1. Be a Better…Groom.

    Groomsman Gifting Edition:

    So you’ve tricked some floozy into marrying you huh? Well, now you’re gonna need to buy some prezzies for your studly groomsman and you better make them GOOD because they are the ones deciding if your bachelor party begins and ends at Chuckie Cheese or not.

    Typically, gals are WAY better at buying gifts, so to assist you, future groom, I’ve locked and loaded my lady parts and will guide you on this groomsman gift guide journey. You’ve probably already thought of getting them a personalized flask, or monogrammed money clip…not terrible but I think we can do a little better here.

    The average price range for a groomsman gift should be between $50-150 bucks (best man gifts should be around $150) and they don’t all have to match, just stick to the same price range. Individual gifts are especially perfect if you’ve only got 3-4 dudes in your party. 

    Here are 5 of my faves:

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    -Handcrafted Leatherhead Football or Baseball: Even if your groomsmen aren’t typically the sporting type, most every dude likes to go to the park/beach/backyard and throw around a ball like they’re in some godforsaken Land’s End Catalog. Some Spalding bullshit is not going to do for a gift though…so get them these handcrafted Leatherhead Footballs (or baseballs) and give them the gift of showing off. Football $120, Baseball $38.

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    -Ernest Alexander Tucker Shave Kit: Now, this one’s a LITTLE more typical, but it makes the list because every guy needs a good shave kit to take on the road with him. No need to monogram, this Tucker Shave Kit comes in a variety of waxed canvas colors and will no doubt last a lifetime. Just think, every time he reaches for that jumbo-sized bottle of Gold Bond…he’ll think of you. As a bonus, it’s made in America by awesome people. Tucker Shave Kit, $90.

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    -RC Copter: Who says your gift has to be practical? Lighten things up by giving the gift of boyhood dreams with an RC helicopter! It’ll be the most unique groomsman gift they’ll ever get and they’ll be thanking you for not getting them another stainless steel flask with YOUR wedding date on it. And bonus, you’re giving the gift of annoying their significant others all at once, because naturally these need to be flown toward their gal’s head. Syma Apache Helicopter, $40. 

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    -Best Made Co. Japanese Higo Knife:  Go beyond giving just a normal Swiss Army knife and get them something truly unique. This Japanese folding knife from Best Made Co. comes emblazoned with the word Courage and is a handsome addition to someone’s growing arsenal of items to defend themselves during a back alley fights. Best Made Co. Japanese Higo Knife, $60.

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    -Dinner + Activity: Another option is to forgo materials gifts all together and create a special night for you and “your boyz” by inviting them to a manly dinner and activity after as their groomsman gift. Nothing says, “stand by my side” like a giant steak, perfectly-made Sazerac, and an hour or two at the shooting range. Or basketball game. Or Disney On Ice™. (depending on your groomsman’s tastes) Get sappy and make individual toasts or write handwritten notes to each one and pass them out at dinner. 

    All of these things can and probably should be supplemented with their favorite bottle of booze because…whiskey.

    Happy Shopping Assholes,

    xo Chinae

     


  2. Be Better at…Giving Gifts.

    I asked yesterday on Facebook…if anyone had any burning questions for the Be Better Blogger and two of the queiries were very gift-focused. 

    Now…I LOVE presents so I’m more than happy to tackle these.

    Also, send me presents.

    Here we go folks:

    Q:What’s the appropriate amount to spend on a host gift without looking like a hobo? I need to buy 654614361654 this year and I don’t want to break the bank….

    A: Obviously this was asked by a fellow Southerner, because you Yankee friends see bringing a host gift as showing up with a $6 bottle of Trader Joe’s Sparkling Wine, handing it over to the host, and then drinking it all yourself in the darkest corner of the apartment. Heathens!

    I digress.

    Bringing something to a party for the host is always a good idea and is expected, especially when someone is providing your ass with food+drink. Make sure to be interesting and thoughtful, rather than spend a fortune.. I do not want another bottle of mid-range red wine with an idiotic organza bow or an ornament that looks like Pier One Imports poo-poo. 

    Here are some fun gift ideas that won’t break the bank that can work for hosts, co-workers, gift exchanges, etc:

    -For the Cook: 

    Huset Animal Pot Guards $7/ea

    You know that moment where you have to leave something covered on the stove but then it starts exploding hot food lava everywhere because it overboiled? Yeah, how bout we fix that with a miniature hedgehog. Cutest gadget ever? Yeah…no one’s gonna hate this one and for $7 bucks, buy a ton and wrap them up reeeeeeal cute and you’ll never leave for a party without something great in hand.

    -For the City Dweller Who Loves The Outdoors:

     

    Campfire Cologne Burning Sticks $13

    Who doesn’t like the smell of a campfire? Well, for those of us who can’t get to the woods anytime, this “campy” gift is a fun treat. The packaging is perfect and to expand on the gift, wrap these up with fixin’s for s’mores and your gift will not be topped. 

    -For the Entertainer: 

    The Leif Shop Coaster Sets, Cabin Teak Set + Copenhagen Set $20-36

    You know what I can’t stand? Condensation. Yeah, I’m one of those anal-retentive assholes that will stare at you until you put a damn napkin under your sweaty drink. Everyone needs a fun tabletop addition like these wooden coaster sets from the Leif Shop. The Cabin Teak Set is perfect for the more organic-granola types and the Copenhagen is ideal for your Mid-Century snob friends. 

    -For the Ladylike-Type With an Edge: 

    Teacup Gift: Around $15 bucks

    Everyone has one…that sorta ladylike friend that is really proper 80% of the time, but the other 20% is a complete and utter shitshow. Yes, you’ve just identified her in your mind. She’ll be the one wearing a floral Anthropologie shift dress with Frederick’s crotchless panties underneath. OK so now that we’ve identified this mystical creature, now it’s time to gift her. To fulfill her sweet side, buy a mis-matched set of vintage teacups with saucers at your local Goodwill/vintage store (note this should cost you about 4 bucks total). To pair with the teacups, buy a little apple cider powered mix and throw it in a mason jar. As to not forget her bad-girl tendencies  for each teacup, buy one mini whiskey for her to mix in with her cider…even though…knowing her, she’ll drink it solo.

    -For the Fun Type: 

    The holidays are a time to indulge in a couple vices and if the gift receiver is also an occasional partaker…this is awesome. It’s smart, funny, and creative…so don’t tell them that I’m the one who thought of it.  You’re gonna create a gift basket of sorts…no, not like the ones with crappy low-grade milk chocolate and nameless Merlot…not this is MUCH better. Get your receptacle (box/bowl/cannister/etc) and fill it with a little stuffing of some sort…and then place your items in and attach a card that says something to this effect: “Cheers To Indulging Your Vices Before The New Year!”

    Throw in the following items, plus or minus a few depending on the recipient:

    -Mini Booze Bottles + Olives or Gourmet Tonic

    -Cigars or Cigarettes

    -Chocolate Bar

    -Coffee Beans

    -Deck of Cards

    -Dice Set

    -Mini Packets of Aspirin for the Oncoming Hangover

    For the Beer Drinker:

    Wall Mounted Bottle Opener $9

    Who wouldn’t want this cool piece of vintage inspiration that is totally functional in their kitchen or game room? A perfect item to buy in multiples, tie with a twine ribbon, and deliver to any party with a six-pack of your favorite craft beer. 

    Happy Shopping!

    xo Chinae

     


  3. Be A Better…Gift Giver.

    Another F*cking Gift Guide Edition:

    Yeah, I know. 

    Another gift guide…sigh. Listen, let’s change this from a gift guide to a “stuff I think is decent and wouldn’t mind getting from someone that feels obligated to buy me something” guide. 

    I already have these but kinda want another pair. You give me shorts that I can wear in the winter, and I’m on board. These HeatTech thermal pantaloons from Uniqlo are somewhere between snowbunny and sexy grandma, and that seems like a good place to be if you ask me. Heat Tech Knit Shorts from Uniqlo, $12. 

    The holidays mean family. Family means being driven to drink. Let’s make those drinks extra fancy this holiday season with these sickly packaged bitters. With flavors like mole, habenero, and celery shrub you’re going to expand your cocktailing repertoire and melt that family-related holiday stress away! Bittermans Bitters, $17.95.

    Speaking of drinking, you’re gonna need to open some bottles this coming year, so why not look fancy-as-hell doing it? Here’s your answer to give the girl who drinks beer while wearing copious amounts of fur. Crescent Brass Bottle Opener, $60 at the Future Perfect Brooklyn. 

    Anything that is scary, creepy, or remotely haunting…is right up my alley. These decorative plates (for wall hanging, not eating) are the perfect answer to creeping those holiday guests out just enough for them not to overstay their welcome. Beat Up Creations on Etsy has a variety of these delightful gems that range from scary to funny, to absolutely nerdy (think R2D2). Zombie Love Wedding Plate, $32 from Beat Up Creations. 

    If you are looking to spend in the thousands for my Christmas gift, look no further. This Lindsay Adelman chandelier will do the trick. The Knotty Bubbles piece is one of my faves and anyone that thinks this light sucks, should take a real look at the way they are running their lives. Lindsay Adelman Knotty Bubbles Chandelier, $15k at the Future Perfect. 

    If you are a total cheapskate and mostly just want to say…”You are only worth .99 cents”, I can’t think of a better way to say it with panache. These Polaroids of expensive sh*t at Partners and Spade are pretty brills. (WARNING, DO NOT ACTUALLY GET ME THIS OR I WILL FIGHT YOU) It’s The Thought That Counts Polaroids, .99 cents at Partners and Spade.

    OK, now we are talking. This is the perfect gift to get from that special someone…Very cool, not cheesy looking, and wearable daily. Giles and Brother include free engraving on their Pied-de-Biche Cuffs…sentimental BUT not vomit-inducing. WONDERFUL. Pied-de-Biche Cuff, $125 at Giles and Brother.

    A good graphic print is always a good prezzie. I am longing for these two from J Hill Design. Texas and New York…two places that I love so much, that can create a wonderful little design diptych. New York and Texas prints, $30-50 each from J Hill Design. 

    Counting down the days until the next time you see your long-distance lover? This wall calendar from Sam Flax is a simple, classic design that doubles as time-keeper and art piece. And so cheap! Wall Calendar, $29.95 from Sam Flax. 

    And last but not least…for the geeky gal (me), pick up some rad new headphones to beat that commute into submission. Micro Gem Headphones, $35 from the Future Perfect. 

    Happy shopping bitches. Also, if you want to buy and or all of these things for me, I will gladly provide my mailing address. 

    xo Chinae