Gift Guide

THE BEST BOOKS I READ IN 2019

I was originally going to save this post for the last week of the year, but it occurred to me that some of you may be in need of an affordable or last minute gift idea or something to read while you’re on a plane during holiday travel or have days off work. So for that you’ll need a great book. Of which I’ve read many this year. Here – the 10 best books I read in 2019 (in no particular order). A few of these are going to be fully reviewed in my next Steele Maiden Book Club post before the end of the year, but in the meantime I wanted to include them here. Get yourself to a local bookstore (or express ship it through Amazon if you’re in a pinch) and happy reading!

1. Circe by Madeline Miller: An obvious choice for fans of greek mythology or fantasy fiction, but a surprising choice for those who don’t think they are (like myself) who still may end up loving this story (like I did).

2. Three Women by Lisa Taddeo: For your favorite feminist. Or honestly, for the man in your life that could use some perspective. This non-fiction is a striking read that speaks to human desire and emotion in a really raw way.

3. Becoming by Michelle Obama: From yourself to your mom to your boss, there’s something in this story that will likely speak to every woman in your life. An incredibly inspiring reflection from a humble and hard-working woman that just so happened to become the First Lady.

4. City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert: For all your best girlfriends (especially the one who just moved to New York City). This story is a love letter to youth and freedom and the city that I love so much.

5. Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid: If you worshipped Penny Lane in Almost Famous (and I still do) you’re going to love this book. Like reading a memoir straight from the members of your favorite 70s rock band.

6. Blue Nights by Joan Didion: For anyone that considers themselves a Didion disciple – but would be particularly poignant for someone who has lived through loss this year. Her words on living through the loss of her husband and daughter are both relatable and also unfathomable.

7. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett: Smart fiction at its best, Ann Patchett pulls you into a world so believable you’ll forget it doesn’t truly exist. For anyone who

8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: If you haven’t already read the beloved story, now is certainly the time before Greta Gerwig’s film adaptation comes out at Christmas. Perfect for a young girl just getting into reading on her own or a grown woman revisiting the classics.

9. Toil & Trouble by Augusten Burroughs: Totally different than anything else on this list – Augusten Burroughs memoirs always get me. This one in particular about the next chapter of his life and staying true to his witch-y roots really spoke to me – and gave me a good laugh.

10. Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl: For the foodie in your life or the one nostalgic for the days when the publishing world lived large in New York – this easy read is such a fun romp through 90s-00s at Gourmet Magazine.

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BEST OF: BLACK FRIDAY SALES

First thing first, I hope all of my US readers had a happy Thanksgiving and were able to relax and enjoy a warm meal with loved ones. Secondly, if Black Friday sales aren’t your thing feel free to skip this post.

In general, I’m not that huge of a Black Friday shopper as I think it can often lead to unnecessary purchases just because of a “deal”, but I certainly like saving money where I can. So I try to use this day to pick up select gifts and also stock up on any winter basics I need – like tights or cotton turtlenecks – that I know I’ll wear to shreds and can get for half price. And while I’m not in the market for any major home items this year, it’s a great time to pull the trigger if you are.

Below are my top picks from things I own and love that are now on sale and then a short list of the things I’m actually planning to buy myself.

  1. By this point you should all know that Talbots is one of my favorite places to find everything from classic wardrobe staples to fun accessories. You can save 50% off one item until noon on Black Friday and 40% off everything else. My holiday capsule wardrobe features lots of favorites from them – but my top picks are this plaid blazer, this fair isle sweater, these boots (I’m so in love with my pair), and this great wool boucle coat.
  2. We bought this rug from Lulu & Georgia for our living room a few months back and I’m still 100% happy with our choice. It’s 25% off right now and I can’t say enough good things about the quality and how it’s wearing so far.
  3. While we’re on home items – we found our new record player at Urban Outfitters and they’re offering buy one item, get one at 50% off. This would make such a great gift.
  4. You all seemed to love these corduroy overalls as much as I did when I wore them the other day (featured in my 5 Casual Winter Outfits post). Anthropologie has 30% off sitewide which would be a great time to pick up a few new fun pieces like those to freshen up your winter wardrobe. I’ll be stocking up on my favorite candles too – this one is our go-to holiday scent.
  5. I’ve always been a big fan of hair accessories, so I’m all for the resurgence of headbands right now. I just picked up several including this satin one and this plaid one from J.Crew – they’d make such cute gifts for girlfriends, sisters or co-workers. And since everything is 50% off their site right now, you likely won’t want to stop at just headbands.
  6. Mango has quickly become my go-to for affordable, more fashion-forward pieces. I loooove the look of this tweed blazer and miniskirt set and think I’m going to grab them during their 30% off sitewide sale.
  7. It’s been a long time since I’ve bought myself a piece of jewelry but I can’t stop thinking about this oversized pearl ring. At 20% off today I just might call myself Santa.
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LAST MINUTE GIFT IDEAS UNDER $50

The Steele Maiden: Last Minute Gifts Under $50

I hate to break it to you… but time is running out to wrap up your holiday gift shopping. So if – like me – you’re in need of a few more last minute gift ideas before Monday, I’ve got you covered! All of these are under $50 and will ship to you by Friday December 22nd. Run, run Rudolph!

SHOP LAST MINUTE GIFTS: 

  1. I love this cute retro alarm clock – for the person who is always oversleeping.
  2. This boxed book set would be so special for a little girl in your life (or anyone really – they’re classics for a reason!)
  3. I’m still not over the idea of toting around a polaroid to have a tangible photo memory of your next vacation – or even Christmas morning.
  4. Is there anything better than freshly sharpened colored pencils? Gift to the doodler in your life.
  5. This laptop sized backpack is perfect for your college aged brother/cousin/nephew.
  6. No one has ever had too many bright pom hats.
  7. This wall mounted bottle opener is so much prettier than digging an old one out of a drawer.
  8. Cute coasters – gift with a bottle of their favorite wine or liquor.
  9. How fun are these pineapple string lights? Gift them to your co-worker who is already dreaming of next summer.
  10. This is my all-time favorite perfume – in handy travel sized roll-ons.

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THE ONLY CYBER MONDAY SALES YOU NEED TO SHOP

The Steele Maiden: Holiday Travel - Shearling Seychelles Booties

**Updated the below with the best of Cyber Monday sales**

Hopefully you’re all relaxing at home – still in a post-turkey haze and plan on shopping from the comfort of your pajamas. Black Friday weekends sales, while amazing, can feel fairly overwhelming. Which is why I’ve narrowed down my sale suggestions to just 10 of the best that I’ll be shopping this year. See the list below and if you need gift ideas – I’ve got 100 great ones for everyone on your list here. Happy shopping friends!

1. ANTHROPOLOGIE – 20% off full-priced items + 30% off sale items + free shipping over $100
– I suggest the booties shown above and this sweater I just bought. Plus the outfit below (skirt and sweater).
The Steele Maiden: Black and White Holiday Style - Anthropologie Pearl Tulle Skirt and Off the Shoulder Sweater
2. AMAZON – A variety of deals across all categories.
– Need I say more? For sheer breadth you can’t beat it. I suggest electronics like this crockpot or Nespresso machine plus great fashion items like these Adidas sneakers I just got.
3. J.CREW – Now an incredible 50% off sitewide + free shipping with code SHOPFAST until noon today
– So many good things for him and her. I just bought this plaid puffer vest and these starry earrings.
4. LANDS END – 50% off site wide + free shipping
– I love their outerwear – like the floral puffer jacket shown below or this trench coat I wear constantly.
The Steele Maiden - 3 Must Have Coats for Fall Travel
5. NORDSTROM – Extra 20% off sale items – plus lots more price-matched
– Great for finding things for the entire family – from beauty gift sets to cozy throw blankets.
6. OLD NAVY – 50% off sitewide + free shipping over $25 with code FREESHIP
– Another family friendly sale – I love their cute holiday pajamas and cold-weather accessories.
7. SHOPBOP – up to 30% off orders with code MORE17
– Perfect if you’ve got your eye on staples from your favorite brands or big ticket luxury pieces.
8. TALBOTS – 50% off one item + 40% off the rest of your purchase
– The entire outfit below (vest, velvet leggings and heels) is included. I always love their boots, sweaters and coats.
The Steele Maiden: Luxe Textures for Fall - Velvet Jeggings, Cashmere Sweater and Faux Fur Plaid Vest

9. URBAN OUTFITTERS – $15 off $75, $50 off $150 purchase

– One of my favorite spots for affordable party dresses and fun Christmas tree ornaments.

10. WEST ELM – Sitewide deals + free shipping with code FREERIDE

– A perfect time to pick up bedding, and kitchen or bar items that make great gifts

 

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THE STEELE MAIDEN’S 100 BEST HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS

The Steele Maiden - Cozy Holiday Style - Lands' End sweats and Anthropologie Mug

Get cozy – because this is one you’re going to want to spend some time with. For the first time ever I’m bringing you: The Steele Maiden’s 100 Best Holiday Gift Ideas for everyone on your list (I stopped at 100 because I didn’t want to out-do Oprah’s 102 Favorite Things.. naturally). I think there’s a special kind of joy in finding just the right thing for just the right person and since this year has felt particularly tough for the world at large – it would be nice if we could all spread a bit more joy this season, no? So go on and peruse to your heart’s delight. And if you still can’t find the gift you’re looking for.. find me here. I’ll be playing Secret Santa all weekend long. Happy shopping friends!

The Steele Maiden: 100 Best Holiday Gift Ideas

 

SHOP GIFTS FOR: LADIES

*The Steele Maiden Top Pick: This Polaroid camera disguised as an old film version – so cute!

The Steele Maiden: 100 Best Holiday Gift Ideas

SHOP GIFTS FOR: GENTLEMAN

*The Steele Maiden Top Pick: Totally not my thing, but Adam got this Oculus Virtual Reality headset last year and loves it. Plus – it’s hilarious to have parents/grandparents try them on over the holidays.

The Steele Maiden: 100 Best Holiday Gift Ideas

SHOP GIFTS FOR: THE HOME

*The Steele Maiden Top Pick: A tie between this Instant CrockPot my sister has been raving about and these pretty gold-flecked mugs.

The Steele Maiden: 100 Best Holiday Gift Ideas

SHOP GIFTS FOR: LITTLE ONES

*The Steele Maiden Top Pick: This hat and mitten set – instant snuggle bear status.

The Steele Maiden: 100 Best Holiday Gift Ideas

SHOP GIFTS FOR: TRAVELERS

*The Steele Maiden Top Pick: This multi-purpose backpack with compartments for everything.

The Steele Maiden: 100 Best Holiday Gift Ideas

SHOP GIFTS FOR: BEAUTY FANS

*The Steele Maiden Top Pick: This silk pillowcase – helps prevent wrinkles and preserves blow-outs!

The Steele Maiden: 100 Best Holiday Gift Ideas

 

SHOP GIFTS FOR: HEALTH + WELLNESS

*The Steele Maiden Top Pick: This book – for getting a jumpstart on a happier 2018.

The Steele Maiden: 100 Best Holiday Gift Ideas

 

SHOP GIFTS FOR: THE OFFICE

*The Steele Maiden Top Pick: This set of pencils with Beyonce lyrics – just try writing with one and not smiling.

The Steele Maiden: 100 Best Holiday Gift Ideas

SHOP GIFTS FOR: LUXURY LOVERS

*The Steele Maiden Top Pick: This cruiser bicycle (extra points if you add a basket on the back!)

The Steele Maiden: 100 Best Holiday Gift Ideas

SHOP GIFTS FOR: UNDER $25

*The Steele Maiden Top Pick: These ribbon wrapped hoop earrings – available in 4 classic colors.

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The Steele Maiden © 2012

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle. Based in NYC.