The Dress A Day Dozen Gift Guide: #5 Birchbox subscription

Birchbox

The idea behind Birchbox is really simple: they send you a (beautifully wrapped) box of beauty samples (skin cream, makeup, hair stuff) each month, and if you like them, you buy the full-size products in their store (and if review the products you get points towards … more products). A month of samples is $10, and I've gotten at least one sample in each box that I would consider bigger than "sample size".

Everyone knows that the free samples are the best part of buying makeup, moisturizer, or perfume (and that often the "sample size" of something is all you really want) so why not just sell the samples? Genius.

A year of Birchbox is a very pricey present (you do get one month free, making it only $110) but I have to say I love getting those nice little boxes in the mail … you're basically giving someone a beauty grab bag every month for a year. It's about the same as buying one drugstore makeup item a month … or doing what I do, blunder into department stores to buy expensive lipsticks that don't suit me. If you consider it that way, I actually think I might break even on my Birchbox experience. (8 drugstore foundations, 12-13 clumpy mascaras, or 4-5 expensive department-store lipsticks a year < 1 Birchbox subscription).

[And we're still on the fundraising drive/Secret Lives poll:]

http://www.networkforgood.org/PCA/Badge.swf?BadgeId=114975

If we reach $1200 in donations by December 25, I will write a new "secret lives" story, that will include the top-two vote-getters below:

http://modpoll.com/poll.js?pid=agdwb2xsMmdvcg0LEgRQb2xsGLvHlwYM&theme=&width=200

The Dress A Day Dozen Gift Guide: #4 Walker Bags

I love these cases from Walker Bags

Walker_doublezip

They make fantastic presents — if you pre-load them. A quick trip to the drugstore or dollar store and you can give a great emergency kit: aspirin, nail files, safety pins, bandaids, gum, lip balm … you can also add a $20 if you're so inclined.

NYCers: They sell these at Ricky's and they often go on clearance in January — stock up for next year! And if you live near a Kinokuniya or a Muji you can find similar bags there (although Walker's are the nicest, and they're based here in San Francisco …)

 

[And we're still on the fundraising drive/Secret Lives poll:]

http://www.networkforgood.org/PCA/Badge.swf?BadgeId=114975

If we reach $1200 in donations by December 25, I will write a new "secret lives" story, that will include the top-two vote-getters below:

http://modpoll.com/poll.js?pid=agdwb2xsMmdvcg0LEgRQb2xsGLvHlwYM&theme=&width=200

The Dress A Day Dozen Gift Guide: #3 LEGO Dynamo Flashlight

You cannot tell me this is not awesome:

Picture 5

Look at that happy face! Look at that glowy foot! It's a LEGO guy! It's a flashlight!  Or, as Amazon puts it, a LEGO Hand Crank Dynamo Flash Light Torch!

Yes, that's right: no batteries! Crank this little guy up and he glows! 

And: he is under $20. Best. Present. Ever.

[And we're still on the fundraising drive/Secret Lives poll:]

http://www.networkforgood.org/PCA/Badge.swf?BadgeId=114975

If we reach $1200 in donations by December 25, I will write a new "secret lives" story, that will include the top-two vote-getters below:

http://modpoll.com/poll.js?pid=agdwb2xsMmdvcg0LEgRQb2xsGLvHlwYM&theme=&width=200

The Dress A Day Dozen Gift Guide: #2 Engraved Compact

A present which always looks fancier than it is is an engraved silver compact, like so:

Picture 3

This one is from ThingsRemembered (and is only $15) but there are dozens of sites online that offer custom engraving. 

The important part of the gift is the choice of engraving; I like quotes, myself. A great one for a compact is from Ruskin: "Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless; peacocks and lilies, for instance." (Kind of a memento mori, but for prettiness.) Or try Horace: nihil est ab omni Parte beatum.

[And we're still on the fundraising drive/Secret Lives poll:]

http://www.networkforgood.org/PCA/Badge.swf?BadgeId=114975

If we reach $1200 in donations by December 25, I will write a new "secret lives" story, that will include the top-two vote-getters below:

http://modpoll.com/poll.js?pid=agdwb2xsMmdvcg0LEgRQb2xsGLvHlwYM&theme=&width=200

The Dress A Day Dozen Gift Guide: #1 The Portable USB Power Supply

E686_portable_usb_power_supply_inhand

I know, I know, it's not a dress, but I think this portable USB power supply (from ThinkGeek) is a great present. For $20, you can have a backup charger for your cell phone, mp3 player, what-have-you that holds a charge for up to three months, and is only a quarter-inch thick.

Besides, your loved ones should have one just in case they are ever in a MacGyver-like situation — when someone says "if only we had a Li-Polymer battery cell" they can rummage in their bag and say "Oh, like this one?" before tossing it in their direction. Think how satisfying that would be! (Totally satisfying.) It's like two gifts in one!

(And don't forget — we're still in Charity Drive Time: check out the widget & poll!)

 

http://www.networkforgood.org/PCA/Badge.swf?BadgeId=114975

 

If we reach $1200 in donations by December 25, I will write a new "secret lives" story, that will include the top-two vote-getters below:

http://modpoll.com/poll.js?pid=agdwb2xsMmdvcg0LEgRQb2xsGLvHlwYM&theme=&width=200