Who doesn't love a gift guide, amirite? The time between Christmas and Valentine's Day is always my personal gold mine, as I bookmark every single cool thing some clever writer has mentioned — then refer to it whenever I need to buy a quick birthday, housewarming, or congratulatory gift.
But if we're being totally honest, I mostly just buy those cute things I've bookmarked for myself. I'd apologize for it, but I can't. I'm Alison Freer, and I'm a sparkly things addict. (Even though Parks and Recreation has ended, you can STILL always treat yo' self.)
I've recently re-fallen HARD for the mall store of my childhood, Windsor. I bought this insane scuba-fabric ball gown to wear to the fancy Oscars party I attend every year (it was a hit), and my inner mall rat Cinderella couldn't resist this ice-princess skirt when I saw it worn with a simple black band tee by one of my fave fashion bloggers, Bryn Newman of Stone Fox Style. It comes in 13 dazzling colors and costs a whopping $34.90.
I got a sample of these Pinrose fragrances in my last Le Tote box, and beat a path to order the "Sugar Bandit" scent instantly. It's a mix of caramel, vanilla, cedarwood, and white chocolate that is pure heaven. It comes in either a roll-on version or a set of 25 perfectly dosed, single-use fragrance sachets called "Petal Packs." (Plus, if you happen to care, all Pinrose products are phthalate, paraben, cruelty, and gluten-free.)
If you're not sure which Pinrose fragrance best suits you, take their quiz that asks a series of color, shape, and sound preference questions. At the end, it will generate a customized scent "prescription." (I did it and got matched with Sugar Bandit, so the algorithm clearly works!)
Every trendy medicine cabinet on earth currently holds at least a little something from über cult beauty brand Glossier. I've got my skin-care game on total LOCK right now (I'll be writing about what finally worked for me here soon), so I was afraid to try anything new — but Glossier finally got to me with their adorable new face masks.
At just $22 for 3 ounces, they are a pretty good deal. The ultra-hydrating Moon Mask is a dream, with ingredients like sweet almond oil, shea butter, honey, and aloe. It's basically a big ol' drink of water for parched skin.
I'm a snob about many things, but I've always made do with drinking either Lipton tea or some cheap junk from a chain tea store, and never been the wiser. Then someone gave me a beautiful tin of Mariage Frères tea, and my life is now forever changed. (It's French, of course, don'tcha know.)
This Vanille des Îles black tea is an incredible treat — and can practically stand on its own as a dessert. I brew it super strong and add a tiny splash of half and half to settle my constant late-night sweet tooth, which can usually only be satisfied by a package of Hostess Donettes. It's like drinking ice cream.
One of the worst parts of the lightning speed with which fashion currently moves is that you have to start prepping for the coming season while mired in the one you're currently living. That means even though you're still shoveling snow and shivering, you'd best start thinking about your spring sandal situation. If you wait until it's actually warm enough to wear open-toe shoes, the cutest ones will likely be SOLD OUT in your size.
I already snagged these bejeweled cuties from Kohl's, as my love for comfy summer sandals with a side of granny orthopedic style knows no bounds. They come in black, blush, and pale grey — and are currently on sale for $41.99.
Apropos of nothing, I feel like this is a good time to tell you about a rando website I just found that referred to me, without irony, as:
"Alison Freer, a common Texas-born Halloween costume fitter."
Yes, "common." Need there be a better reason to say EFF IT to everything and just TREAT YO' SELF?
I wrote a book — "How to Get Dressed: A Costume Designer's Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing," available now for pre-order.