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Virginia’s Edited Gift Guide

Gift guides tend to start popping up as the holidays approach but I find myself giving gifts all year – the holidays are just fraction of my annual gifting.  I guess that means I am blessed to have many occasions to celebrate!  Here is a list of my go-to gift options, for everyone from the impossible to shop for mother-in-law all the way down to the indispensable babysitter.  These gift ideas aren’t incredibly original but they are all $50 or less and I have had success with all of them.  Most importantly, I would like to receive any of them, which I think is the golden rule of gift-giving.  If you would buy a gift for yourself, the chances are your “giftee” will want it, too.  Here goes:

The impossible to shop for Mother-in-Law:
Anything from the Stephanie Johnson travel collection – her patterns are so fresh and fun!  My personal favorite at the moment is the Riviera Maya collection.  I adore the festive cotton knit pattern, the natural wood zip, the mandarin liner, and the pink leather trim combo.  This gift comes with a plan too- you can start her off with a cosmetic bag for Mother’s Day, followed by an iPad case for Christmas and so on until complete!  (Pieces start at $35,

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Image via Stephanie Johnson

The Sister with whom you just had a spat:
Perhaps you should extend the proverbial “olive branch” with an adorable little topiary!  Perfect for a sunny spot inside the home or on the patio, this fruit-bearing miniature topiary with gorgeous sliver-green leaves comes complete and planted in its own terracotta pot.  A grouping also makes a unique centerpiece!   ($49, includes 3-day shipping upgrade, Viva Terra)

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Image via Viva Terra

The Friend who just had another baby:
I am of the opinion that by the time another baby rolls around, Mom probably has more Sophie a la Giraffes than she’d like to keep up with and what she’d really appreciate is some easy to heat comfort food (not that I have anything against Sophie.  We LOVE Sophie!).  Grandma’s Chicken Soup – complete with noodles and/or matzo balls – is delicious and arrives fresh-frozen ready to heat, eat and enjoy.  Other yummy-looking options include the mac-and-cheese, which I have not yet tried…(1/2 gallon, $29.95,

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Photo via Grandma’s Chicken Soup


The Hostess with the Mostess:
I am obsessed with these fabulous shot glasses, which look just like rose quartz but are actually carved from food grade Himalayan pink salt.  These salty shooters can be kept at-the-ready in the freezer and are a perfect match for the impromptu tequila shot, which is something everyone (I think?) loves from time to time!…(Set of 4, $30, Uncommon Goods)

Image via Uncommon Goods

The painfully chic college-age Babysitter:
I can’t help but like anything from this iconic Palm Beach design maven – it’s the Floridian in me.  This decorative acrylic tumbler from Lilly Pulitzer is the perfect size – 20oz – and comes with a straw and lid, which is great for the classroom or the pool.  ($15,

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Image via Lilly Pulitzer

The Mom who pretty much buys herself what she wants…when she wants:
I am talking about myself here and I hope that my husband is reading this!  I am in love with this Geisha Flower Silk Robe – the bright color palette makes me happy, which is good because I’ll probably be living in it come September (baby Bell #2)!  I have always wanted a silk robe but could never bring myself to splurge on such extravagance.  My fingers are crossed I’ll get one for Mother’s Day!  ($219, Viva Terra)

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Image via Viva Terra

And finally…

The Gift Closet Essentials:
Delicious-smelling candles, crisp hand towels, pretty bath soaps, high-quality stationary & papers – I like to keep a few of each in a bin in the top of our spare closet.  This way I am never caught empty-handed when I remember I need a gift, which usually happens as I am supposed to walk out the door.  When shopping for items such as these, don’t forget your local gift shop, which may carry more obscure and unique items than you might typically find in your average big-box retailer.