Pink Granite Gift Guide

Because every blog on the planet is required to have a gift guide at this time of year, AND I’m sitting on my parents’ couch watching football - I figure why not try my hand at it? Some of these items I own, some I’ve purchased for others. All geared towards our more professional purposes - none supported by ads or came with perks for me to make the recommendation. Enjoy.

For the business traveler:

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The Concourse Rolling Computer Bag from Mark & Graham. I own this bag, complete with my initials. I love it. It fits perfectly under the window or middle seat on Southwest flights and never does a trip go by where a complete stranger doesn’t ask where I bought it. Men and women have both asked. It’s a good find and I’m thinking through adding to my Concourse collection with the other carry-on pieces. I also have this iPad sleeve from the same company, which I also find quite handy.

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Also - if a loved one flies through major airports on a regular basis and doesn’t have CLEAR. I’d suggest a membership is in order. The gift of CLEAR will speed them through either pre-check or regular security lines - and admittedly make them lazier at getting to the airport on time. It’s worth every penny of the cost and I’ve even heard that many major airlines offer deals for membership to their loyalty program participants. It also makes a great gift to self. It seems unnecessary and frivolous - until you need it. Now I’d never go back.

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Other great travel items to consider: this Lug brand “nap sac” for long flights is a game changer, I’ve mentioned it before. ANY of these Sephora face masks would make a great stocking stuffer. I mostly love how they are packaged. You can squirt out just what you need and then use them over and over again. There are always a couple in my overnight bag because the only time I get to actually use face masks is when I’m alone in a hotel room for the night. Finally - if you work out when traveling this mini foam roller is a great option for staying flexible on the go. Let’s just say I’ve purchased more than one for my husband over the years.

Beauty:

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My feelings about fragrance are ever changing but I never leave home without one. Right now this DEBASER is all I want to smell like for the rest of my days. I bought it at a local shop in downtown Asheville a few weeks back and haven’t regretted it despite the admittedly steep price tag. They also sell a mini that could be perfect on the go. I love keeping a roller ball handy. I’ve also asked Santa for the Le Labo Discovery Set this year. Fingers crossed he makes it happen.

If you have a big person in your life to give a last minute gift to it’s always loved and easy to grab a gift card to Milk & Honey spa online. It’s a top notch place with locations in Austin and Houston - and soon to be in Ft. Worth. Also they do nails and sell products in the salon. So even a smaller gift card is classy and could go a long way if you’re not ready to pop on a 90 minute swedish massage for someone.

I’m also a firm believer in (if you’re able) to gift items your friends are unlikely to splurge on themselves. For me Aesop’s Resurrection Hand Balm fits this bill - plus it comes in 2 sizes. I have yet to meet a woman in her 30’s who hasn’t thought about buying it for herself.

For the True Texan:

A friend of ours, Jay B. Sauceda, is a pretty accomplished photographer and he’s just come out with a great book of aerial views of our great state called A Mile Above Texas. I’d recommend snagging a copy for any Texan on your personal or professional gift list and right now you can get a signed copy on his website for $40.

 
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Another great idea for family members that are really into the idea of you working in and around the Captiol - last year Governor Abbott sold Capitol Christmas ornaments that were signed in exchange for a $40 political contribution. I’m not sure if this will be done in 2019 but it made for a great gift. Even if unsigned Capitol Christmas Ornaments are always a good idea.

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And for the teeniest Texans, Biscuit in Houston makes the sweetest cactus-ridden jammies. Get yours here. I also love their Wimberly and Marfa stationery.

For the Entertainer:

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I’ve had a colleague gift me this Domaine Carneros sparkling rose duet each Christmas and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s so good and a welcome bottle to have around during the holiday season. Get your gift set here. It’s so good I eventually became a member of the winery myself.

For hostess gifts I’m pretty predictable usually bringing a bottle of wine, or this candle if it’s a big party and a VERY good friend. I also love the idea of gifting something like Reese Witherspoon or Chrissy Teigan’s new book. If you know they don’t have it it’s a fun way to encourage them to continue hosting. I’ve also been known to show up with $25 Central Market or Whole Foods gift cards in a Christmas card for my hosts and those also always seem appreciated.

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If you have more time on your hands and want to get very personal - consider personalized stationary from Dixie Designs. The designs are quite southern and unique you’re guaranteed to be one of a kind - I’ve gifted the fleur de lis notecards to a good friend from New Orleans and she loved them. I also have these company print my professional Christmas cards each year as well as my personal correspondence cards. So many great designs!

Now that that's over...
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Let us get back to it all. The election is behind us. No one needs me to recap that the Texas Tribune did a great job here. Debt is being retired as. we. speak. and everyone is moving on - including Beto. It certainly was the year of the woman across the country. Let’s hope that doesn’t have to be a think again. In the best news I saw all day, NPR highlighted Susan B. Anthony’s gravestone being flooded with I Voted stickers.

There are three more women in the Texas house than last session, although Carol Alvarado is making a move for Texas Senate and is largely expected to soon move to the “upper” chamber. Two other ladies canceled one another out in the Senate with Beverly Powell unseating Senator Konni Burton. We lost Linda Koop in the Beto wave but hung on to Sarah Davis down in Houston despite the Governor’s best efforts to unseat her.

In the last month the Speaker’s race was all anyone was talking about, and then suddenly it was wrapped up with a neat little bow. Those involved closely will argue it was nothing of the tidy kind, and let’s just say it - no women filed for the job (deep sigh). Nonetheless I’m impressed with solidarity and organization in November. Representative Dennis Bonnen and Lt. Governor Patrick even shared a press release to announce a commitment to working together. Representative Stickland is even tweeting his support of Bonnen as well. It IS the most wonderful time of the year.

Presumptive Speaker, Representative Dennis Bonnen has named his longtime Chief of Staff Shera Eichler to serve as Director of the Office of the Speaker so a big Pink Granite high five to her.

Here’s what I’ve been screenshot-ing this month, while clearly avoiding the effort of an actual post. I hope its not stale now.

  • The Boy Scouts let girls in, and the Girls Scouts sued. Equality can be hard. Via The New York Times.

  • If you’re really missing a midterm break down, consider Samantha Bee’s effort. P.S. Harris County elected not one or two but 17 black women to judicial seats. Here’s another nice breakdown on the women running in Texas this year via the Texas Tribune.

  • Vogue asks why the white girls keep voting against their “own interests.” Read more here. Do you agree? The NYT tells us it was a banner year for women - except those in the GOP.

  • CBS News on Americans being more comfortable with women as executives than as lawmakers. Hmmm… what do other rich countries think about women in power? Via Reuters.

  • As a mother should you be able to file childcare as a campaign expense? Spoiler alert - that’s a yes. For any primary caregiver IMHO.

  • In a very House of Cards style one Supreme Court Justice fell and broke some ribs but the Notorious RBG bounced right back.

You Should Smile...
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… and other unsolicited advice that makes me want to walk away in the middle of a conversation.

I consider myself a pretty friendly and happy person. And sometimes, some can’t help themselves. And usually it’s people who have known me for an entire 2 minutes if at all. And just to be crystal clear, a woman has N-E-V-E-R said this to me. Ever. Not women I’ve known for 5 minutes, not women I’ve known for 5 years.

Whew…

I feel better now.

Here are some good articles that may make you smile. Or not. I don’t need you to smile to make me feel better about how our conversation is going.

  • Republicans are massively out-raised this quarter according to Politico.

  • Do you prevent your child from watching certain Disney movies? Here’s what Keira Knightly draws the line on. Via the Ellen Show and Fox News. What a combination.

  • “Thank God it’s Friday - I’m kidding, I’m a parent.” and other times working moms have owned Twitter via Buzz Feed.

  • We all know you can be a pro-choice Republican but can you really be an anti-abortion Democrat? One candidate is testing the theory via the NYT.

  • An oldie but interesting article behind the psychology of Claire Underwood - which I found while searching for a perfect RBF photo for this post.