OutSmart’s holiday gift guide


OutSmart’s holiday gift guide
by Marene Gustin

Stocking Stuffers
1 ComingOutToPlay
As Mo Rocca says, “Christmas is a stocking stuffed with sugary goodness.” And while candy is a dandy stocking stuffing, here are some other ideas.

Coming Out to Play
• Various bookstores and Amazon.com
• $17
Get this paperback edition of soccer player Robbie Rogers’ memoir of the turbulent years leading up to his 2011 landmark decision to come out as the first openly gay man to compete in a major North American professional sports league, and the profound ways that his life changed in its wake.

• Break-a-way Thongs
• Erotic Cabaret Boutique, eroticcabaret.com
• 1222 Westheimer, 713.528.4565
• $15.95
Unwrapping is easy in a break-a-way thong! Get ’em in five different colors at Erotic Cabaret Boutique and stuff those stockings.

From the Alex Sepkus ring collection
From the Alex Sepkus ring collection


Men grow cold
As girls grow old
And we all lose our charms in the end.But square-cut or pear-shaped
These rocks don’t lose their shape.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.

And a guy’s.

Alex Sepkus Jewelry
• At Robert’s Fine Jewelry, robfj.com
1800 W. Loop South, Suite 470, 713.622.500
Absolutely gorgeous handcrafted jewelry from a master designer, featuring rings, earrings, pendants, and more in 18-karat yellow gold and platinum. Shopping for that special guy in your life? Do check out this fine collection of rings and cufflinks for men. The Alex Sepkus ring collection starts at $1,500.

New at Silverlust
New at Silverlust

Turquoise and Mother of Pearl Jewelry
• Silverlust Jewelry, silverlustonline.com
• 1338-C Westheimer Rd., 713.520.5440
• $295 to $795
New at Silverlust this year is their gorgeous collection of turquoise and mother of pearl jewelry. Buy single pieces or full sets of earrings, bracelets, and necklaces for someone special.

Bling for the eyes
Blink bling at Eye Gallery

The Eye Gallery
• eyegalleryhouston.com
• 1806 Westheimer Rd., 713.523.1279
• 2542 Amherst St., 832.831.7253
• 1700 Post Oak Blvd Place, Ste. 110, 713.622.7470
Don’t forget the eyes when you’re shopping for a little bling. The Eye Gallery (with three Houston locations) has fabulous designer specs with styles that not only make you look good, but also offer the highest quality of eyewear.

5 Spectacles
From Spectacles

• wearusout.com
• 4317 Montrose Blvd., 713.529.3937
Embrace your vision this holiday season with Spectacles on Montrose. Whether it’s a gift certificate or an exotic handmade wood frame, Spectacles offers hand-picked, hand-crafted luxury frames to suit any needs. Celebrate the month of December during the Naughty or Nice sale and save up to 40 percent on the entire collection.

“Music is therapy. Music moves people. It connects people in ways that no other medium can. It pulls heart strings. It acts as a medicine.” This Macklemore quote easily applies to this Johnny Mathis collection.

UnknownJohnny Mathis: The Complete Global Albums Collection
• At record stores everywhere and Amazon.com
• $79.99
“Chances Are” the Johnny Mathis fans in your life will swoon over this box set of all 10 albums he released on the Global label, plus a “lost” album of Broadway show tunes and a CD of non-album singles and previously unreleased songs. It includes a 1963 album of holiday tunes, perfect for the season.

Food & Booze
“I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.” This quote has been attributed to several sources, from Tom Waite to Dorothy Parker. Whoever said it knew what makes a good holiday gift.

RWB Ultra-Premium Handcrafted Vodka
• $20.99 a bottle at Spec’s, specsonline.com
Who wouldn’t love to unwrap a bottle of fine vodka on Christmas morn and whip up a batch of Bloody Marys? RWB makes an excellent vodka from Idaho

Holiday goodies from Specs.
Holiday goodies from Specs.

potatoes (gluten free!) that’s filtered five times to producea smooth booze with an exceptional taste. Don’t forget to pick up a bottle for yourself, too.

Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods Gift Baskets
• Spec’s stores, specsonline.com
• Starting at $27.99
You know you’re going to hit up the Spec’s mother ship at least once during the holidays, so why not grab a couple of their fabulous gift baskets while you’re there? Booze and food make the perfect gift for anyone, and if you have one left over, you can always break into it yourself in the New Year. Buy one that’s already made, or select your own goodies for a custom-made basket.

Circulo Tequila Holiday Packs
• Spec’s Downtown, Tony K’S, Premier
• Spirits, and circulotequila.com
• Various prices
Pick up a holiday gift pack of this premium tequila—it’s perfect for the agave lovers on your list.

Aunt Etta knows how to bake it.
Aunt Etta knows how to bake it.

Aunt Etta’s Chocolate Cake
• The Chocolate Bar, theoriginalchocolatebar.com
• 1835 W. Alabama, 713.520.8599
• 2521 University Blvd., 713.520.8888
• $75
For the chocolate-lover on your list, we present Aunt Etta’s four-layer chocolate cake bathed in creamy dark chocolate butter cream frosting. You’ll be the hit of the holiday party with this decadent treat. Oh, and while you’re at The Chocolate Bar, pick up some of their other house-made sweets for stocking stuffers.


“The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.” That was Clairee in Steel Magnolias, and she could just as well be talking about accessorizing the home. That’s why home décor gifts make lovely holiday presents.

Sand Art
• Coda in The Heights, 355 W. 19th, 713.864.4411
• Eclectic Home, 345 W. 19th, 713.869.1414
• $50 to $1,400
The perfect gift for your boss’s beach house, or for anyone who wishes they had a home on the Island. Lovely objets d’art filled with real sand, and no two works are alike. For a gift that “goes against the grain,” you’d be hard-pressed to find something more unique.

Holiday message in a bottle — sand art for the home....
Holiday message in a bottle — sand art for the home….

Theme Designs Fire Pit
• Theme Designs, theme-designs.com
• Prices start at $875
Fire good! Particularly on a chilly night in Houston. Visit Theme Designs for prefab fire pits that offer warmth and ambience for any business or residence. With 35 years’ experience, Theme Designs realized the demand for a superior fire pit that complements any setting or décor and offers many options to choose from.

Evergreen Agave
• Joshua’s Native Plants & Garden Antiques in the Heights, 504 W. 18th, 713.862.7444
• $40 to $125
Give a living gift this season with beautiful evergreen agave plants in modern containers. They also have a huge selection of old-fashioned garden classics, just like your grandmother had in her garden.

Kamil Zelezik Paintings
• The Nude Art Gallery at Winter Street Studios
• Various prices
Local artist Kamil Zelezik, a LifeFlight chopper pilot by day, paints amazing vibrant scenes that will grace any home or business. Visit his gallery in the Winter Street Studios at 2000 Edwards Street, Suite 203, and be enthralled.

HERO painting by John Ross Palmer
HERO painting by John Ross Palmer

• Painting by John Ross Palmer, johnpalmerart.com
• 1218 Heights Blvd., 713.861.6726
• $100 and $1,000
The original 17” x 11” acrylic on paper ($1,000) proclaims Houston, we have a HERO. The perfect gift for anyone who supports the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. You can also purchase 17” x 11” signed and numbered limited editions for $100 each. Fifty percent of sale proceeds support the Houston GLBT Political Caucus. Yeah, it’s a double gift!

Sex & Mischief Mini Sets by Sportsheets
• Adam & Eve, adamevetexas.com
• 1111 Westheimer Rd., 713.521.2326
• 17531 Hwy 249, 281.469.0619
• 25701 I-45 North, 281.298.0069
• $40 to $120
Because what home is complete without a little kinky set with adjustable positioning cushions, cuffs, blindfolds, floggers, restraints, whips, and more?


“Whoever said you can’t buy happiness forgot about little puppies.” —writer Gene Hill

Gift Certificates from Molly’s Mutt House
• mutthouse.com

Don't forget the mutts!
Don’t forget the mutts!

• 3407 Montrose Blvd., 832,581.2453
• 3410 N. Shepherd Dr., 713.426.6888
• 2755 Vossdale, 281.501.9062
• Various prices
Don’t forget those with fur babies this year. How about a gift certificate from Molly’s Mutt House? Good for boarding, grooming, daycare, natural pet foods, and accessories, or buy your friends some in-home dog-sitting or dog-walking services.

Pinot for Paws WOOF Gift Box
• OneHope, onehopewine.com
• $49
It’s for you, it’s for him. OneHope’s gift box contains a bottle of Pinot for Paws for you, and some doggie treats for the fur baby. Even better, half the profits are donated to pet adoption programs, so drink up!

Marene Gustin is a regular contributor to OutSmart magazine.


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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