Oi … it’s been over a year (!!) since I’ve written to you all via this blog (and the last thing I wrote was… a gift guide). and what a year it’s been. This year in particular has been a roller coaster; 2021 brought me perhaps my lowest lows (another story for another time), and yet, some exceptional highs as well. Life is wild.
Is this what it’s like to write an annual Christmas letter?
I’d be remiss to skip over my annual gift guide, even if it’s the only post I contribute to my fair beauty&thebeach this year. Because if there’s anything I can make time for right now, it’s a shopping guide, apparently.
Also of note, perhaps simply because I’ve been awaiting the opportunity to write/say these words whenever humanly possible… I’ve just returned from Paris (!!!), my favorite place on earth, so some of these picks are influenced by my recent voyage. And yes, I’ll do a little travel update on that front in the new year.
As per usual (a tradition since 2015?!) this guide is a mix of what’s on my actual wish list + things I think should be on your wish list (because I have them and love them!).
My Wish List
Nice Luggage. I’ve been wanting to upgrade my luggage for several years now, but because I am
a psychotic perfectionist really careful with my decision-making, I’ve been evaluating a lot of things. Like, do I want a hardshell or soft checked bag? Do I want aluminum? Do I want my carry on to match the checked bag? (Yes??) Do I want a vintage steamer trunk vibe or something more basic? I’ve looked at perhaps investing in some LV spinner luggage, then recoiled in horror as I envisioned airport staff chucking my four-figure suitcase onto pavement.
In a perfect world in which others respected my luggage and they were free from harm, I’d totally get a matching LV set. Alas. I want something NICE, that looks classy and classic, matches in a set, and will perform/stand up to scuffing and abuse from tarmac bag-chuckers… Maybe this means an aluminum set from Away?? UNCLEAR. This is a terrible first thing to have on my wish list because I don’t even really know what I want!!!
Fresh Sheets & New Bedding. Atop my personal wishlist this year: a refresh for my bedding.
- Navy or Caramel Slip Silk Pillowcases — I made the fatal error of opting for white, which shows every drop of sweat, vitamin C serum, and residual eye makeup. I think a tan or darker hue (like navy, on sale here!) will help them look a bit fresher, regardless of my skincare routine.
- Good sheets — I’ve been on the hunt for powder blue, high thread-count, supersoft sheets (just the flat and fitted sheets!) and have yet to find exactly what I’m looking for. That said, this French Blue set from Peach Skin looks p nice, & this sky blue from Bloomingdales looks beaut.
- I’ve also been searching for the best, warmest down alternative comforter, *or* an ethical down comforter — my down comforter is over a decade old, and now is decorated by my dog in ways that are too gross to share on the internet.
Rouje Bag & Boots — unclear if these will still be in stock by the time anyone reads this, but the Rouje Baguette Bag and Celeste Boots in croco bordeaux and croco chocolate are TO DIE FOR and I’ve had them in my cart for like 3 months. I’m a sz 36 shoe if anyone is wondering.
Winter Coat — my recent travels reminded me that I am ill prepared for any circumstance in which the weather drops below 60ºF. I want a warm, stylish, wool/cashmere coat in a black, tan, or dark green colorway (or powder blue!?). As you can tell, I am extremely indecisive this season. My fav, I’m p sure, is from a shady Chinese knockoff store and I can’t identify the actual designer… if any of u know pls advise. three I have my eye on fr:
Claudie Pierlot Wool/Cashmere in Vert Sapin (wish I got this in France tbh — this is the one pictured)
Theory Wool/Cashmere blend in Pine
Mackage Wool Wrap in Army
Pompompurin Tee — this is weird to admit but I recently became obsessed with this little yellow ball (I didn’t know what it was but I was like, ILY) that turned out to be a ‘golden retriever’ named pudding from Sanrio, Pompompurin. and I love this shirt.
Campari Soda Poster — something that’s been on my list for several months is this fun 1960s vintage ad for Campari. I love a good Campari spritz, and this retro Italian piece feels like a little bit of time travel.
Carrière Frères Christmas Candles — I was just alerted to this beautiful brand via PR pitch on my work email while putting this guide together, and now I MUST KNOW what they smell like IRL. I love (or, really, j’adore) benzoin, pine, rose, and cacao fragrances, so these combos sound incredible to me.
Papier Journal — OK another thing I’ve been thinking about…. yes, I have a lot of journals. But they’re dedicated to specific things. I don’t have a travel journal?! what a miss. I love this “Le Classique” version, and this one with croissants (!!). Also my Papier wellness journal is almost full, so it’s time for a replacement on that front, too. I love that these are all customizable and there are SO MANY options to choose from. It makes a suuuuper personal gift (I have one that I got as a gift for my “big ideas” and I love it!). Pretty obsessed with this cute travel calendar, too.
Gifts You Will Want For Yourself
Moon Dweller Lunar Workbook — It was such an honor to work on this beautiful lunar calendar and with its magnificent creator, Nina Aganza. She trusted me to edit her celestial brainchild this year, and it truly was such a fun project. Learn to track the moon’s phases and journey through the zodiac, and connect it to your personal experience — your emotional, inner world, your self-care routines and habits, your energy levels. It’s so cool, and it comes with a free course. Seriously go check it out!
Jonak Boots — So I have boots on my wish list above, but wanted to share these as well; scored these on a Black Friday sale in Paris (shockingly, this American tradition has jumped the pond), but found out they ship to the US! I’m sooo thrilled with how comfortable they are — and for being real leather (super soft, supple leather, btw), they’re exceptionally affordable and well-priced.
Little Book of… — I’ve had these little books on my private Amazon wish list for a bit, particularly Louis Vuitton, Prada, YSL, Dior. They’ll make a nice gift for yourself or someone else, particularly because they’re all roughly $15 each!
UGG Fluff Yeah Slippers — I saw my friend got these for her twin girls and strangely that was my style inspiration… pink baby slippers from UGG made me say “dang I want those.” I’ve wanted them in an icy powder blue for over a year, but they don’t exist in that colorway, because you can’t always get what you want. unless you try sometimes. Do I need another pair of UGG slippers? Idk, a doctor told me to wear slippers all the time (more on that later on) so you tell me. (on sale here!!)
Diptyque Scented Goodies — I got really into Diptyque this year; I got myself the Car Freshener (34 Boulevard Saint Germain) and it smells HEAVENLY (Baies scent on sale here), my car feels so much fresher now, and for my birthday I got the Paris Limited Edition Candle (naturally) which would make such a beautiful gift for anyone who appreciates candles, fragrance, travel, France, etc. It’s truly such a gorgeous work of art and parfum. Recently, I got some samples of their personal fragrances, including the Eau Duelle edp (edt on sale here) which is a sexy vanilla and it might be the next addition to my personal wish list, too. Perfume is a trickier gift to give, but this one feels like a safe bet — a woody, almost herbaceous and spicy vanilla that isn’t ‘sweet,’ but it’s familiar and warm. And it’s unisex.
Jonathan Adler Puzzle — I’m not over puzzles yet… are you? I hope the answer is no. I’m preeeettttty sure you probably don’t have this super artsy puzzle from Jonathan Adler (hello, affordable luxury gift) — it’s got a unique shape and interesting design (they make other designs, too!), and would be sooo fun for a white elephant or for someone who just moved into a new space.
Mariage Frères Marco Polo Tea Jelly — I fell in love with the tea and jelly from Mariage Frères a few years ago, and have been stocking up on their Marco Polo tea jelly ever since. It’s sooo different and I promise you it’s unlike anything you’ve had before. A gourmet gift or a treat for you!
Sézane Plein Soleil Sweatshirt — A mix of the 90s at the beach + Sézane is the dream combo, IMO. Though I want literally every single item on sezane.com, I wanted to highlight this treasure of a pullover (a collaboration with Jean-Charles de Castelbajac).
Avène Skincare — Most of my skincare routine lately comprises Avène products (hydrating/protective focus). A-Oxitive (antioxidant protective serum), Hydrance (intense hydration serum), and RetrinAL (super gentle retinaldehyde) are my favorites.
Nuxe Huile Prodigeuse — One of the things I really regret not getting in Paris is Nuxe’s new Neroli scented iteration of their iconic Huile Prodigieuse. Yes, I can get it online… but it’s so much more expensive! These large bottles were roughly $16 (in a two-for-32 special), versus roughly $45 (+tax) here. Again, this markup is much less than a flight to Paris, so if you’re not en route to Europe any time soon, I’d recommend paying this “import tax” so to speak for this luxurious hair-and-skin oil. Another fav I came across is their cult-fav lip balm, rêve de miel. FWIW, I found an oil-candle gift set on this site… I’ve never shopped there before but it looks like an awesome value!!
Figaret Cristal Shirt — I may or may not have been talked into this beautifully constructed classic-yet-modern blouse from Figaret by an exceedingly kind Parisienne, but she didn’t have to twist my arm. The oversized, relaxed cut with drop shoulders and a breezier fabric make this less workwear, more effortless chic. At least that’s what I think she said.
Dishoom Cookbook — a guiding light during COVID, this gorgeous collection of recipes from my favorite restaurant in London (and one of my fav in ze world) has brought some magic and joy back into the kitchen and my life during the long stretch of time when travel was a no-go. If you’re ready to to amp up your cooking or mix up your routine, this cookbook is truly exquisite… and not the kind of sh*t you’ll find on pinterest. trust me.
Emile Henry Tagine — If you’re looking to explore even more avenues and expand your culinary repertoire, consider getting (or giving!) this beautiful Emile Henry Tagine in a gorgeous figue burgundy color. You can learn how to cook up the namesake Moroccan dish (sometimes spelled “tajine”), as well as shakshuka … and it makes a beautiful piece of serveware too.
Barefoot Dreams Blanket — So I know this is like THE basic b*tch gift guide selection, but hear me out… it’s SO COZY! I’m sitting under one right now. Who doesn’t love a blanket, especially in December! If an overpriced made-in-China blanket (I mean what) isn’t something you jive with just yet, check out the socks (I have those in the section below).
Stocking Stuffers and Budget Finds
Caudalie Thé des Vignes Shower Gel — I feel bad saying that I got this for $3 in France, but I can’t lie to y’all… I got this for $3 in France. Word to the wise, bring an empty checked bag next time you’re in Paris and head to the Pharmacies. Though it’s $11-$12 here in the States, it still feels (and smells!) like a super luxury body wash. It’s soooo not your basic shower scent, and it’s not drying at all.
Yeti 20oz Rambler with Stronghold Lid — I have a lot of Yeti cups… like… this might be my 9th? I have issues. Anyway, I thought this was going to be just a new tumbler in a cute new color… WRONG! This new lid is INSANE. As someone who was DOUSED, scalp to toenails in iced coffee (while wearing a white tank, cream cardigan, bleached jeans, and white sandals no less) thanks to an infant golden retriever yanking on a leash while I had a *regular* Yeti lid on my coffee cup, this is actually a big deal for me. You can turn this whole thing over and it’s literally leakproof. FINALLY! Plus, the sandstone pink is amazing.
InnBeauty Peppermint Lip Glaze — A hybrid between a lip treatment and a lipgloss, this super silky glaze has such a nice (wide!) applicator that feels so luxurious when it goes on. The vanilla-peppermint flavor tastes and smells like white chocolate peppermint bark, but it’s not saccharine or overpowering. It’s got just enough shimmer to add the fun without looking cheap or over the top, and the finish is the perfect amount of gloss. AND it’s only $15! If you’re not down with peppermint, they have other flavs at Sephora.
L’Occitane Winter Walk Whipped Hand Cream — I picked up a mini tube of this in Paris and WOW, it comes out like whipped cream, has such a light and lovely fig fragrance, and is so hydrating for my obsessively-washed-and-sanitized hands. This would make a killer stocking stuffer or treat for yourself!
Barefoot Dreams Socks — These luxury cozy blankets for your feet are the best possible ‘house socks’ for cold months. That aforementioned doctor note regarding slippers is because I have pretty bad circulation in my feet… and these have been lifesavers for my cold little toes lol. Also like, an under $20 luxury item like this is such a great gift!
Marvis Royal Toothpaste — I know… toothpaste… weird addition. But this is FANCY toothpaste. And yes, I got mine at the French pharmacie, but it’s on Amazon! and for not a lot more, tbh. The flavor is Italian lemon, tangerine, rose, nutmeg, and a tiny bit of mint.