. Talk about a really nice stocking stuffer!
WRITING AND CHRONICLING
Effie’s Paper. Every woman should have personalized stationery for those times when email just won’t do. I love the design aesthetic of Effie’s Paper – a female-owned business – with its bright, color pairings. It’s bold and classy. These modern and colorful personalized stationery sets are priced at $55 for 25 flat note cards, and can be found at www.effiespaper.com.
PaperBlanks Journals. In this age of ‘everything digital’, sometimes it’s still nice to do things the old-fashioned way. These well-made, elegant journals and writing books are inspired by antique books, art and cultures. The notebooks open flat for a pleasant writing experience and are made with 100% recycles binder boards and acid-free paper from sustainable forests. They’re about $14.95 and up, at www.lovenotebooks.com.
Canfora Handmade Sandals. If you or your gift recipient are going to be in Capri, Italy, here’s the ultimate in personalized gifts: handmade sandals by the Canfora family! They’ve been designing handmade sandals since 1946. All sandals are made-to-measure and range from 135 – 390 Euros ($175 – $500). You are fitted for your sandals in the morning and pick them up later that afternoon. This feels very special. www.canfora.com
Rodial GlamTox Skincare-On-The-Go. I like to take skincare travel kits with me when I’m on the road. It’s like a little treat, especially vs. using my usual products that I’ve squeezed into TSA-appropriate plastic bottles. I love the look and feel of these GlamTox products (and the name!) The line features 5 travel-sized pampering products: cleansing balm, day and night moisturizer, lip balm and, my favorite – the hydrating snake serum. I don’t really know what snake serum is but it makes me think it’s going to do something great to my skin! The kit is $50 at www.planetbeauty.com/Rodial/Glamtox_Kit-22111/.
RainRaps. This is the kind of item I would never think about… until I needed it, and it’s one of those that is really needed when it’s needed. I like to pack light when traveling, and one of the decisions I always have to make involves “what if it rains?” Yes, take an umbrella and probably a rain hat, but then what? Do I want to take up space in my bag with a raincoat? (No, I don’t). Now I don’t have to. RainRaps are both practical and cute, and they take up almost no space. They’re water repellent, lightweight, fast-drying, and reversible. The selection ranges from $48-$60 at www.rainraps.com.
So…for anyone who’s struggling with what to get me for Christmas, I don’t want pajamas with feet. I do want something from this Guide. Surprise me!