Gift Ideas for Him & Her :: Things We Use & Love More Than We Expected


Here’s a little compilation of some of my favorite things straight from my house–not just random things I found on Amazon, but things I have, things I use OFTEN, things I get asked about, things I had no idea I’d enjoy so much or use as much as I do. If you need some gift ideas or are just wondering where in the world I found a certain thing….here it is…

1. Persian Garden Roll on Fragrance Oil : It’s a less than $10 perfume that I get major compliments on every time I wear it–my mom even asked if I could get her some. Most perfumes give me a headache and sore throat, but not this one, I’ve worn it for two years. Locally I buy it at Healthy Home Market.

2. Sally Hansen Miracle Gel: I’m usually not a nail polish girl because I use my hands so much, but this top coat finishes like a salon gel (only you can remove it with regular polish remover at home!!) they sell nail polish in the same line, but I often use it with any brand nail polish and I’m still really happy with the results–it looks nice about twice as long if I use this topcoat.

3. Sheepskin Rug: I’ve wanted one of these for years so I could step out of bed onto it. Great on a table, back of a chair or as a rug, warning: your cats and dogs will want to claim it.

4. Milk steamer/frother: for years I had this, which works fine for what it is, but once I got this one, there was no turning back, it’s a great partner for my other favorite thing, the Nespresso and can make steamed frothed milk for hot drinks, or keep the milk cold & frothed for cold drinks

silver lining

5. Jonathan Adler zebra tray: if you follow me on instagram you’ve seen this little tray too much, it’s so photogenic! It got so much personality, it’s either by my bed holding jewelery, or in the family room on the coffee table with loose change or random items, or on the dining room table.

6. stainless steel straws: Chad surprised me with these a few years ago, I had never seen them before, I’m a straw connoisseur and LOVE these. I’m not a fan of the thick plastic straws that come with most insulated cups –its like drinking out of a pipe. –if you are into straws you’ll love these thin pre-bent metal straws that turn cold as soon as you use them.

7. Le Creuset dutch oven: I hesitated to add this. it’s pricey. I went over 15 years of cooking and wife-ing before I invested in one of these life changing pots. I have three different french brands, that are three different colors and sizes and two different finishes inside. This size and style and maker and enamel finish is by far my favorite I use it almost every time I cook dinner. Worth the splurge. Shown in the photo is the Le Creuset 2 quart in my favorite color: fennel (we used this even last night for mashed potatoes, it’s the perfect starter size to see how much you love these, perfect for side dishes and sauces for a big family or for main dishes for two.)

8.  Baker’s Twine! Caroline gifted me with a few bolts of  colored baker’s twine a few years ago and now I can’t live without it. I use it for wrapping gifts, making tassels and making everything prettier. You really don’t need to have a separate bin for Christmas wrapping, just keep some pretty twine and number 10 on this list and you’ll have simply beautiful wrapping supplies at your fingertips.

9. Disco Ball: probably the one thing I own that I get asked about the most. Pictured above is an 8ish inch ball, I also have about a 20 inch disco ball. I found the big one on ebay and they have lots available on amazon too. Put it in the sun and watch the show!

black wrapping paper

10: Black wrapping paper.  YES. If you consider nothing else on this list, consider this purchase–for yourself! Once you try it, you’ll use it for every occasion. Yes, at first you’ll feel like you are wrapping gifts for a funeral, but, it is so pretty when embellished with any color twine, yarn and doilies. I use it almost exclusively now for every occasion, you can write on it with chalk markers (this is how coffee shops get that dark chalk writing on their boards, metallic pens and everything looks pretty on black paper. Plus, it’s thick and forgiving when you wrap so it makes your wrapping skills look amazing.

11. Metallic Paint Pens: these are NOT the same a Sharpie metallic markers, not even close. These pens are miraculous and make your writing or dots look on purpose and better. Also–they look fantastic writing on black paper! Everyone should have a gold & silver metallic paint pen in their arsenal!

12. Fur pillow: Texture is the lost people group of design. We can get so caught up on matching the ‘perfect’ color that we ignore the major role that texture can play. I use this pillow around the house every season.


nesting place book

Lastly, The Nesting Place book might be the perfect gift for anyone who lives in any type of house. Right now on Amazon it’s just over $13 and it’s been the #1 Best Seller in Interior Design since it came out in April. This is NOT your normal decorating book. It won’t tell you the best color to paint your walls, but it will give you the confidence to pick a color to paint your walls.

 And for the mens…


Here are some man picks: Chad’s favorite things from the past year, he’s a manly man, enjoys reading, appreciates good packaging, and likes being outdoors….

man gifts

1. Mantry : So, I secretly got this for Chad without asking him because I wanted to see if he liked it. In the past I’ve done BirchBox and StitchFix for myself, and he’s always asked if there’s any good subscription boxes for men. Yes, yes there is: Mantry.

2. Red Wing boots : There are very few things in life that Chad wants. He’s simple. But he wanted a pair of boots and researched and waited and saved and is convinced he will have these boots for the rest of his life. I kind of believe him. Apparently these boots have a cult following, they even have an instagram hashtag.

3. Tobacco pipe candle : Um, Chad bought this for himself. Need I say more? It cost about a million dollars on Amazon, so unless you have a candle emergency where you need to buy Prince Charles a man candle (mandle) then hold out for finding this one at TJ Maxx/HomeGoods/Marshalls for $8

4. The Heroic Path : Every year we find a book we like so much that we end up buying multiple copies to give away, this year, this is that book, Chad has stacks of them and gives them to his friends. Know a man? Get him this book.

5.God and Guinness : All I know about this book is that Chad loved it. It was historical, and had something to do with God and Beer, two of his favorite topics.

 *affiliate links used in some cases

books of 2014


  1. This is the best gift “guide” I’ve seen yet. I finally broke down and bought some baker’s twine for myself (big spender over here) and I have used it way more than I expected.

  2. Which Nespresso maker do you have or recommend? I’m looking for my husband. And thanks for all the great ideas. I knocked out some shopping with my blog reading this morning!

  3. a big amen to the sally Hansen gel top coat!!!! has changed my entire attitude towards painting my nails! & your book was on my {pink couch approved} gift list today :)
    thanks for the great gift ideas!

  4. Yikes, I am thinking and thinking of getting your book. I look at all these home blogs but they don’t seem to help. I feel I have such a lack of imagination, I stare helplessly at my own rooms.

    The La Creuset dutch ovens are at TJ Maxx, off and on, for a better price. Still expensive but they really are great.

  5. It’s nice to see some of Chad’s favorites- since I’m SURE I’m not the only one racking my brain for gifts for my hubby- not just stuff, but something that will really ‘get him going’/ be useful/ will show my deep appreciation/ bring him closer to God and nature. Any other ideas would one SO great to see?! :) Thanks!

  6. Those are great ideas! Thanks for sharing.

  7. My dad is a die-hard Red Wing man. For some reason, this makes me laugh right now. Good list!

  8. I love these ideas!! There are some really cute one! Thanks!

  9. Great gift guide! I have a few of those candles myself you listed for the men guide and its good to know there are several scents available at Home Goods. That zebra tray is totally rad, I will for sure be buying myself one and the straws are are insanely cool……..I feel like this guide was meant for me and things I want for myself haha, so when the fam asks me what I want, I will just send them to this post =) xx ~Ashley

  10. Love this, so beautiful! That wrapping is perfection lady!


  11. Best gift guide ever ! I already wish listed most of your list ! Love how personal and simple you made it ! Thanks for taking the time to make it ❤️

  12. I LOVE this list!! But it reminds me, too, that my husband lost his Red Wing boots (he’s a Navy pilot, so really did wear them all the time) in our last move, and it’s making me want to turn the house upside down looking for them again. They just can’t be gone! They really are the awesome-est.

  13. These are pretty cool ideas for me, I love The Nesting Place book and I would love to combine my Christmas Wishlist.

  14. Wonderful list! I’ve added at least six of these to my Amazon Wish List. And I love my Le Creuset and will check out Home Goods for those candles.

  15. I bought the book for my husband! It’s perfect! Thank you so much.

  16. Heather Smith says

    I ordered a Mantry crate for my foodie husband and the book….thank you!!! :)

  17. I got my husband the Mantry box subscription for his birthday this year and he LOVES it… He is not the type to get excited about gifts so this was a big WIN for me and he is happy for days after it arrives every month! If you have a man in your life get it TODAY!!

  18. Just wanted to pop over and say thanks for the candle recommendation! Was at TJ Maxx today (finishing up Christmas shopping!) and remember you had posted about it, and being candle-obsessed myself stopped to see if they had it in stock. Couldn’t find it where all the candles are, but as I headed to check out I spotted it from afar (in the men’s section, of course!) and bee-lined toward the shining beacon of light that appeared over it while the hallelujah chorus rang above me. Fell in love on first sniff, and since none of the men in my life really do candles, I’m keeping it for myself :) Definitely wouldn’t have noticed it had you not mentioned it! Your book is on my wishlist as well!

  19. I had to chuckle because today what should appear in my inbox but 5 (or was it 6?) posts from you. They made for the perfect morning of reading after a week of illness. I love the idea of black paper and am seriously considering purchasing it but promised I will not buy any more wrapping paper until we have completely used up our collection. If you could see it you would realize it will be quite the undertaking. I have a #20 crock filled with tubes of wrapping paper! :-) I just might have a thing for wrapping paper…. so if you know of anyone who needs any packages wrapped. :-) I am off to do a little shopping in a bit and will have to stop into TJ Maxx to see if they have this delightful candle especially since I live in a house of men. My husband likes candles well enough but our 15 year old LOVES candles and this might be just the perfect little gift to include in his stocking. Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas! (we are hoping to finally get out and enjoy a bit of it as a respiratory flu hit our house over a week ago and we’ve missed all the parties and church functions… )

  20. I’ll just be adding the entire “for her” section to my own wishlist…plus that tobacco pipe candle ;-)

  21. I bought my husband the 2 books you recommended, and they were a huge hit! Because you’re on a role, do you have any more recommendations?

  22. There are very few things in life that My husband wants. He’s simple, down to earth. But he wanted a pair of boots that can he have those boots for the rest of his life. Apparently I BOUGHT your recommended Red Wing boots for him, that have same features my husband wants.hes very happy he really like it. thanks and keep posting your ideas.

  23. My husband He’s simple, down to earth and There are very few things in life that he wants.
    But he wanted a pair of boots that can he have those boots for the rest of his life. Apparently I BOUGHT your recommended Red Wing boots for him, that have same features my husband wants.hes very happy he really like it. thanks and keep posting your ideas.

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