Welcome to my Black Friday Holiday Gift Round-Up! I spent a long time compiling some of my favorite gifts for the year in a variety of price ranges.
Breaking Bad: The Complete First Season
"Not unlike the drug meth, Breaking Bad is completely addictive!" I’m so sorry I wrote that, that was so dorky. But I just couldn’t not write it once it popped into my mind, like some drivel-spouting blogger for a bad pun-loving entertainment site. Remember when your coolest friend made you watch The Wire and they now have eternal cred? That’s what you’ll become when you give your pal Breaking Bad season one. Giving them the entire four seasons is presumptuous and expensive, not to mention basically hands them a cumbersome assignment to feel guilty about. The first season is a "gateway drug" to even more seasons. "Once they’re hooked" on the show, there’s no looking back, hahaha. I’m so sorry.
Betsey Johnson Lace is More one piece swimsuit $158
So I love the trend of one piece bathing suits, but I hate when they’re also, like polka dotted or have a prominent skirt or something. That’s too much kitsch piled onto an already retro look. This black Betsey Johnson one piece is a perfect execution of this demure, beguiling style of bathing suit. It is so confident in its demureness, it’s ultra sexy.
L’Or Céleste Starry Loose Powder $68
What it is: A shimmering powder to illuminate the face and décolleté.
I have a complicated relationship with body shimmer on adult women. Part of me thinks this is only for strippers or pop hip-hop stars playing Madison Square Garden; no real woman should wear body shimmer, that’s cheesy. But then I tried this Givency powder on at Sephora and I basically doused my décolletage with it. The quality of the glitter is very high. It’s a very fine glitter, not that bachelorette party kind. It makes you look like a sophisticated kaleidoscope. A great gift because a woman might not buy this for herself, because it’s so fun and frivolous.
Eileen Fisher Seasonless Silk Comforter $268 to $620
Are you the most insanely awesome husband ever? This is simply the best gift you could give your wife. (I say wife and not girlfriend because these gorgeous, mindblowingly comfy comforters are only gifts to be given to someone who is so important to you, they’ve committed to maybe carrying your baby.)
Stephanie Johnson Mumbai Cosmetic Bags $18 to $48
As far as I’m concerned, there is no other way to carry cosmetics than in Stephanie Johnson’s wildly pretty, blingy, and totally affordable makeup bags.
Charlotte Ronson A Perfect Mess Beach Hair $20
Terrific stocking stuffer for almost any hair type. I have fine, long hair, and this served as a thickener and also gave me great shine. Also, I love Charlotte’s packaging.
A splurge worth splurging for. My pal Charlie Grandy and I both have VitaMixers and 40% of what we talk about at work is our VitaMixers. Besides being no louder than a purr (which actually makes a difference if you make smoothies every morning and hate being woken up to the sound of a horrific blender), the VitaMixer is so easy to use and intuitive. It also comes with a great recipe book. I honestly have never used a blender that comes even 1/10 to cool as this one. And I know I’ll never, ever, ever need another one. Makes a great gift for someone trying to jump-start a healthy lifestyle.
Waring Pro Popcorn Maker $79
Did you ever hear how Lorne Michaels loves popcorn so much he has a professional grade popcorn machine in his office at 30 Rock? I love popcorn so much too, but I’m not a big enough baller to pull that off at The Office. People would be worried about my finances and stuff. Plus, it only works with Lorne because he has a huge office with like, many assistants to make and deal with the mechanics of making popcorn. Having that would essentially turn my day in one giant popcorn-tending grind. So I have this mini popcorn dealio from Crate & Barrel.
Josie Maran Organic Argan Oil Jumbo Size $96
If I ever had a company of all women, my annual holiday gift to them would be a bottle of Josie Maran Argan Oil and a 3 pack of Hanky Panky stretchy lace underwear. No other two products work so well with so many women. Josie Maran’s Argan Oil is one of those miracle beauty products that when you put it on your face, it addresses every problem (acne, acne scars, dry skin, oily skin, wrinkles) and just makes your skin supple with a terrific subtle glow. Argan oil has gotten rid of some very stubborn old dark marks form pimples I popped before their time.
Kendra Scott Darby earring in many colors $85
What aunt would not love these colorful, playful, but totally elegant Darby earrings by Kendra Scott? Kendra Scott makes the kind of playful and colorful statement pieces that when you have one piece, you wind up having it in every color because you get so many compliments on it.
BCBG Smyth Poncho Coat $398
Ponchos are usually the pits. Shapeless sacks that look like they were built to make shoplifting produce easier or something. But a poncho with a defined waist in an elegant color? A terrific gift for a fashion-forward mom.
Melinda Maria Vanessa Pod pave ring $78
Have a girlfriend or sister who likes simple jewelry that still has a big impact? These Melinda Maria Vanessa Pod rings are a terrific evening ring that is both unusual but not too much of an announcement.
J.Crew Hinged Gem Bracelet $50
You love your little sister and want her to sparkle. This is a great, pretty little bracelet for her to rock and say, “My older brother got this for me.” It really just seems like you have the best relationship ever.
Wildfox Je T’aime T-shirt $64
I was first introduced to the line Wildfox when I saw a stylish wardrobe department girl, Sommer Terry, wearing a pink No. 9 shirt of theres on the set of No Strings Attached. Sommer is one of the best dressers I know in Los Angeles. She’s has that effortless, layer-y, chic L.A. girl style where she seems both put-together and also that she didn’t spend a minute of time worrying about her outfit.
Later I of course couldn’t miss the reign of Wildfox in Beyonce’s wardrobe. Every time Beyonce was rocking that sexy Girl Next Door look (rather than foxy Diva of All Time or Lady Mogul), she was in Wildfox. Whenever Beyonce looked freshest and young, and like a cool girl from Houston, she was in Wildfox. You could kind of tell Jayz liked her best in it. I can style this great tshirt a million ways (over jean cut-off shorts with a scarf for summer, or under a blazer and dark rinse jeans for winter), and I always feel sexy and feminine.
Michael Kors Ladies’ Espresso Crystal Chronograph Watch $250
A brown watch? With brown crystals on it? Have you ever seen crystals in brown before?! What a mix of restrained/chic and bling.
GIFTS FOR GUYS
I used to fancy myself a good person to ask for gifts for men, but then I realized I actually completely stink. I’m so that girl who advises you to get a guy a bold pink dress shirt and neck jewelry. I wanted to include some gifts for guys though, so I asked my three most hip guy friends, Jeremy Bronson, Danny Chun and B.J. Novak. They aren’t stylists or graphic designers, just three successful, unpretentious, heterosexual comedy writer friends of mine with innate good style and cool stuff. Also they are funny and all helped me with my book.
Here is what they look like in what I can’t believe isn’t a staged photo:
They had really great recommendations. Here were my favorites.
Jeremy Bronson is the head monologue writer for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. He gave a really funny and heartfelt toast at Danny’s wedding this year that I liked a lot. It wasn’t a mean roast of Danny, but it was also had great one-liners. Asian aunts and uncles and hipster college kids alike enjoyed it. You know that kind of person who has never met your parents but you would feel totally at ease if they had to spend time alone, like in a long elevator ride with your parents for some reason? Jeremy’s this guy.
I don’t drink whiskey but I love these shrewd little things. They keep your whiskey cold without watering it down. Which, while, again I don’t drink whiskey, seems like a nifty trick.
"Creative Recreation" shoes/sneakers
A great company for a statement sneaker.
My friend Danny is wonderful and also a tiny bit scary. He’s the head writer on The Office and has a bit of “not funny until proven funny” subconscious way about him (which I am too, by the way) so you are always trying to impress him.
He is also scary because sometimes he will leave the computer in the writers room to do like fifty pull-ups, and then come back and run the room more. Also he is a foodie and an environmentalist and is married to an architect. The whole thing is just a collection of intimidating life details that make you wish you could fast-forward 6 months until Danny is your pal. Luckily, Danny is my pal. Here are his guy holiday gift recommendations. He wrote his own blurbs:
Victorinox 40520 Fibrox 8-Inch Chef’s Knife
I love when cheap things are better than expensive things, and this chef’s knife is really popular among people like me. A really excellent, cheap gift for someone getting into cooking.
It’s hard to pull off being manly and still be a neat freak. Leathercoasters bridge that divide nicely.
I am at the point where I don’t really want to accumulate more things, so the best gifts I get are upgrades over existing things. These nice Dunderdon hoodies are like that— you get one and you can give your old hoodie to goodwill.
King Cube Ice Cube Tray
For cocktail lovers. Less surface area means your drinks get less watered down. (NB from Mindy: Funny! This is the second ice cube recommendation. Keeping drinks cold is something guys are into thinking about a lot, I guess.)
Most men like the really peaty stuff. Laphroaig Cask Strength 10 year old is really intense, manly scotch.
A few months of Spotify Premium, $9.99 a month for premium.
The downside is that after the months run out it’s up to them to continue the subscription or not. But the excellent thing about this gift is that it takes up no space. Nobody likes having to make room in their house for a gift they don’t even want.
B.J. is one of my oldest LA friends and just an all-around dashing guy. He spends money in a cool way: he doesn’t fritter it away on trendy junk (like I do, hello Forever 21), but then, like, buys a Jil Sander jacket or takes out 20 people to dinner at a fancy restaurant on a whim.
Also, he’s always quoting books he’s reading in interesting ways that connect organically with what’s being talked about. I have never been able to do this seamlessly; when I read something interesting I go into work the next day and just upload it to everyone no matter if it’s relevant or not.
Mark Twain: A Film By Ken Burns
If you’ve ever wondered what the deal was with Mark Twain, or why the funniest Americans’ highest honor is a prize given in his name, you should watch this. I love tales of get-rich-quick schemers and reversals of fortune, so this was especially fun to watch.