Gift Guide: Required Reading

IMG_3359The Gift Guide is BACK!  Today we focus our festive energy on gifts involving the written word.  That sounds pretty serious, doesn't it?  Don't worry - read on.

Magazine Subscriptions Ladies love magazines.  Many women (and men) aren't inclined to subscribe to magazines themselves, and the gift of a subscription shows the recipient how much you care month after month.  Plus, a magazine subscription is a clutch (and affordable) last minute gift - just order it online and pick up a copy of the newest issue as your gift.  I gave my mom an O magazine subscription several years ago, and it became one of her favorite monthly reads.  CF hooked me up with several years of Us Weekly last year, and I couldn't have been happier (even though it took a few months for the subscription to kick in because she got it from some shady seller on eBay).IMG_3373I apologize for showcasing that piece of trash Tiger on this site.  This is simply the most recent issue of Us Weekly.  Note to Tiger: cheaters are not welcome at HCG (unless we're discussing the television show "Cheaters", which can be entertaining in a sick way).  Note to Carrie Underwood: we get it, you're a vegetarian who keeps a food journal and works out a lot.  Enough already.

Style Books Style books are little treasures that make perfect gifts.  Every style book I own (with the exception of the Who What Wear book below) was gifted to me, and I've amassed a decent collection over the years.

Rachel Zoe's Style A to Zoe is a favorite because it's loaded with practical advice dished out by someone who has made a living off of dressing others (no offense to the authors of the other various style books below, but RZ really knows how to dress other people, not just herself). IMG_3310

Another favorite is Victoria Beckham's That Extra Half an Inch: vbLike all celebrity style books, VB's is loaded with awesome photos of Posh herself.  Say what you want about Victoria Beckham, but the woman is always impeccably dressed.  I'll take style tips from her any day.

Although not a "style book" in the traditional sense, Influence by Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen (HCG respects their request a few years back that the media address them by their separate names) is my Holy Grail of fashion books (this isn't the first time I've expressed my adoration of the sisters):IMG_3316 One of the best things about Influence?  It contains about a million photos of MK & A inside:IMG_3317IMG_3329IMG_3330When gifting a book, please don't forget to inscribe the inside.  HCG hates nothing more than slowly opening the cover of a gifted book smiling in anticipation at the thoughtful, witty inscription that will undoubtedly lie inside only to see nothing but an empty page.  Often, I will hand the book back to the person who gifted it and request a personal note.  CF never fails me here. IMG_3323Doesn't she have great handwriting?  The only time I refrain from inscribing a gifted book is when I fear the recipient may have already read it (and even then I feel ashamed for not knowing enough about the person's reading history).

Next up, a recent birthday gift from MR - The Little Black Book of Style and The One Hundred, both by Nina Garcia (of Elle/Marie Claire magazine and Project Runway fame).IMG_3340Nina Garcia invested a lot of energy into these style manifestos, and it shows.  The One Hundred outlines the 100 pieces every woman should own - items NG believes will never go out of style.  Both books are thoughtful and detailed.  Plus, they come in a box set!IMG_3351The newest in my collection of style books is Who What Wear, which was written by the founders of the popular daily style site of the same name.  I picked up this style guide at a book signing with the authors during New York Fashion Week.  If you're a fan of the site, you'll like the book, too.IMG_3341Cookbooks You really can't go wrong by giving the gift of a great cookbook.  People love receiving them!  Below, a sampling of a few of my favorite cookbooks I've received as gifts.IMG_3353Lastly, regular books are always great presents, too.  HCG has recently reviewed Shanghai Girls, Sarah's Key and Digging to America if you'd like our thoughts on those novels.

Too concerned that you can't select appropriate reading material for your intended recipient?  Pick up a Borders or Barnes and Noble gift certificate.  Almost everyone (especially anyone in a book club) would love to receive free money for new books!

Style Books Style A to Zoe by Rachel Zoe That Extra Half an Inch by Victoria Beckham Influence by Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen The Little Black Book of Style by Nina Garcia The One Hundred by Nina Garcia Who What Wear by Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power

Cookbooks Betty Crocker's Cookbook Bridal Edition (bridal shower gift from Mom) The New York Times Cookbook (engagement gift from Katie Max) Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics (gift to myself for being patient while waiting in a long line at T.J. Maxx) Barefoot Contessa Family Style (birthday gift from MR)

P.S. I think this post wins the award for highest number of tags.