Best Gifts for (Green) Travelers

6 12 2010

It’s that time of year again, and since I’ve developed a reputation as being sort of an expert in the realm of gift guides (yes, apparently that is a realm), I’ve applied my expertise yet again to a few guides. First up: The Soup to Nuts Eco-Getaway a la Check out everything your favorite traveler needs to make his or her trip a little greener (and more fun/fashionable/delicious). I’m personally loving the Ahava gift set, mostly for the cute retro bag.

Shameless Self-Promotion: Gifts for Men

1 12 2009

So apparently I’ve unintentionally (but happily) become something of a gift guru. I wrote three guides for, the relationship site:

The New Relationship Gift Guide

Gifts for Every Type of Guy

Guys Reveal the Best Gifts Ever

Included in here, are some things I think are great, like adopting an olive tree from Italy (the foodie guy will love receiving oil made from his own tree), a community immersion/volunteer trip (a rewarding, enriching gift for you both), and the fun book Bed in a Tree (cool, unique hotels around the world).

Cool Travel Gifts

27 11 2009

In the spirit of gifting, USA Today has a cool article chock full of gifts for travelers. Some highlights I like:

  • Passport cover – I say take it a step further with a travel wallet where the receiver can keep passport, money, and any important documents. I’ve been coveting this one by British artist Edward Mokton ever since I saw dear Liz with it in Argentina. Something about the fun little cartoon is just sweet, plus not quite knowing where you’re going is the best kind of travel in my opinion.
  • Small notebook laptop. The HP minis are pretty cute and portable, and starting at $299 relatively affordable to boot. With the more and more planes having internet, it’s a good idea, though isn’t travel supposed to be about unplugging?
  • They also suggest checking out travel supplier Magellan’s for finds from a case to keep all their electronics organized to a talking translator.
  • is another traveler fave, and far more fashionable than old Magellan’s.
  • And lastly, I’m a particular fan of the digital luggage scale, great for over-packers like myself, especially as the airlines make it more and more difficult (and expensive) to bring everything you need and/or want to on a big trip.

Shameless Self-Promotion: Gift Guides!

11 11 2009

After months of holiday shopping—and finding millions of things I want (and millions of things you couldn’t pay me to have)—the Hearst holiday gift guides are here. And I’m pretty proud of how great they look. Gifts for everyone!

There are thousands (literally) of gifts for everyone on your list. Check them out!

Marie Claire gift guides for The Working Girl, The Men You Love, Stocking Stuffers, Charitable Gifts, The Domestic Diva, and more…

Redbook gift guides: Gifts for Best Friends, Great Gifts for Difficult People, Kid Glossary, Unforgettable Gifts, Gifts that Give Twice…

Esquire: Gifts She’ll Never Forget, Gifts That Will Get You Laid, Toys No One Else Will Get Them, Worst Gifts!…

The Daily Green: The Complete Green Outfit, Green Gadgets, Gifts Outside the Box, Safe Toys…

Good Housekeeping: Housewarming Gifts, Gifts for Teens, Stocking Stuffers…

Country Living: Go-To Gifts, One-of-a-Kind Gifts, Gifts for the Hostess, Gifts for the Farmer’s Market Foodie…

Seventeen: Gifts for Moms, Dads, Twilight Lovers and more…

Cosmopolitan: $20 Gifts That Look Way More Expensive, Gifts for People Who Have Everything…

Love for Swedes

27 04 2009

Oh those Swedish… They bring us some of the best shopping around.

First, there’s Ikea. I sometimes feel that I’d prefer to impale myself with a handful of those tiny pencils they pass out at the door than fight the crowds and maze-setup of this circus; but at the same time I must admit that there’s something satisfying about wandering navigating the maze, gazing at random gadgets and stockpiling items I never knew I needed, partially because they’re too cool to pass up (cheese grater that then stores grated cheese?) and partially because they’re ridiculously cheap (hello set of three scissors. I need you not but you’re $1.99!)

Then, there’s H&M, which despite its affordable price tags, can quickly become very, very expensive. And time consuming. And, ultimately (and most importantly) fashionable.

Now Sweden has done it again. I introduce from Sthlm,a site that celebrates the brilliance of Swedish design. Now you too can indulge in the brilliance of the Swedes (without dangerous pencils or the madness that is the H&M fitting room). Starting in April, the site will feature a new designer every month, selling that designer’s merchandise for a limited time (the period said designer is featured). This month: the candy-colored towels, coasters and other items of Lotta Kühlhorn. What a way to get unique, fun, and brilliantly designed items that aren’t recognizable as Ikea or H&M! Sign up for the newsletter and you too will soon be saying, “Thanks. It came from Sweden.”

Friday Pennies: NY Souvenirs and Orchids and More

7 03 2009

It’s been a while since I’ve done a penny post, and after the week I’ve had, I need one. I don’t know why this week was exceptionally hard, but the combination of the frigid weather outside and my own feeling under the weather has had me feeling exhausted and pretty much blue all week long. But coming into the weekend, all is looking fine. A few reasons? Funny you should ask:

  • I’m lovin’ this blog post on Budget Travel about Authentic, Affordable New York Souvenirs. No snow globes here! A few favorites: the fantastic and unique New York dishes from Fishs Eddy, sweets from Zabar’s, and, of course, totes from Strand Books. A few to add: Fat Witch Brownies and that magical scrub from Sabon.
  • The fact that I was able to walk around today without my toes going numb. Is spring here?
  • Orchids.
  • Book group. I just picked up the latest book today. Confessions of an Economic Hitman, in which John Perkins tells of his role in helping “the U.S. cheat poor countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars by lending them more money than they could possibly repay and then taking over their economies.” Not, admittedly, something I would have chosen, which is why I’m thrilled that book group turned me on to it. I’ve read two pages and am already fascinated!
  • The weekend. Despite the fact that I must work tomorrow (I have to attend a class to learn about SAT prep, faux-yay!), the weekend promises a chat with Liz in London, a tour of an abandoned subway tunnel, and longer, lighter days.

Christmas Market Round-up

19 12 2008

I recently checked in on my old friends at EuroCheapo and discovered that they too are in the holiday spirit. And they had several posts that reminded me of one of my favorite things about Christmas, especially in Europe: the holiday market. Alas that I can’t waltz among the glistening lights of Vienna’s gorgeous buildings (see the post, Ginobli is sad too).

Enter New York. Just like the garlands and shop windows, sundry Christmas markets crop up here, there, and everywhere. Sure, a lot of the vendors end up selling cheesy wares and some of them even overlap from one market to the other. But then again there is something to be said for the feel of the cold air (yes, I said it) as you walk through the festive booths with a cup of hot cider in hand. And every once in a while, you even find the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy-for someone, a gift which is ten times more unique than anything you could buy in an overcrowded store.

And so, to the Christmas Markets:

The Pond at Bryant Park: More than 100 artisans selling crafts, clothing, and specialty foods. Plus free ice skating. Plus Celsius, the cool Canadian Lounge where those of us who aren’t (ahem) very good at ice skating  can drink and watch.

Bryant Park, 6th Ave. at 42nd St.; 866-221-5157; Open daily from November 22 through December 28, 2008: Mon-Fri, 11am-8pm; Sat, 10am-9pm; Sun, 10am-6pm.

Grand Central Holiday Fair: From Christmas ornaments to Christmas books, and everything in between that’s not Christmas (bags, jewelry, ties…) the market in Vanderbilt Hall is packed with cool, unique gifts. A bonus: the setting’s pretty great as well (and not only because it’s warm. After a bit of holiday shopping head down into the main terminal where every half hour a light show takes you into winter wonderland.

Grand Central Terminal, Vanderbilt Hall, 42nd St. and Park Ave.; 212-340-2210; Open daily November 16 through December 29, 2008: Mon-Sat, 10am-8pm; Sun, 11am-7pm.

Holiday Market at Union Square: Leather goods, handmade toys, and warm wooly items along with countless others make these red and white booths both fun and festive. Go on a day when the Greenmarket‘s open and get all your shopping done at once.

Union Square Park at 14th St., 212-529-9262; Open daily November 22 through December 28, 2008: Mon-Fri, 11am-8pm; Sat, 10am-8pm; Sun, 11am-7pm. Open from 10am-4pm on Christmas Eve

Christmas Market at St. Bartholomew’s Church: It doesn’t get much more winter wonderland than this, what with the pretty market and the glow of trees from Park Avenue, and if that weren’t enough, the gift selection is great too: everything from antiques to winterwear to the usual holiday crafts all in one fantastical tribute to winter.

Park Ave. at 50th St., 212-809-5200; open daily November 19 through December 24, 2008: 8am-8pm

Gifted (at the Brooklyn Flea): Talk about unique gifts. Gifted is connected with the Brooklyn Flea, so you can browse fun vintage items and then head over to the holiday market, which features fantastic vendors like Jezebel Stationery, jewelry by Bonbon Oiseau, and more.

Brooklyn Masonic Temple, 317 Clermont Ave (at Lafayette Ave.), Fort Greene; Sundays, December 4, 14, and 21: 11am-6pm


Holiday Gifting

16 12 2008

Christmas is next week and this morning, as I walked through Union Square and watched vendors setting up the Christmas Market, I realized that I have yet to even think about holiday shopping. Yes, I am that girl. But, since most people I know procrastinate too (with the exception of my crazy sister who has had her shopping done and cards out since December 1), I guess I’m ahead of the game. At least I have this list of unique ideas to inspire other procrastinators like myself:

  • Green Christmas: Since I’m going to Colorado, where my family only recently (due to much pestering by yours truly) started recycling, I’m thinking green, and so is Sistemas Forestales Ecológicos, a company based in Mexico. For a mere $14 you can give the gift of ecology, in form of a Treesmas Tree. It’s the gift that keeps on giving: for 20 years the tree you adopt for a loved one will be cared for and protected from illegal logging. If that weren’t enough, once the tree is harvested, your recipient will receive a return on your investment (the value of the volume of their tree). Perhaps a long time for turn-around, but better than a bunch of stationery.
  • Deliciousness: If you have a foodie on your list, or even if you don’t, this is an amazing gift. Nudo is an olive grove in Tuscany that lets you adopt an olive tree. Your recipient gets an adoption certificate and tree information booklet (instant gratification), followed by a spring shipment of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and then a fall shipment of flavor-infused oil. Warning: the stuff is too good to cook with—bread-dipping only. You can even choose the grove from which your tree will come. (Choose wisely; if you’re really an amazing gift-giver, your birthday gift to said recipient could be a visit to the tree itself.) And if you can’t afford the $100 (in GBP, plus shipping)  the Nudo Shop sells an array of food items separately, so you can still give the gift of a refined palate. (I’m a little obsessed.)
  • Sabon= Soap: Trees may not be your thing (though clearly they are mine), but don’t go the route of bath products unless they are truly superior. Sabon is a New York-based soap company that sells a myriad of bath and home products in luscious scents. The best part is that all hail from Israel and most are made from the vital minerals and salts of the Dead Sea. You’ve never experienced hand cream until you’ve experienced Sabon Body Butter ($11.75), a magical, melts at body temperature substance that leaves skin softer than you imagine. But my personal favorite is the Body Scrubs ($24-30), which are made with those magic salts from the Dead Sea to make your skin silky smooth. And they look pretty too.
  • Here’s to the Wanderers: If you’re a New Yorker or visiting New York before Christmas, give the gift of travel. Idlewild Books, a.k.a. my new favorite place, is a travel book store, that is not only beautiful but sells all things travel, a go-to place to pick up the guidebook along with the literature of a particular place. Or better yet: if you can’t decide, tell the smart folks there about your giftee and their trip, and they’ll take care of the rest, with a customized gift pack (hint: mention DailyCandy before 12/29 and get 25% off a pack of three or more).

Whew! A lot of word for four gift ideas. Now stop reading and get to shopping!