Holiday Gifts for Him


It’s always tough putting together gift guides for Him that don’t give away what I’m buying for Carter this year. But I think I’m up for the challenge ;)

I’m only doing one holiday gift guide for men this year, so this is a beast of a guide, so bare with me. There are LOTS of ideas here!



Holiday Gifts for Him


From left to right:

Polo 3-Pack of boxer briefs – on sale for $28.14 at Nordstrom.
While probably the least exciting thing on this list (and certainly undeserving of the top spot they ended up in), these boxer briefs are high quality and make excellent stocking stuffers for your significant other.

Magnanni Chelsea boots – an embellished style for $350 at Nordstrom or a more classic style, also $350 at Nordstrom.
A sexy chelsea boot that is a stylish alternative to his typical work shoe.

AG ‘Matchbox’ pants – $178 at Nordstrom.
Once upon a time, Carter was a devoted a Levi’s enthusiast, with the only real exceptions being dress and suit pants. But like trying a fine wine for the first time, after you have a taste of luxury – it’s hard to go back. That’s what happened with Carter and designer jeans. First, it was a pair of Sevens. They were beautiful, soft, but unfortunately didn’t hold their shape. But since then he has discovered AG’s ‘Matchbox’ pants, and has never looked back. They are truly the most flattering cut (and gorgeous in denim too), but what really sets these apart from the competition is how soft and comfortable they are, while still hugging all the right places. Magically, unlike the other designer pant competitors, these manage to keep their shape through multiple wears before hitting the washer.

Shun Premier Santoku Knives – $119.95 and up at William Sonoma.
For the home cook, these knives are perfection. After extensive research, Carter put these on our wedding registry. At first I thought fancy knives were a waste of money, but I quickly changed my tune after I started using them. And Carter of course is absolutely obsessed with them.

Cast iron skillets – $16.95-$24.95 at Crate & Barrel.
I talked about these in my last gift guide. These are great multi-purpose skillets, and you really can’t beat that price point for the quality.

Alpha Industries ‘Slim Fit’ bBomber jacket – $140 at Nordstrom.
Bomber jackets are undoubtably the jacket of the year for both men and women (I looove mine!) I’m a big fan of this one for men because of the reasonable price point and classic style. It pairs so nicely with tee shirts, button ups, jeans or even slacks – adding just the right amount of warmth and lots of style. Choosing between the green, grey and black will be a tough decision, but you can’t go wrong with any of them!

TV floor plan print  – $20-$85 on Etsy.
I talked about this in my last gift guide.

Star Wars Collectors Socks – $20 and up at Nordstrom.
I think these speak for themselves.

Louis Vuitton wallet – $440 at Louis Vuitton.
Like anything Louis Vuitton, this wallet is a luxury item and thus a splurge. But it’s a piece he’ll use every single day and have for years to come. (Isn’t that the definition of what you should splurge on?) Louis’ coated canvas is one of the most durable materials there is. It’s practically indestructible, which is exactly what a man needs in a wallet that he sits his butt on all day, everyday. I got one for Carter last year and it still looks like new.

The Tie Bar large style box – $99 at Nordstrom.
Tie Bar pieces end up on my men’s gift guides ever year, and for good reason. They’re super stylish and great quality for the price. This style box – that comes with three ties, three coordinating pocket squares, and two pairs of coordinating socks – is no exception. Not crazy about the blue and green color combo? No problem – Nordstrom has plenty of others to choose from.

Magnanni ‘Miro’ Double Monk Strap shoes – $325 at Nordstrom.
These are Carter’s all-time favorite shoes. You can find the matching belt here.

Addidas Stan Smith ‘Mid’ Sneakers – $100 from ASOS (and selling out fast!)
Not a low top, but not-quite a high-top, these rare mid-top sneakers are, without a doubt, some of my favorite sneakers of all time. Like all Stan Smiths, they’re unisex. I bought a pair for myself last year and wore them practically daily. Their mid-height makes them not-your-typical Stan Smith shoes and I’ve never seen anybody else wear them, making them perfectly unique. Mine are getting worn down and I am beyond devastated that it’s impossible to find them in my size anymore. But the good news for your better half is that these shoes are still available in quite a few men’s sizes.

Tumi carryon spinner suitcase – $495 at Macy’s.
Men love Tumi. That’s a scientific fact. And it doesn’t get much sleeker than this go-everywhere carryon bag. Lightweight and compact – this is pretty much the perfect suitcase for him.

Anonymous socks – $26 each at Club Monaco.
These cozy knit socks are sophisticated, but not too serious.

J Crew trench coat – $298 at J Crew.
It doesn’t get much more classic than a trench coat – the perfect layering piece this season for the man on the go.

Phew! Have I talked your ear off yet? I apologize, brevity is not my strong suit. Regardless, I hope this guide was helpful. And if it wasn’t, be sure to check out last year’s gift guide for men!

I’m always looking for good gift ideas, so if I missed something – and I’m sure I did – sound off in the comments and let me know what you’re getting for the men in your life!


Our Guest Room: After Photos

Guest room nightstand

Our guest room is finally finished! And if I do say so myself, it’s pretty darn cute. I shared a preview of my plans for this room a few months ago but after posting it decided to go a really different direction. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but something about that design didn’t feel right to me.

Then I found these pillows on Etsy and everything fell into place. The pillows added a calming pattern that balanced out the chaos of the polka dot bedding.

Guest room before and after

Much improved, no? I mean, look at that warm, overhead lighting…

Guest room lighting

It’s such a happy room now! But what, exactly, is new?

New light fixture: $119 from West Elm during sale event
Fresh coat of paint: $45 from Miller Paint
Plant: Free (donated from a neighbor)
Decorative mirrors: $24.99 from Target
Pillows for a pop of color: $42.90 for two from Say It With Pillows
Total cost: $231.89

Guest room after

It isn’t new since you last saw this room, but the polka dot duvet and shams are from Ikea (a steal at $29.99). The solid gray shams are from an old bedding set from Macy’s Hotel Collection. The night stands are our old master bedroom nightstands, a discontinued style from Ikea. The bed frame is from And the buddha table lamps are from my favorite brick-and-mortar discount shop, Home Goods.

The wall across from the foot of the bed was empty when I showed you these photos, so we moved a desk in here and hung some art to make the room feel more complete. Carter actually made the desk for under $100 (lucky me, he’s so handy!) so that we’d have a place we could both sit and work. But as it turns out, I prefer to work at the kitchen table and the desk ended up being a little too large for our living room anyway, so it ended up in here. But that’s okay, because it means that guests will have extra seating and a work space if they feel so inclined.

Double desk

We bought the zebra chairs from Home Goods a few years back. They used to be our dining chairs but we only had a set of two and they didn’t look right with our new, larger table. But I still love them so we found them a home in the guest room. (Even thought they totally don’t match the color scheme I was going for in here, but whatever!)

The art above the desk is a set of pieces we painted ourselves to go above our couch in our last apartment. (Tip: Buying large-scale art is expensive, painting your own abstract art is not!) They don’t look quite right on this wall, so they’re serving as a temporary placeholder until we replace them with a TV.

Wait, let’s back up! Did I tell you this room was finished? My bad. Because when is a room ever really, truly finished? You probably won’t see any other posts on this room for at least a year because the rest of this stuff is a low priority, but eventually I’d like to:

  1. Mount a TV above the desk
  2. Add a cute luggage rack (this one?) so guests have a place to put their bags
  3. Put together a little goodie bag of important items
  4. Get a mini alarm clock for one of the bedside tables

Side note: I googled “mini alarm clock” to find a cute example to share with you guys, and one of the first search options Google presented me with was “mini alarm clock hidden camera”.

Screen shot 2014-03-04 at 10.34.34 AM

^^^HIDDEN CAMERAS IN ALARM CLOCKS?!?! I didn’t even know that was a thing! Ugh. Some people are so gross.

Well, anyway, I’m so excited to finally have this room “finished”. Next up on the home front is refreshing our living room with some new pillows, finishing our “library” (which is coming along nicely, thanks for asking), and most importantly, tackling our master bedroom which is pretty much a blank canvas at this point.

It’s so much easier to be decisive about a room I’m not going to live in, like the guest room. The master is a whole different story. More on that later though.



Save or splurge leather dress

A little leather dress is such a fun addition to your fall wardrobe. Wear it with an edgy pair of booties (like these or these), and a thick, on-trend statement cuff (like this one or this one) and you’ve got yourself an outfit. (Add some opaque black tights when the weather starts to get chilly!)

Buy the save from Anthropologie or the splurge from Shopbop.



My dad and I usually make a point to get out to New York for a week or two every summer to visit his parents (I told you a little about that in this post). To this day, my grandparents still live in the same house my dad grew up in on Long Island.

My dad recently shared some photos with me of himself, his older brother Ken, and my grandparents – all taken on Fire Island when my dad was very young. My grandparents had a vacation house built for the family there, only a short ferry ride away from Bayshore, the town my dad grew up in on Long Island. When my dad and his brother Ken were kids, the whole family would spend their summers on Fire Island. And my grandfather would commute via ferry to work every day.

{My grandparents vacation house on Fire Island}

Although their vacation house was only 30 minutes away from their home in Bayshore, my dad still talks about those summers spent on Fire Island with nostalgia. He talks about how cars weren’t allowed anywhere on the island. Seriously, no one drove. If you needed to transport groceries, toys (in my dad’s case) or anything else, you rolled it to where it needed to go in one of those little red wagons. My dad also told me about the neighboring beach towns he and his brother would go exploring on their own. It sounds like Fire Island was a very safe place back then if litte kids could go wandering from town to town without cell phones. And he talks about his dad taking them out on his boat for the day and them arriving home with some big fish his mom would cook up for dinner. She’s a great cook.

{After a fishing trip}

{My dad and his brother playing with a red wagon}

I’ve been to Fire Island a handfull of times myself. My dad has taken me to see where their house used to be (it’s since been destroyed in a storm, long before it was devastated again this year by Hurricane Sandy), and all the other places he used to tell me about. But it was always hard to picture my grandparents there, and them spending so much time together there as a family. For some reason they never decided to come with us when we would take the ferry ride over there.

And that is part of what made me so grateful to see these pictures. I’m not sure why it wasn’t until recently that I’ve started seeing more photos of my dad and grandparents when they were young. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention before, but now I think it’s fun to look at photos like that. My grandmother was so beautiful. (AND stylish – check out those swimsuits!) My grandfather so handsome. And look how happy they all look together!

{My grandma, my dad, my uncle Ken, and my grandpa}

So because I’m on a family vacation right now, with some family that is newer to my life – but still oh so important – I thought I’d share some photos with you of the family that I’ve known since I was born (at least my dad’s side), taken in a place that I know was (and still is) very near and dear to their hearts!

{My beautiful grandmother}

{Uncle Ken, grandma, and my dad}

{My dad and his dad}