2015 OutSmart Gift Guide

By Marene Gustin

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…or Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Three Kings’ Day, or whatever it is you celebrate this time of year and buy gifts for your loved ones (or for yourself—we don’t judge). Here, then, are some useful, fun, and downright quirky gift ideas for your December shopping.

The Gift of Beauty

Aristotle said “beauty is the gift of God,” but who are we to argue with something under the tree that will make us look better? Who wouldn’t want to be prettier in the New Year?

3 BeautyBeauty Techniques

Eyelash Perms for Men and Women
Here’s a resolution for 2016: throw away those nasty eyelash curlers! This service will give curly, wink-ready eyelashes that will last for six to eight weeks.
3701 Kirby Dr., Ste. 1184

4 EyeGalThe Eye Gallery

Cool Specs
Get these for yourself or gift them to someone who needs some fresh eyes. Dare to be different this holiday season and shop the newest designer specs and the classics at any of three Houston locations. Choose from a variety of international designers who present a unique selection of styles that not only make you look good, but also offer the highest quality of eyewear protection.
1806 Westheimer Rd. | 2542 Amherst St. | 1700 Post Oak Blvd. Place
Various prices

5 MuseumEyePersol Sunglasses
Museum District Eye Center
Polarized Steve McQueen Icon sunglasses in three colors by Persol will make anyone look cool. Or maybe the Suprema sunglasses in three colors, also by Persol? There are plenty of shades to choose from here.
4704 Montrose Blvd.

6 LogginJohn Hardy Medium Classic Chain Sterling Silver Bracelet with Black Sapphire Clasp
Loggins Jewelers
This beautiful bracelet is also available in amethyst, blue sapphire, pink spinel, red sapphire, and tsavorite garnet. Who wouldn’t want some of this beautiful bling?
14015 Southwest Fwy.

7 SelectWatchMovado Bold Watch
Select Jewelers
Large Movado Bold watch, 42 mm black TR90 composite material and stainless-steel case, black dial with cobalt-blue sunray dot and hands, black TR90, black polyurethane and stainless-steel link bracelet with deployment clasp. Now that’s a cool watch.
2221 S. Voss Rd.

Pets Need Presents, Too
According to the American Pet Products Association, we Americans spent an estimated $60.6 billion (yes, billion) on our furry, feathered, and scaly babies this year. And the holidays are a big time for buying pet presents.

8 CatioCatio Spaces
DIY Outdoor Cat Condos
If you have an outdoor cat, these Catio Spaces protect and comfort your favorite kitty. Order one from this company that sells Catio plans complete with simple instructions, a list of materials and tools, and up to 25 diagrams that make the process simple. Three different designs in two sizes.
Under $50

9 Molly'sPuppy Pampering
Molly’s Mutt House
Spoil your dog with a spa day at Molly’s Mutt House! Baths start at $25 and include nail clipping and surface ear cleaning. Add a massage for only $10 extra. Haircuts are $45 and up. Nail painting for $10. Voted Best Doggie Daycare by OutSmart magazine, it’s the place where doggies want to be seen!
3407 Montrose Blvd. | 2755 Vossdale | 3410 North Shepherd
$25 and up

Eat, Drink and be Merry
“For tomorrow we die.” Well, that’s not a very cheery holiday quote, but the gist is that life is short, so why not enjoy a little tasty bite during the holidays?

10 ChocolateThe Chocolate Bar
Aunt Etta’s Chocolate Cake
We don’t know who Aunt Etta is, but we can still eat her cake—an award-winning concoction of four layers of calorie-be-damned rich, moist, chocolate cake held together by creamy dark chocolate butter cream frosting! After all, you’re not really planning to start that diet until January, right?
1835 W. Alabama | 2521 University Blvd.

11 HoHoStarkTickets to Ho Ho Humbug 2.0
Stark Naked Theatre
Talk about being merry—how about gifting someone with tickets to see Stark Naked Theatre’s Ho Ho Humbug 2.0.Ho Ho delivers Ha Ha’s,” says Everett Evans of The Houston Chronicle. Give the gift of entertainment and laughter.
Studio 101, 1824 Spring St.

Home Is Where the Heart Is
Flowers and other things to spruce up home or life are gifts that most recipients will be grateful for. Like gifts of personal beauty, these gifts of beauty for the house and soul will perk up the quarters for the New Year.

12 DowntownDowntown Blooms
Birch Wood Holiday Moose
This adorable holiday moose, wearing a green wool sweater, is made from birch wood. And Downtown Blooms also carries fresh holiday arrangements starting at $35 for local delivery.
[email protected]
1127 Postoffice St., Galveston

13 HoustonCameraFujifilm Instax Mini 8
Houston Camera Exchange
And because you’ll want keepsakes of your home decorations and holiday fun, why not the Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 8? It’s a cute and compact instant film camera that comes in a variety of colors. This camera automatically determines brightness for taking a picture and informs you of the most suitable setting for your photo’s lighting.
5900 Richmond Ave.

14 TomorrowHolistic Life Coach Session
Tomorrow’s Key
Empower your loved one with a life-altering experience—instead of more stuff! Give a private session with Houston’s most inspiring holistic life coach, Trisha Keel, PhD. Includes a special gift to put under the tree!
1624 Bonnie Brae St.

Books and Music are Food for the Mind
Humorist P. J. O’Rourke once said that you should read “something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it,” and we think that’s true of music, too. Some of these fit that bill—others, well, not so much. But they’re all fun.

1 MadonnicaEncyclopedia Madonnica 20: Madonna from A to Z
This update of Boy Culture blogger Matthew Rettenmund’s 1995 tome is an homage to all things Material Girl. As thick as a phone book, this soft-cover love story is the only book any Madonna fan will ever need. True fans will loveyou for this gift. (Also by Matthew Rettenmund is Star F*cker: a meme-oir, a hilarious memoir, arranged by memes, from lethepress.com.)

15 DominicBookDominic Walsh Dance Theater
Our beloved DWDT is no longer, but it will be forever in our lives through this gorgeous book with photos and design by Gabriella Nissen, and narrative by Walsh himself. There will be a book launch party at Deborah Coltan Gallery on December 12.
$105–$325 for a limited edition

16 CarolsForCureBroadway’s Carols for a Cure: Volume 17
The companies from your favorite Broadway and off-Broadway shows are back for this annual holiday treat, now in its 17th year. The two-CD set exclusively benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and features new and classic holiday songs sung by the companies of Hamilton, Fun Home, Something Rotten!, and Kinky Boots, among others. Volumes 1 through 16 are also available individually.

17 ChristmasQueensChristmas Queens
Oh my gawd! The stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race have recorded a holiday album! This is a must-have for those who love funky holiday music: Detox sings “This Is How We Jew It,” while Alaska Thunderf*ck, Courtney Act, and Willam pay homage to the perfect “Ugly Christmas Sweater” and Miss Fame sings “Toyland.” You’ll want several copies for friends—and one for yourself.

18 KylieMinogueKylie Christmas
Recorded at Angel Studios and Sarm Music Village, the album features 13 tracks—including several duets and a mix of original and classic songs, some with sister Dannii Minogue. Listen to “Christmas Wrapping” with Iggy Pop, and “Santa Baby.” Available on iTunes and Amazon.


Marene Gustin

Marene Gustin has written about Texas culture, food, fashion, the arts, and Lone Star politics and crime for television, magazines, the web and newspapers nationwide, and worked in Houston politics for six years. Her freelance work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Austin-American Statesman, Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Texas Monthly, Dance International, Dance Magazine, the Advocate, Prime Living, InTown magazine, OutSmart magazine and web sites CultureMap Houston and Austin, Eater Houston and Gayot.com, among others.
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