Gift Guide: Gender Neutral Gifts under $50 for your Significant Other

My favorite part of the holidays is exchanging gifts with Nick. We usually set a budget in advance, and then get creative. I usually like to do one bigger gift and then pair it with some other gifts that are less expensive but no less meaningful! Today I'm sharing some of my favorite gender neutral gift ideas - these work well for any gifting occasion, so I hope you come back to this post often for ideas! 

1. One of my favorite gifts is a S'well water bottle? Why? Because its probably something I use the most. Who isn't drinking water, or carrying water to the gym, or traveling with it? I gifted this exact one to Nick last year, and he uses it almost every single day. Personally, I own a gold one, but it comes in a variety of colors to suit any taste or color palette. I prefer the 17 oz size because its lighter and easier to carry, and fits in your car's cup holder. Prices range from $35-$42.

2, Give the gift of wanderlust. This past year, Nick and I got a year subscription to Conde Nast Traveler, and the day it arrives in the mail is always the best mail day of the month. I've been bitten by the travel bug, and flipping through the magazine makes me want to get my bags and travel the wide world that exists all around us. $6-$10 depending on what subscription you choose.

3. I love flowers. But I don't love how quickly they die. But what if you gifted someone flowers that come back every single year instead? I love ordering my bulbs at brecks.com - I've been ordering plants from them for a number of years and have never been disappointed by my results (and for the record, I do not have a green thumb). $26-$46

Source: Brecks.com

Source: Brecks.com

4. Is there anything that says love more than cooking a carefully prepared meal for someone you love? But what if you took it a step further, and then gifted them the book that you cooked from? Of course you could take this in many different directions based on culinary preferences, but given that I'm Indian, I thought you might like to know about my favorite Indian cookbook. I've cooked a number of recipes from this book, and each one has been absolutely delicious. It is available right here via Amazon for about $20.

5. Fancy cocktails call for fancy glasses, and these Double Old Fashioned Glasses are the perfect classic glassware for a classic cocktail. Paired with a cocktail book, this gift is the recipe for a romantic night in. 

Old Fashioned glasses

I hope you've enjoying reading about these ideas, and I hope that you're either going to use them, or that they've spurred ideas of your own. I'd love if you would share the favorite gift you received in the comments below or over on my Facebook page or over on Instagram.

Also, if you're not on the Bombay Taxi Boutique Insider email list, sign up HERE and I will deliver the best of Bombay Taxi in your email every two weeks! 

The Right Look for Thanksgiving Dinner

My very first Thanksgiving was in 1998 - I had just moved to the U.S. from India, and my friend Lisa invited me to Cleveland for my first Thanksgiving. Little did I know I would eventually move here, but that's a story for a different time. 

Anyway, my first Thanksgiving was a blast - I was surrounded by great friends and delicious food, and it quickly established a place in my heart as my favorite American holiday. 

There's some strategy involved in dressing for Thanksgiving - back in the time before social media, you could possibly get away with a mumu, but these days, it feels like there is an obligation to put a little effort into dressing for the day. I pig out unashamedly, so I'm always on the lookout for outfits that will look cute and pulled together, and yet won't get uncomfortable once I've stuffed my face. I also dress for napping ease, because we all know that the Thanksgiving coma is a real thing.

Below, I've pulled together a selection of looks that will serve as my inspiration this year. Click on the pictures to be directed to these women's Instagram profiles. All pictures have been taken from their Instagram pages, and if you feel so inclined, follow them too! 

CJ from All Dressed Up with Nothing to Drink

Love this super casual look of tee with a long cozy sweater, paired with leggings! 

Stella from The Hearts Dlite

 

Stella's look is a little more dressy with a blazer but still effortless and comfortable 

Aubrey from That's What She Eats

A comfy jersey dress with a blanket scarf? Yes please. So hygge. 

Candace from Live Love & Read

Another fabulous sleeve, with a pleated skirt. I bought a great pleated skirt at Target, which has the added benefit of an elastic waist! 

Dina from Dina's Days

Dina is a thrifting pro! She marries texture and color in fun, inventive ways, an best of all, her outfits are usually well under $50! 

Chelsea as of Late

If you loved wearing jumpsuits this summer, turn it into a Thanksgiving option by pairing it with a leather jacket!

Chelsea Olivia

I'm loving fun sleeves lately, and even though I'm more of a skinny jeans kinda woman, I'd do a flare for this outfit, assuming they were super stretchy, obviously ;)

5 Things I Learned from Shopping My Own Closet

I put on a solid 10 lbs over the past year. I don't say this to body shame myself, I say it because its true. It happened gradually, and because of stretchy clothing in general, I didn't really notice until (a) half my closet was too tight and I didn't fit into it, and (b) I looked at myself in a recent photo and found myself looking, well, round. 

Over the past two weeks, I've been doing a no-sugar, no-starch thing, and have lost about 10 lbs. I'm not going to talk a whole lot about it because lets face it - diets are so boring - but I bring it up because I've had the opportunity to rediscover my own clothes, and I wanted to share a few things I learned from shopping my own closet: 

Vintage dress from Whiskey Grade, styled with an Anthropologie grey faux leather jacket, brown booties, FOUNT Finley Clutch, J. Crew pearl necklace, and Bombay Taxi Boutique earrings. 

Vintage dress from Whiskey Grade, styled with an Anthropologie grey faux leather jacket, brown booties, FOUNT Finley Clutch, J. Crew pearl necklace, and Bombay Taxi Boutique earrings

1. When you see a great deal on a fancy dress, buy it. It doesn't matter if you don't have an occasion for it yet, you will find one. 

2. When you buy something you LOVE LOVE LOVE, keep it a little while longer even if it doesn't quite fit anymore. We're in this trend of minimalism and Marie Kondo'ing our lives, but there's something about holding on to some things you love, simply because you love them. 

3. Classics truly last forever and they're absolutely worth an investment - a great leather jacket, the perfect black dress, a silk blouse - they look beautiful every time you wear them and they're timeless.

 

Details Matter. 

The perfectly sparkly earrings - MANISHA by Bombay Taxi Boutique 

The perfectly sparkly earrings - MANISHA by Bombay Taxi Boutique 

4. Details matter.

The right accessories can be mixed and matched with abandon to create just the right look for your mood. The perfect clutch, an oversized pearl necklace, a fabulous pair of heels, your most sparkly earrings - these are all great basics that can completely elevate the look of even the most simple outfit. 

Dress: White House Black Market; Clutch: Whiskey Grade; Shoes: Nine West; Jacket: Zara; Earrings: Bombay Taxi Boutique 

Dress: White House Black Market; Clutch: Whiskey Grade; Shoes: Nine West; Jacket: Zara; Earrings: Bombay Taxi Boutique 

5. You don't always have to buy (or rent) something new for every event. I had originally ordered a dress from Rent The Runway for some weekend events, but the dress I ordered was too uncomfortable, which is why I ended up shopping my closet in the first place.

Sometimes I feel like we've reached this place where being photographed in the same outfit multiple times is a big no-no (umm, hi Instagram). However, an informal, highly unscientific poll suggests that 90% of my insta-friends believe that wearing the same outfit twice in the same weekend is completely acceptable.

So if its ok to wear the same outfit twice in one weekend, it is MORE THAN OK to wear the same dress to multiple parties, no matter how frequently, even if you're going to be photographed and all over social media! 

Close up of the details: Clutch - Whiskey Grade; Earrings - Bombay Taxi Boutique

Close up of the details: Clutch - Whiskey Grade; Earrings - Bombay Taxi Boutique

The moral of this story is that while its fun to go shopping, sometimes its equally fun to shop your own closet. With a little imagination, you can completely change an outfit and give it an entirely new look. Trends are great, but an 80-20 principle of 80% classics, 20% trend will go a long way to ensuring that you can create a lot of looks with less. So when you go shopping, make sure that you're buying pieces that are versatile, and that you absolutely LOVE!

I'd love to hear from you: what are some pieces that you've invested in that you come back to time and time again?

 

October in Pictures

October ended up being a very fancy month - there were some fundraisers, and a wedding, and some other dress-up opportunities, all culminating in Halloween! I've attempted to capture the month in a series of 10 pictures, so scroll through and enjoy! 

We started off the month with an evening with the YWCA Circle fundraiser. This fundraiser raises money for formerly homeless youth, so they can find their path to self-sufficiency. This used to be a breakfast event, but was revamped this year into a brisk, focused, evening event. Having been to this event in both its iterations, the evening evolution is a definite upgrade. This year's event also featured lucite bracelets, designed by Halo Heart Designs, which were available for purchase too. Incidentally, if you're a non-profit looking for some new fundraising ideas, Halo Heart may be an option to explore. 

Headed to the YWCA fundraiser. 

Headed to the YWCA fundraiser. 

Later that week, I headed off to Capitol Theater for an encore presentation of Cleveland International Film Fest's shorts series. I attended my first CIFF a few years ago, and I've been hooked ever since. The organization curates a great selection of independent films, and its a great way to spend an otherwise usually cold and dreary week in April! This year, I'm going to take it one step further and plan a weekday off around some films too! 

Sadly I didn't win the CIFF raffle for free tickets to the 2018 event. 

Sadly I didn't win the CIFF raffle for free tickets to the 2018 event. 

Fall has been so weird this year, don't you think? We had some early leaves, and then nothing, and it feels like its back in full force this weekend. 

Boxer dog

We got all dressed up for the wedding of our friends Adam and Rebecca - it was black tie optional, so I ended up using my favorite Rent the Runway for a dress. 

We clean up nicely :)

We clean up nicely :)

I caught up on some reading this month too, including catching up on some fashion books that I hadn't touched in a while. I wrote a post on some of my top recommendations - you should definitely check it out if you have a fashionista on your holiday shopping list this year! 

Beautiful aqua jewelry from our new collection - these pieces pair perfectly with fall colors of charcoal grey, olive green, mustard, orange, purple and green. 

Beautiful aqua jewelry from our new collection - these pieces pair perfectly with fall colors of charcoal grey, olive green, mustard, orange, purple and green. 

I've committed to really embracing the holiday spirit this year, and I took inspiration from my friend Amber at Dixie & Twine and painted some gourds! Amber's pumpkins were in happier colors than mine, but I love the black and white + pop of color look that I adopted for the season. 

Painted Pumpkins

October also featured the Indian festival of light, Diwali. We celebrated with lots of candles, and had a very small Diwali party which featured home cooked Indian food (representing love), sparklers (representing light), and scratch off lottery tickets (representing luck). A fun weeknight evening, and a low-key way to celebrate! 

Diwali sparklers

We dressed up YET AGAIN for an evening at the Cleveland Orchestra, this time for a screening of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. If you've never been to the orchestra, you don't normally need to dress up (I've been in jeans before), but this performance was the weekend of Halloween, so dressing up was encouraged!

Indian woman
Ceiling detail at Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra. 

Ceiling detail at Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra. 

I didn't take a picture of my Halloween costume (I was a unicorn, duh), but I did manage to grab a picture from earlier in the day when we attended our neighborhood Dia de Muertos celebration. It's such a beautiful festival and way to celebrate loved ones - I enjoyed participating in the festival and seeing all the lovingly crafted shrines and memorials. 

Dia de muertos celebration

November is off to a great start too - stay tuned more fun dress-up events, my journey with Whole 30, and my favorite American holiday, Thanksgiving!