Holiday Gifts!

I guess now that Thanksgiving is over and it is almost December, it basically means that the holidays are a moment away, and 2012 for that matter too. Oh boy! Time to start shopping!

I, of course, have a long list of my December/Christmas/Hannukah wants, but I will write about that on Wednesday. For now, I am concentrating on what items I love to give. As much as I love receiving presents, I absolutely love *giving* presents. There is something magical and gratifying about giving someone something that you know they will love.

Gifts for the parents and inlaws that have everything



So easy! And you can pick the color, size, style, number of photos, and every little detail you want to include in the book!

The most personal and heartfelt presents are the ones that you make.  My go-to gift for my parents and inlaws is personalized photo albums using iPhoto.  Although they take forever and a half to make, watching people’s reactions as they look through pictures is incredibly gratifying. And you can even order multiple copies at once — so you can keep one for your bookshelf as well. If you have a lot of free time, you can even write captions on all the pictures and make it even MORE personalized and special.


Ummmm....not me in this calendar. Have yet to travel to Australia (but I sure want to!)

Another go-to present for me, always done on my reliable mac on iphoto. Calendars are less expensive and easier to make. They are a simple and always appreciated present — though they might not have the same POP as the personalized books do, they overall are still a unique and one of a kind gift.


Who can have too many silver frames with handsome family photos in them??


Growing up with a European father, we always had cheese in the house. And not just a simple block of Tillamook cheddar cheese. We always had DOZENS of cheeses and we ate them with lunch, as snacks and at dinner. As a result, I love cheese (even though I am lactose intolerant!). Cheese in general is great, but good cheese is awesome.

Gifts for the husband that will claim he is happy with anything because he is so easy going


And now you can shop online at Zara!

Some men are shmancy and need fancy clothes. And some men are thin and petite and need clothes that fit them right. My husband has a hard time finding clothes that fit him perfectly. We have searched low and high at all high end department stores, nice boutiques, and never find anything. But let me tell you, Zara is AH-MAZING. Their clothes fit perfectly and make him look even more guapo. The prices are not as cheap as you would expect, but the quality is better than say, H&M, and they look so damn good!


We need a coffee machine that grinds the beans too. Recommendations?

Something we currently need in our house. Harumph.


Lulu lemon

Hi Tush!

I know, I know, I know. TOTALLY boring and cliche. But guys will not spend money on workout clothes and will end up wearing 15 year old Umbro shorts to the gym if you don’t. And yes, shockingly, Umbro shorts still exist. I used to see them everyday when my husband went to the gym (until I got him a ton of LuluLemon shorts, which were expensive, but totally worth it).


I love giving handmade gift certificates — they are so cutesy and special and a nice token to look back on (along with my obsession of looking back at my to-do lists). Unfortunately, I have used them so much for my hubba hubba hubby that I can no longer create them as they are no longer unique or special. I still have my first gift certificate booklet that I made Ken when we were graduate students at Stanford. I don’t think he ever used a single one of them, but they are a special booklet of our special time. Some of the certificates were “Date night at In-N-Out Burger,” etc….

Gifts for your cute little nieces and nephews


TRAINS! Most wooden tracks sold online are compatible with Thomas Trains.

I know that kids of all ages love toys more than anything. And boys sure do love trains, planes, automobiles, trucks, cranes, bulldozers, excavators. (It actually amazes me that this is an innate behavior in many boys — not trained — I was the mother giving my son dolls and strollers and girly items, but no-sir-ee, trains please for my little boy!) Brio trains are the best (but now only sold in Europe), Duplo and Legos are always good, too.


Books are more personal than toys and last a lifetime. With a little inscription in the front of the book, the child will have a memory of you and them forever. For little toddlers who love anything on wheels, I love “Richard Scarry” books. And of course, I absolutely love any Eric Carle book. They have such beautiful drawings and are simple and classic.


Go ducks!

Hello DUCK jumpsuit!

As a proud native of Eugene, Oregon, I am also a proud Duck. Green and yellow are not colors that most people flock towards unless you are a DUCK. This year, my little 5 year old nephew, Axel, is interested in the Duck football scene, so Duck gear it is! This website has a great selection for any sports team, college or pro.


ZUM balance bike

My son, Cruzzie, has had his eyes on this bike since he could say “mama.” He wants it, he needs it. I am sure every 2-3 year old feels the same way.

Gifts for friends and siblings


I swear, the best present EVER. 5 dollars on a gift card is awesome. 10 dollars even better, 100 dollars is the JACKPOT!


As a fitness lady, I love new workout routines, equipment and exercises. Last year, one of my best friends gave me the TRX for my holiday gift, and it has been an amazing tool to have around the house. Not that I have seen any results, but it is a fun way to strength train without weights.


I am obsessed with gold bracelets. A chick cannot have enough gold in her life.



Currently the book that I can NOT put down! So good!

Although my brother and husband swear I skim every book I read (not true), I claim to be an avid reader.  The truth is that ONCE upon a time, pre-baby, I was an avid reader, and now I hardly read anything besides parenting books (can anyone help me potty train a 2-year old boy who has no interest in toilets besides putting his little potty on the top of his head????) Books are inspirational and special — and I would love to receive someone’s favorite books to read — it is better than viewing’s bestsellers list, or the notable books in the New York Times — receiving books from someone means they were touched by them in some way, and therefore, you will probably be too.




Cougar cheese

COUGAR GOLD! (and no -- it is not cheese from a cougar)

Remember my love for cheese? Well this cheese is SO delicious. The sharpness of the flavor adds a spice to every bite. It is great on its own, or in mac and cheese (Ken makes a killer mac and cheese with Cougar Cheese). It lasts forever in the tin until you decide to open it. Worth every cent.

Now that I have given my ideas and thoughts on what to get people, I’d better get started and actually make and get those presents. Before you know it, it will be mid-December which means holiday giving time. As much as I love giving, it sure takes a lot of time to be organized and well thought out!

Until Wednesday, Have a great last week in November! GULP!

Josie Girl


  1. You are nicer than me: I like receiving gifts more… The calendars/books are a good thoughtful (and pretty adffordable!) present.

  2. cheese of the month is good, but someone got me bacon of the month a few years ago and that was amazing!!

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