Saturday, December 20, 2008

Domesticity Guide to Last Minute Gifties, Part 6: My Personal Wish List

Every year, Santa always gets the same list of wishes with regards to yours truly: Job. Boyfriend. Car. On-call maid service. Unlimited shopping sprees at Sephora and Nordstrom. Personal training sessions with Jillian Michaels and Gina Carano. A house by the beach where people can actually sleep over when they come and visit me here in Honolulu.

And while this year doesn't look like it's going to be any different - since none of the above has materialized yet on my doorstep - I thought I'd go ahead and spruce up the old wish list anyway:

- Full sets of makeup brushes from Sephora and Sonia Kashuk, since my current arsenal is feeling quite outgunned lately

- Circular knitting needles and some yarn, so I can start making my own gifts... especially since it does look like I'm going to be a godmother anyway (*ahem*)

- Another solo trip to the Mainland, just like the one I just did last summer when I went to Cleveland. Wonder if New York's going to be the next stop?

- An honest-to-goodness day at the spa. Massages, mani-pedis, maybe even a hair/makeup consultation... Oh, what the hell. Make it a week, already.

- A brand new pair of running shoes

- A killer job-interview outfit. All these dark pants and pretty blouses are nice for the field I'm in... but I want something that says, "Hot damn, let's hire THIS ONE!"

- Heels that won't hurt to walk in

- For that matter, boots that look hot but won't hurt to walk in

- A dress that can go from work to cocktails... and if it's black or brown, so much the better

- Quality time with friends and family

- A printer, to make this whole working-from-home-and-getting-things-done setup more effective

- A cure for writer's block and listlessness, respectively

Mele Kalikimaka and Hauoli Makahiki Hou to everyone!

Domesticity Guide to Last Minute Gifties, Part 5

All I could say is that I would never wish this, ever, even on the worst frenemy on my gift list. (From, of course.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Domesticity Guide to Last Minute Gifties, Part 4

This entry is dedicated to the trickiest of gift-giving categories: colleagues and co-workers who may (or may not) read more into your gift than you intended. They may have their reasons, but let's try to be on the safe and ethical side here, mmkay?

For your boss: You know him, you love him, it's a real joy working for him... and if you could change one thing about him, it would probably be his hang-ups about coffee. Ever since he bequeathed his old Krups coffeemaker to the rest of the office, he has been on a relentless quest for the perfect cup: Starbucks is too corporate, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is too mall-ish, espresso machines are out of the question and nothing seems to measure up to his standards. But before you and your coworkers go ahead and shell out all that money for kopi luwak, you may want to consider one last option: Get him a French press from Bodum (like this one) to keep in his office, where he can heat his own water and make his own brew, any time he wants. Throw in some freshly ground beans and you'll have a happy workplace in no time.

For that client: He's one of two kinds of people - the kind who either makes your life hell by making so many insistent demands on your projects (um, hello?) or the one who makes you so many promises that even he doesn't notice that his hands are getting clammy and his eyes are glazing over. Maybe there's a little bit of both in him. In any case, you know that he could really use a tall glass of Chillax, and no cookie basket is ever going to be good enough for him to be worth taking on in the next fiscal year. We've got just the solution for you: Maui Rum from Haleakala Distillers. Some are made for smooth sipping, and some are made for swirling into a mai tai... and then there's Braddah Kimo's 155 Proof Da Bomb Extreme Rum, which is unavailable outside of Hawaii for very obvious reasons, and should only be a good idea if you're working with both Jimmy and Warren Buffett.

For the sad-sack singleton in the cubicle next to you: You've heard her talk so mournfully about her lackluster love life. She meets guys every night, you hear her say, and if she wanted a boyfriend she could hook up with any one of them right now... but she doesn't want just about any man; she needs a man, and none of those "guys" are meeting her standards. Obviously, it's not your business to tell her what to do (unless she is making those lamentations on office time, and even then you should hand the ball over to the HR folks) but God knows she could really use some spicing up for the holidays. This holiday season, upgrade her usual office cocoa with MarieBelle Aztec Hot Chocolate - as dark and rich as she could hope for in her wildest dreams -or tell her Secret Santa to get an entire canister of the after-hours-worthy Serendipity 3 Frrrozen Hot Chocolate Mix. It may not be the same as sending Mr. Darcy to her doorstep, but at least it's easier to gift wrap.

For the hardest-working colleague in your department: Take it from somebody who spent her entire year going in and out of the public school system - nobody, and I mean nobody, enjoys being sick. The only thing worse than being sick, in fact, is suffering that unspoken guilt trip that comes from having to use those sick days - especially if you're in the kind of workplace where people look at being laid up with the flu as being tantamount to a luxurious but unneccessary vacay in the Bahamas. (Just ask anyone in your office who has kids.) That said, the Herbal Infusion Assortment from Mighty Leaf Tea is a good start for anything that can affect your health and productivity: ginger for laryngitis, chamomile for anxiety, yerba mate for mental clarity (or the times when the office coffee doesn't pack enough caffeine), and other herbs to help, you know, promote a clear sense of well-being and all that.

Domesticity Guide to Last Minute Gifties, Part 3

For the foundation-challenged: Seriously, people, it all begins and ends with the Sample Pack from Everyday Minerals - all you have to pay for is shipping, and you'll get your choice (in tiny but long-lasting sample sizes) of three foundations, a powder concealer, and a blush. Start a friend off with the sample and she may not only find a new favorite foundation (or two - their powders are made for blending!) but she may even end up splurging on a full-size custom kit to spruce up their makeup arsenal. It's the gift that keeps on giving!

(This may constitute as an unpaid triple-endorsement of EM, though: I heard about this from SisMei, and after I tried it, I did give a sample pack to Scribey for her birthday. And guess what? She did end up with a custom kit and got eyeshadows and bronzer for free! What. A. Deal.)

For the brush-challenged: Did you know that MAC always offers brush sets as part of their holiday collection? Did you know that their sets this year (like this basic set) are totally adorable? Did you know that they even offer a cosmetics bag with mascara, lipstick, and shimmer powder included? Did you know that all of their holiday kits are 25% off online right now? Why not grab one now before it's all gone? Or before I'm unable to stop myself from writing sentences with question marks?

For the aloha-challenged, kane edition: If there's one thing that my Dad and Mr. SisMei can agree on, it's their fondness for crisp, business-appropriate aloha shirts. None of the bright-colored, palm-festooned Magnum PI nonsense - just good old fashioned reverse-print cotton that looks just as great tucked into a belt and sensible trousers in a meeting with CEOs as it does untucked over khakis and flip flops at the beach. Reyn Spooner and Tori Richard may be the gold standards for Honolulu movers and shakers, but those of us who rely on the ol' Internet clicky-clicky for our shopping needs may also want to check out the selection of Kahala shirts at Zappo's: classic designs in natural, summer-friendly fabrics and neutral colors that won't freak out the mainlanders. (Shown here: Kahala's Native design.) Just don't wear them with mandals... unless you're a clergyman, and even then it might not stop us from commenting.

For the aloha-challenged, wahine edition: Tropical holiday out of the question? Don't want to even think about wearing a bikini in December? Look no further - I recently came across these Ola Hawaii Body Butters at Blue Hawaii Lifestyle in Ala Moana Center, and found them to be totally blog-worthy. The packaging is way cute, for sure, and the scents are really nice (hello, coffee-chocolate!) - but it's the moisturizing power of this stuff - from organic sources, natch - that makes it so perfect for winter-ravaged dry skin.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Domesticity Guide to Last Minute Gifties, Part 2

For the well-traveled man: Twenty years ago, my dad would have gotten a fragrance like Burberry Classic for Men - not just because its aromatic blend of fresh herbs conveyed the appropriate amount of worldly confidence to friends and colleagues without making him smell too sexy for the office pool, or because it would not have clashed with my Mom's perfume. Nope - Dad would have gotten this in his Christmas stocking because Burberry - like YSL and Bally - were one of the go-to designer labels that he would always rely on for his accessories, especially for rain jackets and trench coats. (If only he knew then what the label would be like now.)

For honeymooners and out-of-towners: Speaking of my parents, one of the things that amaze us about Mom and Dad is the endurance of their relationship - after several decades of togetherness, up to and including several road trips and vacations that have tested their bond in one way or another, they still manage to be each other's most valued traveling companions. That's why a travel set like this Ole Henriksen Travel Kit (featured: dry/sensitive skin) and/or the Anthony Logistics Gifted Grooming Kit would make a great gift for the couple who takes frequent trips a deux - whether it's for a romantic getaway or the occasional trek to see the grandchildren.

For the quirky nonconformist: Perhaps there's a guy in your life - a brother, perhaps, or a significant other - whose refusal to blend in with the crowd has not been diminished by time or lifestyle. Get him a fancy aftershave and he'll end up balking at the extravagance, or he'll read the same unspoken message into it as he would with a gift of, say, a necktie or a gift certificate to Banana Republic - another way of saying, "Clean up and join the real world, buddy." Give him a bath-and-body set that smells like, say, cookies or fruit, on the other hand, and you might as well give him a neon sign that says, "A girl bought this for me." Instead, get him something that makes a subtle but grand statement - like, say, a paraben-free body wash (e.g. Kings & Queens shower gel, available at Nordstrom) or a bar of soap that means business (e.g. Bliss Mammoth Minty Scrub Soap) - and he'll appreciate both the sentiment and the practicality.

Domesticity Guide to Last Minute Gifties, Part 1

EDITOR'S NOTE: This series of entries is not supposed to represent, in any way possible, what actual people on my gift-giving list will be receiving this Christmas. Let's just say for the time being that this is a theoretical giftie guide, were I or any of us could afford to give them anyway.

For the girly-girl, or at least those who want to feel like one: The first time I saw the Harajuku Lovers fragrances at my local Sephora, I immediately thought of my niece, the Junior Fashionista. Never mind that her recent pursuit of robotics have left her feeling less than girly lately - she is, after all, a teenager, and it probably wouldn't hurt to have something feminine and super kawaii on hand for the times when she's feeling a little less emo than usual, but not something so blatant as to make her feel like somebody she's totally not. Personally, I'm more partial to the Baby fragrance because it's the kind of subtle, powdery fragrance that's still age-appropriate (and therefore less likely to freak out any adults into thinking she's growing up too fast) while maintaining that subtle edge of sophistication.

For the excitable boy: True, it may be just plain easier to snap up a videogame or two - or at least a gift card redeemable for said video game or two - Lord knows how many times I've walked past the demo versions of Rock Band 2 without being tempted to play along. (And yes, hearing "Give It Away" in a videogame does make me feel old.) But even the hardest gamers of them all could use a little cleanup time to themselves, too. That's where the Secret Santa Gift from Lush comes in: no flowers or cheesy aftershave scents here, just a rare holiday treat of a cocoa-scented bath bomb shaped like Santa Claus, and a honey-enriched soap that literally smells sweet. As far as treats go, it's practically a sugar rush in itself.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Randomesticity: Too Cold to Blog

Yeah, yeah, I know, I should stop bitching about crappy weather in Hawaii - but we just endured a storm all day yesterday, and I actually showed up at work with wet shoes, wet jeans, and some splashes on my hoodie. It's enough to make a girl go GRRRR ARRRRRGGGHHHH.

I am blocking out this weekend and the rest of next week, however, to fill in the blogging blanks before we go straight into the holidays - and not because I am also growing as annoyed as you are with the endless stream of Flo-Rida that greets everyone whenever they open this page. (Damn you, GAP!) I won't spill here about what I've got up my sleeve - lest I forget to write about them AGAIN - so let that be our surprise, yes? :)

Edited to add: There is one good thing that came from posting that Gap ad on this page, though. Dagnabbit, where has Freddy Rodriguez been all my life?