Friday, November 30, 2012

The What We Covet Holiday Gift Guide 2012, Part 17: The Resident Nerd

Guys, I think I've topped myself this time.

That's right. I've found the ultimate item for our gift guide. Behold:

You cannot honestly tell me you don't know at least one person who's seen these babies on some television show--Alias, perhaps, or something a little more lightweight like Get Smart--and dreamed of becoming a spy himself just to get his hands on a set of spy coins. Buy these for that friend, and do it now, because I promise it'll make the holidays that much better.

Buy through ThinkGeek for $20.99.

Image via ThinkGeek.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

The What We Covet Holiday Gift Guide 2012, Part 16: The (Nearly) Prepared

Is there such a thing as being too prepared? Sheldon Cooper of "The Big Bang Theory" would scoff at such a question. Most likely, he also has this radio or one quite similar to it in his multiple disaster kits.

For the rest of our readers, a suggestion for the (Nearly) Prepared on your list.

The Kaito Voyager AM/FM/SW NOAA Radio pulls in AM & FM radio signals, as well as all 7 weather bands and shortwave signals to boot. With features such as an LED reading lamp and 6 cellphone charger tips, what really sets this radio apart are the 6 ways it can be powered. The most noticeable ones are the solar panel and the dynamo or hand crank. However, it can also be powered by disposable AA batteries, the included rechargeable batteries, the AC adapter or via a computer using the USB port and included cord.

An added bonus? It is available in 5 colors plus a jungle camouflage scheme.

The only thing nicer than this emergency radio is the price.

Buy through on sale for $49.99 .

Image via


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The What We Covet Holiday Gift Guide 2012, Part 15: The Gamer

If your gamer friend is also your night owl friend, you can just go ahead and ignore this post. Or return the nightlight and pay attention to me, because looking at a screen all night will ruin their ability to see soft, gentle light anyway. What your gamer friend needs--whether your friend knows it or not--is a system that will play both NES and SNES games. On one device.

It's beautiful, isn't it? It has a slot for each type of game and comes with two controllers. It's glorious! Your friend will be able to play all of the first six entries in the Final Fantasy series, some of them in Japanese! If your friend has them. They can supply their own games; don't you worry about it.

Buy through ThinkGeek for $49.99.

Image via the same.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The What We Covet Holiday Gift Guide 2012, Part 14: The Quirky Friend

From time to time, my father proves to be a useful resource for my blogging. (Remember that time he told me about the leather Chucks?) A few months ago, he brought SharkLION Studios to my attention--he knows one of the dudes who founded it--and I immediately knew I wanted to include one of their products in our holiday gift guide. I figured these glasses would serve me well when it came time to bring you a gift idea for the quirkiest guy or gal you know:

The old-school styling and perfect integration of wood makes these frames perfect for anyone in your life who dresses like a retro college professor, or perhaps someone who's looking for a way to bring a natural aesthetic to their wardrobe.

Although SharkLION does not currently sell their wares online, you can contact them through their website if you're interested in purchasing this or another of their items for a friend!

Image via SharkLION.


Friday, November 23, 2012

The What We Covet Holiday Gift Guide 2012, Part 13: The Decorator

In his book Nasty, Simon Doonan writes lovingly of the first decorative object he ever owned. I can't remember what that item was, but I remember the gist of the story: this was an item that changed his life. Not all interior decorating can achieve that level of sublimity, but for the decorator in your life, these pieces might at least bring some inspiration into the mix:

They're the epitome of decorative objects: they serve literally no purpose but to make the room look cool. The greatest thing about them is that you can personalize your gift--perhaps spell out your friend's name, your parents' initials, or your brother's favorite word. Or else you can start your loved one off with a single letter now and buy one for each subsequent holiday (birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and so on).

Image via Anthropologie.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

The What We Covet Holiday Gift Guide 2012, Part 12: The Teenage Boy

Having never been a teenage boy, I cannot say for certain that most teenage boys are chronically late or maintain their rooms in a state that requires a biohazard suit.

I do believe, however, that most teenage boys would not be averse to additions that might enhance their decor, such as either one of these.

Made and sold by two different Etsy vendors, I believe either clock would be mildly appreciated by the Teenage Boy, lest he show too much enthusiasm.

The biohazard clock is cut from steel by a laser, which is badass enough for any Teenage Boy. The zombie clock is cut from an old vinyl record, with an optional label that says "Zombies love me for my brains".

Buy through Etsy for $56 or $42.50. 

Images via Etsy.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The What We Covet Holiday Gift Guide 2012, Part 11: The Night Owl

So, last year you gave your weirdly nocturnal human friend that tea doohickey to comfort them during the night, right? Well, as you well know by now, the thing about a lot of tea is that it has caffeine, and that means that your night owl has to get up to go to the bathroom a lot. In the dark! Is that even safe? No. No, it is not. Enter this year's gift!

That, my friends, is a triceratops-shaped nightlight! Is it adorable or what? It's adorable. It can light the path to your night owl's door, or--from what I can tell--travel along to light every path needed! And it's a dinosaur. With horns! Perfect to carry along when getting some air late at night. Your friend might need protection from bears, or from nature-lovers with axes.

Buy through Target for $14.99.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The What We Covet Holiday Gift Guide 2012, Part 10: The Traveler

There are times in life where you just have to get away from it all. And even if you don't, I can guarantee you know someone who does. For your friends and family with a bad case of wanderlust, perhaps a set of travel books from Taschen is in order this holiday season!

The set pictured above includes 12 volumes covering four cities: Paris, New York, London, and Berlin. Each city has a book for hotels, shopping, and dining. The beautiful covers are a delight in and of themselves, but the information contained therein is sure to be invaluable for someone planning a European jaunt or just a nice long weekend in the Big Apple. The best part? Knowing that you've contributed to someone's globetrotting and memories they'll never forget!

Buy through Taschen for $59.99.

Image via Taschen.


Friday, November 16, 2012

The What We Covet Holiday Gift Guide 2012, Part 9: The Bookworm

For those of us out there with extensive personal libraries, it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of the people to whom we've lent out volumes of poetry, collections of short stories, or our beloved Trashy Romance Novels. If there's a bookworm in your life, why not help him or her out by gifting them with a personal library kit?

This particular set comes with sleeves to place in books, cards to place in sleeves, a tiny pencil for checking books out, and a stamp for noting the proper return date on each card. It's the perfect item to have on hand for the person whose friends are constantly looking to them for a new reading selection, and in particular the more popular titles on his or her shelves. Wannabe librarians will love such a gift, as will those who enjoy a library atmosphere!

Buy through Amazon for $14.42.

Image via Amazon.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

The What We Covet Holiday Gift Guide 2012, Part 8: The Teenage Girl

I took it upon myself to scour my vast resources for a gift that appealed to both teenage girls and boys, only to realize it was exponentially easier to simply find one gift for each.

Most teenage girls have at least some fascination with shiny or sparkly things. I happen to be at the extreme end, and am utterly fascinated by shiny or sparkly things. Cate and I have come to the conclusion that I was a magpie in a past life, but no matter.

The point is, most teenage girls have at least a handful of pieces of jewelry they treasure, no matter the source. The problem lies in having a decently stylish place to properly store such baubles. Any number of mesh earring holders can be had at places such as Claire's, but otherwise the options seem either too grownup (cherry or other dark wood, tall and multi-drawered) or too little girlish (with Disney Princesses all over them). What's a properly stylish/funky/fashion-conscious girl to store her jewelry in?

Urban Outfitters offers a selection of jewelry boxes that look like they came right off of your grandmother's dresser or your funky aunt's chest of drawers.

Above are my options in small and medium sizes. Sufficiently ornate, with a neat vintage curio air about them. The Teenage Girl on your list will probably hide her pleasure behind her surprise that you know about Urban Outfitters.

Buy through Urban Outfitters for $39-49.

 Images via Urban Outfitters.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The What We Covet Holiday Gift Guide 2012, Part 7: The Nature Lover

One day your nature-loving friend is going to get trapped in a cave by a lake or run away from home or something. It's going to happen. Just trust me. The thing is, your nature-loving friend isn't prepared. What do they even do, climb trees and commune with the earth? That's absurd. You know what nature is really about. You've read Hatchet. So to prepare your friend for his or her inevitable run-in with a moose, you have to get something useful.

An axe!

Or an ax. However you spell it. In my opinion, the E is for Elegant. But as I was saying, your nature-loving flower-child friend needs an axe. This Estwing camper's ax is nice and sharp and made from one piece of steel, so your friend won't lose the head in a particularly difficult battle with a bear; and then it can be used to chop wood to start a fire to prepare a victory-over-bears feast afterward. Also, it is the dead of winter. They will be eternally grateful to you after their wood-splitting maul breaks while they're snowed in.

Buy through Cabela's for $49.99.

Image via Cabela's.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The What We Covet Holiday Gift Guide 2012, Part 6: The Foodie

There are two things I know for sure in life: 1) People hate the Fruit of the Month Club. 2) People also hate the Jelly of the Month Club.

Keeping those things in mind, I went looking for a great gift for the foodie in your life from Harry and David, who are basically the patron saints of fruits of the month. (Speaking personally, the idea of such a club has always fascinated me, and I'm kind of jealous that no one has ever enrolled me, although now that I've put that out into the world, I'd also like to say that I prefer the Fresh Fruit and Cheese, thanks).

Something I learned during my search is that Harry and David offers a fine array of gift baskets, both holiday-themed and regular, and that one of them might fit your needs. This one in particular caught my eye:

The Roxy Ann Gift Basket Deluxe has something for everyone: fruit, cheese, salami, and crackers, plus a few other goodies. Since it serves up to 10 people, it's ideal for a family gift. After all, the family that eats together stays together, or at least has fun fighting over the last of the Moose Munch!

Image via Harry and David.


Friday, November 9, 2012

The What We Covet Holiday Gift Guide 2012, Part 5: The Fashionista

Every girl should have the wardrobe essentials: a little black dress, a nice pair of heels, some fancy jewelry, and--in my opinion--a stylin' clutch handbag that she can take on a nice date, to a cocktail party, or to a wedding. If there's a fashionista in your life this holiday season, perhaps consider purchasing this lovely suede option for her:

I've traditionally been a fan of L.A.M.B. handbags, and over the years, Gwen Stefani's aesthetic has refined itself to the point where any type of dresser (cutting-edge, classic, and so on) can find a piece from one of her collections to suit her lifestyle. As far as I can tell, this leather beauty crosses fashion boundaries; the houndstooth is a mainstay of menswear-inspired ladies' clothing, while the foldover aspect of the clutch pairs well with multiple aesthetics.

Any fashionista worth her salt will at least appreciate this clutch. Trust me; I'm one of them!

Buy through Zappos for $157.99.

Image via Zappos.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

The What We Covet Holiday Gift Guide, Part 4: The Listener

Remember about ten or fifteen years ago or so when cigar box purses were a trendy thing? Or was that just around my high school? How about just a couple of years ago when Beats by Dre headphones were the hot ticket item to pair with the newest iPod?

Owen & Fred must have the same memories I do, because they have come up with a beautiful marriage of these two trends in a pair of iPod/iPhone or computer speakers. 

Owen & Fred describes these limited edition speakers as producers of "sound [that] is smooth and easy to listen to. No harsh highs or rough midrange, just natural - musical sound that never fails to impress. " Honestly, I'm not quite sure what the second sentence means, but I do know one thing: they sure look nice. The Listener on your list is sure to appreciate their aesthetic beauty as much as their auditory quality.

Buy through Owen & Fred for $199

Image via Owen & Fred. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The What We Covet Holiday Gift Guide 2012, Part 3: The Cultured Gentleperson

Everyone needs to be able to tell time. Punctuality is important. Now, the Cultured Gentleperson you're shopping for is enough of a gentleperson not to be late to anything, but you can still help them keep this trend up by giving them a lovely watch to add to their cultured collection:

So classy! This 19th Century English Watch is from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I have never been there, but I would bet real money that they know a little something about art and watch styles through the centuries. Here we have no bling, no wacky shapes, no nonsense. It's just so elegant and wonderful!

Be careful, though; this is a men's watch, so make sure your gentleperson's wrist can handle it. (Even if you get it wrong--best regift ever? I THINK SO.)

Image via the Metropolitan Museum of Art Store.


PS How about that election, guys? I'm guessing we all have a lot of feelings about this.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The What We Covet Holiday Gift Guide 2012, Part 2: The Moviegoer

Many people I know love two things above all others: wine and movies. I'm willing to bet there's someone in your life who feels the same. This Christmas, why not gift that friend with something that will allow him or her to combine both passions? Ladies and gents, I give you the Moss Studios Film Reel Wine Rack:

Storing your bottles of wine in an old film reel? I wish I'd thought of this myself, because it's perfectly genius. Now you or your cinematically-inclined friend can kick back, hit the play button, sip on some chardonnay while you watch Dangerous Liaisons (or Weekend at Bernie's--I am looking in your direction, Rachel Green), and enjoy the atmosphere created by bringing a vintage piece of Hollywood into the mix.

Buy through Nordstrom for $268.00.

Image via Nordstrom.


PS In the unlikely event that you're reading this blog instead of voting, get off your butt and go to your local polling place. This is an important election, and I won't have any fellow coveters sitting it out.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The What We Covet Holiday Gift Guide 2012, Part 1: The History Buff

This being an election year, I thought it would be appropriate to start this season's Holiday Gift Guide with a Commander-in-Chief-inspired present for the history buff in your life. To that end, here's a fabulous collection from PBS:

American Experience: The Presidents includes biographies of eleven presidents from the 20th century, including some of my favorites--Teddy Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson (don't judge--he did some great things domestically), and Bill Clinton. And given that it's a PBS-produced series, you can rest assured that the programs are well-researched and presented in a professional way. It's the perfect choice for those around you who appreciate a good overview of American history!

Buy through PBS for $99.99.

Image via PBS.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

I Wish It Would Rain...Just Not So Much

This just happens to be the title of my favorite song by The Temptations.

But on a more somber note, there is a reason behind the title. If our dear US readers have not been watching the news, there was a once-in-a-lifetime storm system now being referred to as Superstorm Sandy that happened earlier this week. In a quick meteorological recap a hurricane named Sandy came straight up from the Caribbean, collided with a blast of Arctic air from Canada, and was sent due west across New Jersey by a high pressure system hanging out over Greenland. New York City and New Jersey have received the most attention on the news as both places have been flooded, and millions are without power. The American Red Cross has opened many shelters in all states affected by Superstorm Sandy, serving hundreds of thousands of displaced residents. As a Red Cross volunteer, I offer our readers an opportunity to make a donation to the Red Cross to assist in disaster relief. Simply click the image below.

Note: the opportunity to donate to the American Red Cross is purely voluntary and not a requirement to read this post or any other on What We Covet. Image via the American Red Cross.

This afternoon at work not only was I casting about for a topic for my weekly post, but I also received a call from my Red Cross chapter asking if I was available for a two week deployment to the Northeast to volunteer in a shelter. I ended up not being able to deploy, something about the hospital where I work not being able to find enough staff to cover me for the time I'd be gone. Anyway, on my way home I suddenly realized how much scrambling I would have to do in order to ready myself for a sudden 2 week deployment to a disaster. As I've been out on my own, I've become more aware of how much of a contingency planner I am. I would have to find someone not only to take over my home health clients for two weeks, but someone to look in on my cats and feed them, as well as take the food out of my fridge as it spoiled. Then my mind turned to what I would wear on a deployment.

I believe someone famous may have said something along the lines of  "A woman is only as good as her shoes" or maybe it was "A woman only needs a good pair of shoes, then she can take on the world". If the second quote sounds familiar, it may have been Marilyn Monroe. Either way, I realized quite suddenly that a deployment to a shelter in an area affected by Sandy would more than likely mean a flooded or semi-flooded area, and I did not have a good pair of rain boots for such a situation. And this post began to write itself.

Ever since my years in college working in a barn, I have coveted a good pair of calf-length rain boots. I pictured myself slogging through the paddocks with a horse's lead rope in each hand, soggy or damp everywhere but my nice toasty dry feet. Thankfully, I became adept at dodging giant puddles and thus avoiding soggy socks. I still coveted rain boots from afar. I dreamt of a pair each of Hunter Wellies and L.L. Bean Boots.

Hunter Original Tall Boots used to only come in about three colors: green, navy blue, and black. They are the footwear of choice for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II  when she visits her stables of exquisitely bred horses. Now they are available those three colors, plus too many others to list here. I like bright colors, and bright colors on rainy days look extra saturated in the diffused light. My color choices are Yellow, Pillar Box Red, and Vermillion (pictured below). My one suggestion for all rain boots, remember that dark colors absorb heat, so the dark colors may roast your feet.  

Top: Hunter Original Tall Boot in Yellow. Middle: Hunter Huntress High Gloss in Pillar Box Red. Bottom: Hunter Original Tall Gloss in Vermillion. All images via Hunter.

The red boot is a design Hunter calls Huntress, and describes it as a boot for women with shorter and wider calves than the Original Tall is designed to accommodate. But enough of Hunter's functional boots. What about something with a little pizzazz?

Hunter Original British Wellington in Gold.

The Brits seem to enjoy incorporating their patriotism in nearly every aspect of fashion, and somehow they manage to pull it off simply effortlessly. These are some boots that are meant to be seen. Personally, I always envisioned tucking my jeans or pants into my Wellies, primarily to keep my hems dry. If I have one pet peeve, it is wet hems. C'est la vie. However, I realize that not all readers of What We Covet are prepared to tuck their pants in to their boots. 

How kind of me, then, to also discuss an option for those who wish to not show off their rain boots. Should you, gentle reader, find yourself agreeing with this statement I proffer L.L. Bean and his Bean Boots.

The original Bean Boot. Image via L. L. Bean. 

While L.L. Bean's boots are not calf-length or completely rubber like Hunter's, they are lighter and just as nonslip as Hunter's. Leon Leonwood Bean created the Maine Hunting Shoe in the early part of the last century, and the Bean Boot as pictured above is a shorter version of the Maine Hunting Shoe, still available on the company's website. They also have the Bean Boot Rubber Moc, which I consider a perfect camping shoe. 

Image via L.L. Bean.

Whether you choose the Bean Boot, the Rubber Moc, or any of the other L.L. Bean styles the quality is impeccable. Your hems will still be wet, but to each his own. L.L. Bean was a man who valued function over fashion, and thus no fashionable Bean Boots exist. Well, except for these cute little skimmers:

Image via L.L. Bean.

The best part about these skimmers? They're on sale, as of this posting! Snatch up a pair and wear them for me, as I can't keep a pair of skimmers on and walk at the same time. 

Buy through Hunter for $135-195
Buy through L.L. Bean for $69.99-99.  
Find accessories such as special boot socks at each store. 

Once you find the right pair of rain boots for you, you too may find yourself wishing it would rain more.