There's no dispute over the fact that giving is ALWAYS better than receiving, but let's be honest...receiving is pretty great too. Here's a roundup of the best gifts my family and I received this year!
This year was an awesome mashup of small kitchen appliances, gadgets, tools, and luxury ingredients. Perfect for a food loving family!
Our Place Always Pan: A pan so nice I bought it twice. Just kidding, I only bought it once, but loved it so much that I was thrilled when I was gifted a second pan for my kitchen studio from my mom this year. I originally purchased the more conservative Steam color, but my mom got me Spice and I LOVE the color!
Food 52 Sponge Cloths: These all-purpose, sponge cloths have been called "cleaning overachievers" and an all-natural substitute for paper towels and cleaning cloths—simply rinse, dry, and repeat. Made in Sweden and ready to take on counters, dishes, tiles, tubs, mirrors...every surface in sight. I can't wait to put mine to the test!
Dash Rapid Egg Cooker: Perfect eggs EVERY time! Whether you like your eggs hard, medium, or soft boiled, this nifty little modern egg cooker gets the job done with the simple press of a button. It's so easy to cook eggs in this thing, my kids can even do it! Huge bonus is that the shells peel so easily, making cleanup a breeze.
EVO Oil Sprayer: This is one of those products my mom has been using for years and every time I come home I think "I need to get one of these!" She finally gifted me one this year and I'm so excited about it. I plan to use it for coating vegetables for roasting or broiling, flavoring fillets for baking or steaks for grilling. You can even finish foods before serving, or apply salad dressing with this smart kitchen tool. It claims to be easier to use than a traditional oil vaporizer or oil mister with no pumping, priming, or messy, clogged oil dispensers. Simply fill and firmly pull the trigger for consistent, even coverage.
Cosori Air Fryer: Admittedly this was a gift I bought for myself. Some may say that I'm about a year late to the air frying craze, but I finally jumped in with both feet and bought the highest rated air fryer out there to give it a go. I've got a whole list of recipes I'm looking forward to trying from fried green beans to crispy chicken tenders.
Brightland Olive Oil: I've been hearing food lovers rave about this California based olive oil company for years now. Each glass bottle (the design of which was inspired by Matisse cutouts) is UV-powder coated to protect the precious contents and marked with a harvest date so you know it’s fresh, something not all brands do. I was gifted the "Alive" variety which has a nutty flavor and is great for salads, marinades, and baking. I can't wait to use it!
I love beauty items, but for some reason it's one of those things that I don't tend to spend on easily. So it's the PERFECT thing for gifting, because it's all stuff I want, but rarely purchase for myself. A few of these are favorites that feel like luxuries and a few new-to-me products as well.
Olaplex Shampoo + Conditioner: This brand of shampoo and conditioner has single handedly transformed my hair. I have fine hair that tends to lay flat and not do much at all. The Olaplex has made my hair stronger and healthier – it also smells delicious! Finally, a little goes a long way, so I find that I'm able to use one bottle for nearly a whole year. (until next Christmas!)
Nars Afterglow Lip Balm: This was a surprise to me, but my mom swears by this tinted lip balm. Since we're all wearing masks, this tinted balm moisturizes your lips but doesn't transfer color to your mask. I was gifted a set of 3 colors and all are pretty, yet subtle and perfect for these winter months when I find that I'm constantly reaching for some sort of lip balm.
Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray: This has been my favorite dry shampoo/texturizing spray for years. I savor it each time I either buy a can of it or it's gifted to me. It smells INCREDIBLE, and is the perfect product for my fine hair.
Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Deodorant: A gentle, super effective formula that controls wetness and perspiration while keeping you dry and smelling fresh—without irritation. I have sensitive skin and this deodorant has been a perfect match for me!
Red Aspen Nail Dashes: After nearly a year of no manicures and pedicures thanks to COVID-19, I went looking for a decent alternative. My SIL first gifted me some Red Aspen Nail Dashes in March and I've been wanting another set ever since. Lucky me...my sister snuck a new set of these in my stocking this year. These aren't the "press on nails" from decades ago. They look great, feel great on, and legitimately last around 2 weeks.
Grand Lash-MD: Another thing I gave up once the pandemic hit was eyelash extensions. It was a luxury I had treated myself to for about a year, but it didn't make sense any longer given the state of the world. I've been wanting to try an eyelash serum, but never did the research to finally move forward with a purchase. Luckily my sister did and gifted me her favorite. Hopefully I'll have extension worthy lashes in no time.
Ninja Bots: These hilarious battling robots had us all laughing up a storm after my 8 year old Ollie received them from his cousin Kate. They're easy to play with and a silly toy that everyone in the room becomes enthralled with.
Mighty Music Player: Ollie loves to skateboard and is constantly asking if he can borrow my phone so that he can listen to music while skating. Since he isn't quite old enough for a phone of his own, we were on the hunt for a music player that was both compact and compatible with Spotify. This fit the bill and was a huge hit on Christmas morning.
Storytime Playset: My four year old Nora loves to pretend and these 3D puzzles are easily put together and durable enough to play with. I like that they can be put away in a slim carrying case and ideal for transport/travel. Each playset comes with a book as well, which makes the toy even more engaging. The quality is awesome and they feel like a really special toy.
Charm It Charm Bracelet: Nora is also a jewelry lover so it was exciting for her to receive her first charm bracelet that we can continue to add to with other holidays and birthdays. The company makes hundreds of charms that are perfectly designed for her age group. She received an ice cream cone, lion, and shoot star charm and was THRILLED!
LovEvery Inspector Set: My 8 month old Penny is just starting to really explore with toys and I've had my eye on these beautiful toy sets for months. The Play Kits are Montessori-inspired and based on expert research from a wide range of disciplines. The toys are BEAUTIFUL, really well made, and perfect for her developmental stage.
Jellycat Magic Bunny Board Book: This is the sweetest story about a stuffed bunny that acts as a protector in the nighttime and snoozes during the daytime. The simple story was perfectly paired with a soft Jellycat bunny that is destined to become Penny's best pal.
Home + Organization
Pura Diffuser Starter Kit: This is COOL! It's like a plug in air freshener reinvented. Pura is an innovative tool that gives you total control of your home fragrance. It connects with your smart phone through an app that allows you to adjust timing, scents, and intensity at any time, wherever you are. You can easily swap fragrances, create custom schedules, and receive "running low" or "empty" notifications through the Pura app. The diffuser even doubles as a night light, allowing you to customize the color and brightness to suit your needs.
Slice Box Cutter: After opening one too many delivered boxes the past two months with a pair of scissors that are on their last leg, I was so excited to receive this super well-reviewed box cutter. I've had friends rave about this product and now I'm excited to the proud owner of one. Bring on the deliveries!
To & Fro: My parents gifted my kids each their own packing cube sets (for eventual travel to see Nana and Papa!). I've had two packing cube sets that I've used for years but never purchased sets for each of my kids. The fun patterns and smart design will make (future) travel easy and organized.