Welcome to the first edition of The Brick Nests’ Nifty Nine! Occasionally we will compile nine of our must-haves of the moment, and dish about them with you. They could be tried-and-true favorites, or items with which we are simply obsessed and would love to own. They could range from interior design elements, to useful home products, to the latest fashion looks, to beauty products–really, anything! Sometimes there will be a theme, and sometimes it will just be a mishmash. For this first Nests’ Nifty Nine, in the spirit of holiday gift shopping (it is Black Friday after all!), I have pulled together nine things that I love or want that would not only be great to get for yourself, but would also make fabulous holiday gifts! Let’s start right in on why all of these are so great.
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1. Calypso St. Barth, one of my go-to brands, has come out with several versions of their signature Ro dress over the years, a few of which I’ve bought (check out the Q & A section of our About page to see me in one of them). I will no doubt add to my Ro collection in the future. This is a great gift for someone going on a winter tropical getaway (or if you’re thinking ahead to summer), as these flattering, effortless dresses are incredibly versatile. I’ve worn them with flip flops to the beach, with cute flat sandals to brunch, or dressed them up with wedges, fun earrings, and a bangle out to dinner. The beautiful embellishment at the neckline means no necklace is necessary! Because of the super airy, lightweight fabric and relaxed fit, I’ve even worn them as bathing suit cover-ups. Loving the Aztec print and gold embroidery on this latest Ro!
2. Ah, La Dolce Vita! I keep this coffee table book by Christopher Sweet, which is a compilation of images taken in Italy by the iconic American photographer Slim Aarons, in my living room, and pick it up often to peruse a few pages at a time. Being a photographer, I am naturally drawn to books on photography–but I am also a true lover of Italy (see the Q & A section of our About page to read about my favorite place). I did a study abroad in Florence in college, and traveled extensively throughout Italy during my time living there, and these pictures transport me back. Furthermore, these photographs are unapologetic eye candy. The subjects are the jet setters of a bygone era of glamour enjoying the sweet life in outrageously beautiful and opulent environs. It’s a great source of escapism on a dreary winter day, so the holidays are a great time to give this as a gift!
3. Magna-Tiles are simply one of those ingenious toys that never seems to lose its appeal. For young children, the transparent, colorful tiles are mesmerizing to look at, and because they are magnetized, toddlers can still build with ease despite their less dexterous hands. With a larger collection of tiles, older children stay engaged by the endless creative building opportunities. Heck, I even think they are fun! My kids pull these out over and over, and I know they will continue to be a favorite toy for them–and they would also make a great gift for the special kids in your life!
4. I am a big fan of Simon Pearce. My love for Simon Pearce glass started many years ago when Stew and I lived a short drive away from their flagship store and glassblowing studio in Quechee, VT. We would often go and watch the glassblowing artisans transform globs of molten glass into stunning pieces right before our eyes with incredible skill. We have acquired several Simon Pearce pieces over the years, including some of their beautiful Christmas ornaments. This year, I would love to add one of these charming glass polar bear sculptures to our holiday decor collection (and then never put it away). We have a ton of polar bear themed decorations up around the holidays (and even throughout the year), because not only are they beautiful snowy creatures, but because the polar bear is the mascot for Stew and my alma mater, Bowdoin College. Go U Bears!
5. A stylish friend owns these fierce cheetah print pumps by Loeffler Randall, and I covet them. They seriously make my heart skip a beat. The cheetah print goes with almost everything and is super sexy, but the classic shape and not-too-high heel keeps them ladylike. Though not cheap, this is an investment shoe–a timeless and oh-so-fabulous pair that I would reach for time and time again. COVET. *Update! These shoes are on sale and selling out fast! If you cannot find the size you are looking for, they are also available here!
6. Whereas the Loeffler Randall pumps are polished and delicate, these Sorel boots are edgy and unrefined. Yet somehow they are the chameleon of boots, managing to look “cute country gal” when paired with jeans and a flannel when I’m out in the Berkshires, “put-together suburban mom” when paired with leggings and a long sweater at school pick-up, and “chic city girl” when paired with black skinny pants and a leather jacket when hitting my hometown of Boston. And when worn with a dress, the lace-up detail and mid-calf height remind me a bit of a suffragette–and come on ladies, what’s more badass than that??? The concealed wedge is comfortable, leg-lengthening, and stylish, but in true Sorel form, these boots are weatherproof and have a solid tread (both necessities in these New England winters). Who wouldn’t love a boot that checks off that many boxes? ‘Nuff said.
7. This coffee maker by Bonavita makes a great gift and a hell of a cuppa joe. I don’t know a lot about coffee makers, except that we’ve owned many, and none have consistently brewed our coffee to perfection as this one has. The metal carafe never burns the coffee, and its large tank makes eight cups, so we can refill, and refill, and refill…
8. Nothing says “holiday party-ready” like festive red lipstick. Despite the fact that most days I wear barely any makeup, I am actually a beauty product junkie. You don’t even want to know how many lipsticks and glosses I have in my arsenal. However, finding the perfect red was always a challenge, as getting the right undertone for one’s skin color is not easy. But when I tried on this Jungle Red shade by Nars, is was an instantly face-brightening pop of color. And, amazingly, when I have read reviews for this shade, I have found that it is beloved by women of virtually every skin tone. I love pairing this statement lip with a close-to-bare face and minimal eye makeup to keep it fresh. It is not for those who are looking for a subtle or understated shade, as it is a highly-pigmented, vivid, and punchy red–but I think that’s what keeps it youthful and festive. And the semi-matte finish is just what it needs to keep the bold color wearable. Bring on the holiday parties!
9. I love alpaca. It’s incredibly warm without being heavy or bulky, and so very, very soft. I have a simple houndstooth scarf and cabled fingerless gloves, both made from alpaca, that I consistently reach for on chilly days, and the kids have the world’s fluffiest alpaca teddy bears that are irresistibly cuddly. I am obsessed with all things alpaca, so much so that I have an Anthropologie sweater with a design of an actual alpaca right on the front (check out this post to see me wearing it). So this Serena & Lily alpaca throw blanket is a must-have for me. I love the classic patterns of windowpane check on one side and herringbone on the other, and while it comes in many gorgeous colors, the cobalt will look great in my living room. A warm, beautiful blanket is always a crowd-pleaser of a gift as well. I can’t wait to snuggle up under this cozy blanket on a snowy winter evening.
So there you have it. I truly love the items on this list that I own, and the ones I’m wishing for…well, I hope Santa puts me on his nice list this year! I swear I’ve been a good girl! I’m excited for the start of the holiday season, and I hope you have found my Nests’ Nifty Nine gift guide helpful. Happy shopping!!!
- I believe that a home and a life can be not only functional and family friendly, but also beautiful and stylish. I love vivid colors and energetic prints, and infusing classic design with contemporary personality, global influences, and coastal elements. I'm so excited to share my thoughts, tips, and ideas, from my nest to yours!