Friday edition: Our best recommendations for your downtime.
Issue 245 ~ November 5, 2021
It's Peak Cozy season, and we're wishing you some moments of calm. In this series, we're sharing our best tips on gifting, recharging, and getting the most out of downtime during what can become a super hectic season.
Editor's Note

You know those people who always *nail* the gifting game?

I asked some of them for their best gifting secrets.

by Alisha Ramos, Founder at Girls' Night In

Morning <<First Name>>,

Somehow, it’s already gifting and holiday sales season. I’m pretty sure I got a Black Friday alert from a brand back in...September? Should this be allowed?! I digress. Today, I want to talk about gifting strategy. I’m a procrastinator when it comes to gifting, but I also like to be really thoughtful with my gifts, which presents a real conundrum for me. 

Last year, knowing my last-minute-gifting-self, I created a system that worked pretty well: I added a task in my Todoist app (any to-do list app could work) for each person I knew I wanted to buy a gift for. I started this list in September (it’s not too late to start!) and took notes over a few months on things my giftees mentioned they liked or wanted, adding the ideas as subtasks. I also linked out to random gift ideas I came across on the internet where I thought, “This would be perfect for ____.” Creepy or brilliant?!

This year, in my continued effort to become a better gifter, I asked some friends of mine for tips on how they approach gifting, as well as examples of supremely thoughtful gifts they’ve given or received in the past. Here are their tips:

Take it from Thao and designate a whole closet filled with gifts and “happy mail”: "I buy things for people I love throughout the year and stash them—gifts for my newly pregnant friend, a friend who loves to read, even my friend’s cat who she adores like a kid! :) I get obsessive about sewing things when I’m stressed (pencil pouches, dollies, pillows) and I keep that stashed in my closet too for random happy-mail!” —Thao Thai, Managing Editor at Cubby

It’s okay to get a little sneaky if you’re not sure what they want 👼: “If you know a birthday or celebration is coming up, sometimes I'll drop in a random question weeks in advance that might give me a hint as to what they might want without directly asking, ‘what do you want for your birthday?’.... This is [also] where social media (if they are an active participant) can come in real handy! I browse through feeds or even look at what shops/products they follow—I admit, it sounds a little sneaky but it can bring you so many ideas on what to get them.” —Megan Soh, stylist and creative producer

In a time crunch? “It can really help to shop in person, because you’re likely to see things you hadn’t thought of or weren’t even aware of. A bookstore is often a good place to start, because even if the person isn’t a big reader, you’re likely to find other things—calendars, journals, pens, puzzles—that might appeal to them, as well as a bunch of books you simply didn’t know existed. Shopping IRL can make it easier to bundle similar items together, or even to choose a card or wrapping paper that’s in the same color family as the gift, making the whole thing feel more special.” —Rachel Miller, author of The Art of Showing Up: How to Be There for Yourself and Your People (and also frequently shares gift ideas on her blog)

I hope these tips help you kickstart your gifting brainstorm this season. you need actual gifting ideas? Oh, have we GOT SOME for you. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing our top gifting recs in several holiday shops so you can find that perfect present. 

—Alisha, Founder at Girls' Night In

P.S. What’s the most thoughtful gift you’ve ever received? We’d love to share your stories over the holiday season! Shoot us a note here and you may be featued in an upcoming newsletter or Instagram post.

our first holiday gift guides are here!

  • Meet: our Golden Gifts, a magical group of presents that work for anyone on your list this year, curated carefully by our team. Whether your recipient is notoriously tough to shop for, or you're crunched for time this year, or you just want to nail holiday season, we've got you covered. 🏆

weekly picks

this week's picks were curated by Olivia Rogine
Sunset lamps make every hour golden hour.
  • This Appointed guestbook is THE gift for the hosts in your life so they never forget their guests and the special moments with them. I actually just bought it for myself ahead of hosting our first guest in our new home! Pro tip: pair it with an instant camera and some film.
  • Yes, canned wine is good now! Maker delivers award-winning wines from small, women- and minority-led wineries directly to your door. These single-serving pours are high quality—scoring 96 point ratings and highlighting organic and sustainably farmed grapes—without the pretentiousness. You can try the handcrafted wine today with up to 35% off! Sponsor

  • After several targeted Instagram ads, I caved and bought myself a sunset lamp. It gives a warm glow to my space, like a fireplace is burning nearby. Now, every hour is golden hour.

  • Because everyone loves an advent calendar. Especially one that involves candles or new makeup (both on sale right now!). Or is that just me?

  • If you’re also on a mission to achieve effortless brows, this is the best brow pencil. Ever. Trust me, I’ve tried A LOT. What usually ends up happening is either the brush breaks off or I overdraw (over and over). This one is virtually foolproof and much more durable than any I’ve ever used.
  • For when you receive a great gift and want an equally great thank you card.
  • Target has my favorite peel and stick wallpaper of the moment. This print will bring greenery to life in your home, even if you don’t have a green thumb.

  • Iman Shumpert’s recent contemporary performance on Dancing with the Stars broke the internet (and earned a perfect score!) for good reason. The dance is an ode to Jordan Peele’s film, Us, and is equally spooky and masterful.

  • For DIY gifters out there, this simple tomato jam recipe is everything someone could want in a spread: sweet, savory, and zesty with a touch of salt. Buy some mason jars, ribbon, gift tags, and call it a day!

  • PSA: Diana Ross’ new album, Thank You, is out TODAY. You’re welcome.


Know someone who loves connecting over good food and wine? Gift these soon-to-be-timeless classics this holiday season:

The Korean Vegan Cookbook is a heartwarming cookbook by Joanne Lee Molinaro, aka @thekoreanvegan on TikTok. It features traditional and reimagined Korean recipes while celebrating the family stories that shaped them, like her omma’s Korean BBQ sauce recipe and her own gochujang-glazed persimmon upside-down cake.

Wine Folly Magnum Edition is the ultimate guide to understanding wine, answering questions like "How can I buy high quality wine on a budget?" and "How should you read a wine label?" The level of detail in this book is speaking to us (it's fully illustrated, including regional maps, and there's even a full-on color coding system!), making it perfect for a wine and design lover.

You can learn more here and shop these books today!


weekly reads

this week's reads were curated by Mary Anne Porto

take action and take care

Learn more about systemic ableism and those working to build a more inclusive future. Donate a copy of The 1619 Project to local schools, libraries, and book banks. Gift a collection that "uplifts the works of authors who are often underrepresented in the literary world," a portion of whose proceeds go to We Need Diverse Books.

reader ❤️ from our inbox...

"I just love this newsletter, y’all. Have been reading for years and every week it just feels like a big hug. Thank you." -Courtney (🤗 Thank you for your support week-over-week!)


Want to change how you receive these emails? Update your email preferences or unsubscribe.

© 2021 No Plans, Inc. (Girls' Night In), All rights reserved. 1875 Connecticut Ave NW Washington, D.C. 20009