Unique, Luxe Little Gifts Under $30.00 @PilotPenUSA, @LandsEnd, @BottleHood, @Loccitane @Tweezerman, @NYX,@MeetMark, @avon

Think you can’t get a decent, luxurious gift for someone for $25.00?  Think again!  The brands the Advice Sisers are calling out in this feature, offer products that are not just useful, but also unique and yes (dare we say it), luxurious! Check out our gift suggestions and see if some of these are right for the special people on you list that you want to thank with a “little something.”

Clocking in at just $20.00 is the Tech Savvy Clutch, from MARK.  When I saw this clutch at the MARK/Avon holiday preview, I nearly flipped!  This green clutch with bright blue lining really looks amazingly expensive, but it is less than a cheap dinner!  The textured green “Pleather” clutch is nicely stitched and reinforced, and closes with a bold, rosey-gold toggle clasp. at a slender  .11 1/2″ L x 9″ H; it fits tablets measuring 10 1/2″ L x 8 1/4″ W and smaller (alas, not my slightly longer, ASUS Transformer tablet),. Still, it makes a nice multi-purpose clutch, or for a regular writing pad, or stuff your kindle or other e-reader in it maybe with your travel documents on your next trip.  .11 1/2″ L x 9″ H; fits tablets measuring 10 1/2″ L x 8 1/4″ W and smaller. In any case, it’s a fabulous gift. Order yours through your favorite MARK representative, or at www.meetmark.com

Laptops, Desktops, iPads, Mobile Phones….these days we’re so used to the digital world, many of us only use a pen for signing our name on official documents, but I would be willing to bet that just about every man, woman and child has a pen in his/her pocket, backpack, tote, or purse. There is power in holding a pen!  While pens are essential to communication (where would we be if the signers of the Declaration of Independence didn’t know how to use a Quill?   Writing with a great pen is a singular pleasure.   For the holidays, Pilot Pen has plenty of pens in different price points that not only look festive, some are seriously high tech.

For example, the new FriXion eraseable gel pen lets you actually easily and quickly erase a mistake, without damaging the paper you’ve enscribed. The secret is heat-sensitive ink that lets you erase and re-write just as you would do with a traditional pencil. The pens glide smoothly on paper, with fine line tips. But the other side of the pen has a tip that looks like plastic, and is, in fact, an eraser that will remove ink from paper without ripping it to shreds.  Perhaps 007 James Bond could decipher was you had originally written, but the average person will never know you erased something. The pens are available, nicely packaged in cardboard and cello-packs as a two-pack ($2.84) at Walmart, a three pack (assorted colors $3.71) and as a five pack at Staples ($7.29). Choose a rainbow of colors (great for scrap-bookers and families): black, red, blue, pink, orange green, brown, and purple. Kids and teens will find these fun to use, adults will find them indesPENsible! TIP: erase-able pens are not the best choice for legal documents.

For a boxed gift that looks reallyexpensive but is under $20.00, Pilot offers three different types of metal “Metropolitan Pens”: an elegant black Fountain Pen ($18.75); matte gold Ballpoint ($16.75) and my favorite, the made-in-Japan, matte silver Gel Roller ($16.75) with an easy to use, swivel open/close operation. These pens come in presentation boxes with plush liners and elastics to hold the pens in place. Each pen has a brass barrel and stainless accents and nib. This is a great gift for a co-worker, a boss. Just add a bow.

This St. Germain liquor bottles becomes a work of art!



Can a bottle be reborn as something even more beautiful? The answer is definitely yes, if it’s from Bottlehood Inc. This company re-imagines glass as other things., For example, this necklace on an 18″ silver chain with lobster claw clasp, was a reclaimed St. Germain Liqueur bottle. The large, clear glass shape is naturally finished and makes a eco-friendly (and very fashionable) statement. Even more amazing,it’s just $25.00 ! Bottlehood jewelry and other objects d’art are unique, and great for “green” friends, and of course, everyone else.  On the BottleHood Web Site find all sorts of glasses, dishes

Did you know that it takes 4000 years or more, for glass to decompose? Bottlehood Inc., based in California, works with local restaurants, bars and events and creates works of art in partnership with local artisans. How cool is this?!!!  For just $30.00  you can get this little Patron Candy Dish that is  2.5″ tall x 4″ x 4″ square (I use mine for guacamole and nuts) made from a Patron bottle. It may not be crystal, but for $30.00 you will be getting a one of a kind conversation piece so special, it is priceless!  You’ll find a million uses for this little bowl.  Your tequila-loving friend can fill the bottom with salt and rim margarita glasses from it, too!  Check out even more re-purposed glass goodies at: http://store.bottlehood.com

Another indespensible gift idea that is a fancy tweezer and/or nail file. Everyone needs them, but using one with a fancy design, especially when they’re Tweeezerman quality, takes these items out of the mundane, and makes them ideal stocking stuffers for guys and gals of all ages.  If you are feeling the holiday spirit, Tweeeze the season  by popping a Tweezernan Holly Print Mini Slant Tweezer ($15.00) into stockings and grab bags.  This one is about the length of a woman’s ring finger, but it comes in a clear tube, and has the same precision slant tip (with plastic protector cap) as the larger size Tweezerman items. A green and red holly design stands out on a snow white background. The Tweezerman mini is the perfect purse companion. I’ve had one in my makeup bag for years. You never know when you’ll need it, but you won’t weigh yourself down, carrying it around town.

For the fashionista, there are some limited edition, Cynthia    Rowley Tweezeman items with red, white and blue trendy designs. The Cynthia Rowley Foulard-print mini slant tweezers ($15.00) are the same size as holiday, and there is a matching Filemate Nail File ($5.00), matching, half-sized nail file in a clear plastic travel case. Both make affordable stocking stuffers that your recipients will really like — and use!   The Cynthia Rowley collection launched during fashion week, and I saw them at the GBK Lounge. They’re exclusive to Sephora and sephora.com



A bottle of wine is always a thoughtful gift, but you can make it really special by packaging it in a Lands End canvas tote made just for a bottle of red or white, or one of each! $15.00 nets you a single canvas tote (9 ½″Hx6″W, with 7″ handle drop) made just like the famous Lands End canvas tote bags beloved by yachts-people (Lands End did start out as sailboat equipment company, after all), and $25.00 gets you the double (9 ½″Hx6″W, with 7″ handle drop).  For a few dollars more, you can even monogram the tote (the words “red” and  “white” on my photo is just an idea of what you can do — use your imagination and personalize it as you wish). Your lucky recipient will use it year after year for picnics, to tote wine to picnics, concerts even BYO restaurants. So much classier than a brown bag or plastic tote!  Lands End has so many cute gifts to suit every budget and personality.  * Lands’ End is offering holiday shoppers a stress-free shopping solution – online holiday gift shops featuring curated gifting collections. With its nine new gift shops categorized by price and theme, Lands’ End makes it easy to find the perfect gift in just one spot, landsend.com/gifts. Or simply go to the Lands End web site and see everything!  http://www.landsend.com/ 

   If you love jewelry, especially necklaces and beads, you know that when you’ve accumulated a lot of them, you run out of room in your jewelry boxes, very quickly.  For many people, that means the result is a jumble of jewelry that knots and breaks.  But how can you eliminate that  jumble of chains and beads that end up in a knotted pile at the bottom of a jewelry box, or worse, in a drawer where you can’t even see what you’ve got?  The WOW Jewelry Hangers are an affordable, novel, space-saving way to reduce jewelry clutter, keep your precious items safe, and where you can access them, easily.  If you have a closet where you can hang a normal hanger, you can use the WOW Necklace Hanger ($15.95) or Earring Hanger $15.95), or spring for the Como Hanger for earrings and necklaces for $24.95.  I always thought these types of organizers were just for those with luxuriously big closets, but I have since discovered that in my tiny, over-crowded bedroom, jewelry organizers take up less room than a blouse, and several, hung next to each other, gives me a real view of what I have. Even better, since my beads and pendants are hanging and not getting all knotted up, I see fewer broken pieces of jewelry in my future! The hanger is not bulky, but it’s sturdy, with a dozen plastic pegs on which to hang necklaces or pendants, backed with a soft, felt-like fabric, The combo hanger has a “grid” at the bottom for posts and wires earrings, and the earring hanger is all grid.  There is also a $4.95 vertical hanger for watches and bracelets. Although I only wear tested teh combo, I can see that a few of these, hung side by side, would take up just a little space. The best thing is being able to see everything without funbling around. These make great gifts for all the women and girls on your list. Buy them at: http://wowhanger.com


Clocking in at just $20.00 is the Be Free Palette by NYX Cosmetics. This face in a case kit is not just full of stunning makeup for eyes, lips and cheeks, it has 25 eye shadows varying in matte and shimmer finishes, 2 shimmer and one matte shade of blush, and 7 shiny lip glosses, all in a square compact with large interior mirror (and three mini applicators) that is about the size of a CD disc box.  The outer carton has a beautiful woman in a turquoise gown, and the back of the box shows you the colors, inside. But neither the outer carton, nor my photo above, can really give you the full impact of this gorgeous and amazingly affordable palette.  The top layer is of large squares of eye shadow in earthy, wear-able tones, the bottom shelf slides out to reveal the three big squares of blush, and the seven, lipstick-shaped  pans of lip gloss.  The colors are highly pigmented and high performance.  I am always amazed that NYX offer their products to consumers for such affordable prices. But I’m glad they are still doing it!!!   No wonder the drag queens on Ru Paul’s Drag Race covet the winner’s stash that includes a healthy (or lifetime) supply of NYX Cosmetics. But you don’t have to be a drag queen to love these.  Advice Sisters readers are huge fans (and that includes me).  FYI:  NYX was named after the ancient Greek goddess who ruled the night.  NYX Cosmetics was founded in 1999 by a young entrepreneur name Toni Ko. Ms. who created the trendy makeup products highly pigmented colors to please her discerning girlfriends.  Let them please your discerning girlfriends, sisters, mothers, co-workers and more!  Get NYX at plces like Ulta and Urban Outfitters, and other beauty-centric stores, or visit www.nyxcosmetics.com

l’Occitane en Provence is known for beautiful, luxurious holiday gift-ables for men and women, but some of their gift-ables are so affordable you might be tempted (and do) to treat yourself, as well.  For example, these  stocking stuffer (or secret Santa) Hugs & Kisses ($19.00) duos featuring two of L’Occitane’s favorite products: a hand cream and a lip balm. There’s Date Bouquet, Mango Flower, Shea Butter and Rose Petals. Each hand cream is just 1 oz. perfect for pocket or purse. All feature hydrating and emollient shea butter. The lip balms are of the squeeze tube variety, great for outdoor activities, and when you’re working and need a 60-second break. Slather these on, and keep skin smooth all season!

L’Occitane also has two new limited edition fragrances for holiday: Marvellous Flower – a joyful bouquet of tender roses and sweet peonies with a dash of sparkling berries and Magical Leaves – a delightful scent blending verbena, hazel and citrus notes with a subtle vanilla accents.The actual fragrances are over $45.00, but you can give someone this Marvellous Flowers Voyage Kit ($20.00) with a Marvellous Flowers Hand Cream 1 oz;- Shower Gel  2.5 fl. oz and a pretty little guest soap 1.7 oz. The same little trio comes in the Magical Leaves set, too. You can’t go wrong with either. The fragrance sets are $68.00 each, The Marvellous Flower set has the same products as the mini trio, plus a 2.5 fl. oz. Eau de Toiltte. The Magical Leaves set has the same products as the mini trio, plus an exfoliating Shower gel 6.7 fl. oz and Body Milk  8.4 fl. oz.  Visit your favorite L’Occitane Store, or http://usa.loccitane.com

About Advicesisters

Alison Blackman Dunham aka. “Advice Sister Alison” and “The Advice Sisters” is a writer, photographer, online advisor, and lifestyles consultant. She has built her reputation offering readers a unique perspective on life, in print, in person and through the camera lens. Her focus is on advice, beauty, fashion, lifestyles, relationships and things that help make life easier, more successful and more fun. Please follow Alison on Twitter @advicesisters and check out her other web (advice-related) sites: leatherandlaceadvice.com & leatherandlacespice.com