I’d like to think I do a darn fine job at gift giving. My biggest problem is that I get TOO! EXCITED! when I am in possession of the perfect gift for someone to keep it much of a secret. This little personality quirk drives Cody batty when he his peckled with questions of “So you want to know what I got you right? AREN’T YOU EVEN A LITTLE BIT CURIOUS? If you open it now your life will be that much more fulfilled because it will have my amazing gift in it for 23 extra days!!” I once managed to keep such a supremely amazing present a secret for SO LONG that I presented it to him naked, just to see which one excited him more, his wife finally keeping a gift secret after a decade together or me naked.

It was a toss up.

Not that I’m going to be giving away any magical secrets of who got what on my Christmas list but I feel that I am in possession of such great knowledge about what people like that I must share with you a gift guide of sorts. Nothing huge and fancy, but way better than a $20 gift certificate to Red Lobster purchased from the gas station. (Well, if you can consider anything better than garlic cheddar biscuits.)

For the photographer!!

So a lot of you kind of lost your minds over the picture I posted with all the hearts. Yes, that was my Christmas tree and that magical little trick was obtained using the Bokeh Masters Kit. I have yet to mess with it to its full potential but so far I am geeked over how much fun it is, especially at Christmas time with all the lights. The basic kit is $15 and the really fancy one is $25. I say go with the basic one, the really fancy one has some goofy patterns for bokehs. Like the toxic symbol? Or the recycle symbol? I mean, if you have a message…be my guest. But these wicked birds are more my style.

Bokeh birds. (taken over candles.)

For the baker!!

Chicago Metallic Muffin Top Pan. Yeah, you heard me. MUFFIN. TOP. PAN. Makes the equivalent of a GIANT muffin top without the boring bottom wrapped in paper in half the time. I bought mine two years ago at Sur La Table ($29 for two) and they never cease to amaze me or anyone else that encounters them. Warning…ingesting too many will result in undesirable muffin top above your belt, proceed with caution.

Lemon poppyseed muffin tops.

For that lovely lady!!

Handmade earrings from Studio Jewel. So all of her stuff is amazing, but back in September Lisa gave me a pair of her earrings and they never left my ears (until I lost one, but then I bought more because I loved them that much until I lost another one, good news I still have one from each incomplete set, I will also be supergluing them into my ears from here on out.) I have crazy sensitive ears and these have never bothered me. The ones I have specifically are the “tag you’re it” in silver ($36.) But I have my eye on the gold ones too. Handmade, not too flashy and totally elegant.

For the little lady (or dude)!!

Pillow Pet. I know, the commercials, the theme song (It’s a pillow! It’s a pet!) Addie ended up with one of these accidentally (I didn’t know what they were until she LOST. HER. MIND. when she was allowed to pick out a treasure at Hallmark in Kansas City.) and it has never left her side since. We give them as gifts to her little friends and they always go over well. If you’re not a huge fan of the whole “COMMERCIALISM!” aspect, purchase yours from a locally owned boutique store or make one yourself. (I’d say etsy but the Pillow Pet people got smart and smite any and all imitations.)

For anyone with a pulse!!

Customized and handmade jewelry from Lisa Leonard. Frankly if you don’t know who she is or what she does by now you’ve been living under a pretty fantastic rock and I feel the need to tell you that iTunes is now selling the Beatles and the chance of you getting groped at the airport by TSA are really high. I currently have a silver key with Cody’s name stamped on it along with a silver heart hanging from my neck.

For your dad!! (Or me…whatever.)

Bacon of the month club. If you’re here in Indy,ย Goose The Market has one that features bacons they smoke and prepare themselves. You can get it for pickup or delivery. For those of you not lucky enough to live in Indy there are several online options for getting your bacon on, one of them being The Pig Next Door. 12 months of bacon (also known as 12 reasons to cry with joyous joy) begins at $99

For people you love but your wallet doesn’t!!

My candied nuts. (Did everyone else just giggle too?) Wrap them all pretty in a cellophane bag and you’ll be remembered as that “Lady that brought the delicious nuts and oh my let’s stay friends with her so that she will bring them again next year.” But just as I warned with the muffin tops. You really need to be committed to getting these out of your house and delivered to your loved ones or you will eat the whole batch.

candied pecans

So there you have it.

I personally will be asking Santa for a healthy baby (girl preferably…but I realize that’s kind of up to Cody’s part of the deal and that decision was made months ago…) and if that pans out I may be throwing in the bacon of the month club as a stocking stuffer request.

Addie asked Santa for a dog that poops.


What about you?

(Also none of these suggestions were sponsored. But if I were to throw out a suggestion of something I did get for free that is so fun I nearly pee my pants every time I play it, it would be Just Dance 2 for the Wii. Seriously. Fun for everyone. Even Cody.)


  1. Annnnnd I just beefed up my Christmas list considerably. The bokeh kit is SO added to my list. What do you use for a tripod? I’m intrigued by the gorilla pod (i found it on photojojo) but I don’t know if it’ll work. Also lets talk external flashes and lenses at some point…

    Casey Reply:

    @Molly, I have a Manfrotto tripod…my mom is the biggest tripod snot you’ll ever meet and so I had to listen to her or risk being disowned.
    I think Gorillapods are really great for lighter cameras but not for very heavy ones.
    External flash, I have the 430EX II…I also have very strong opinions about flashes but it’s a long grumpy detailed (very detailed) diatribe.
    Lenses. If you don’t have a 50mm 1.4 get one. If you do have one save up for a f/2.8L lens. xoxo

    Casey Reply:

    @Molly, Or an L series lens in general. But I’m kind of a lens snot. So…

  2. also bacon of the month club? Excuse me while I go wipe the drool off my pillow (because of course it’s not even 10 pm and I’m ready for bed/laying in bed because I am secretly a 95 year old woman…)

  3. I like you.
    Your list.
    And your nuts.


    Ordering the muffin top pans because duh.

  4. I have a Lisa Leonard necklace in mind for myself. I love to give them as gifts also!

    Casey Reply:

    @Kim, doooo it. You deserve it. I said so.

  5. Pillow Pets, oh man. My three-year-old cousin saw the commercial during the summer and just about lost her mind over them, reciting it to her mom at every opportunity. When my aunt finally broke down and bought her one, my cousin hugged it as they drove home and exclaimed, “And they’re great for travel!”

    Commercialism to the max.

    I can’t look at them or think of them without thinking about that story, though.

    Anyway, I’m not even trying to think about the holidays yet. It’s not December, not until tomorrow!

  6. Holy crap, a bacon of the month club!? I just fell in love…again. I HAVE to get that.
    That bokeh thing is pretty awesome too.

  7. My husband is a photographer and I would totally get him the bokeh set only he decided to get high and then go take some pretty pictures and left his camera with the brand friggin new L series lense I JUST got for him on the side of the road…. So guess who is getting a pair of slippers from Target for Christmas?

    Casey Reply:

    @Maile, SHUT YOUR FACE! A camera unicorn just died. The slippers are really too much.

  8. indyfashbash says:

    better a pillow pet then a snuggie

    Casey Reply:

    @indyfashbash, I have a really fancy Snuggie knock off. Truth be told it’s brilliant.

  9. A bokeh kit just went on my Christmas list. Airplane bokeh? Yes, please!

  10. A rubber band! Genius. I’m not sure about the kid, but I’m def. going to be experimenting with some cardstock and hole punches…when I have time. Love the rest of the list, suppose I’ll have to think about gift buying soon.

    Casey Reply:

    @Neeroc, Ah see, I meant to do that for over a year but this whole “I’m kind of unmotivated and uncrafty” thing really cramped my style.

  11. So, I’m going to take this one fact away from your gift guide: I want me some Lisa Leonard jewelry. Is it okay that I use the gift guide solely for gifts I give to myself? I figure since I’m about to give birth to another gorgeous child, my family can’t really get a better gift from me, right? I knew you’d totally understand my ideology here.

    Casey Reply:

    @Tricia, Um. Given I own everything on the list aside from bacon arriving at my house monthly? It’s safe to make it a list for yourself. (Okay, so I don’t have a pillow pet but I live with one so that totally counts.)

  12. A dog that poops. Wow. (I guess the furreal friend is not working any more?)

  13. No I am starving AND coveting, all in one post!

    BTW, I added the Bokeh kit. And I LOVE my 50mm 1.4. It is not an L…but I love it anyway.

    I am wanting a macro that serves other purposes aside from “just” being a good macro…any ideas? I mostly take pictures of the kiddos, but I want something for up close shots, too. Greedy!

    Speaking of greedy. I want some nuts and bacon!!! RIGHT now.

    Casey Reply:

    @LisaJ, I don’t have the 50mm L either, $1,200 for a 50 mm? Oy.
    Tracey Clark, whom I adore and admire swears by the 50mm macro. I’d trust her.

  14. I too am obsessed with Just Dance 2 for Wii. Seeing my husband dance to Proud Mary is the best gift a girl could get. I too just did a big Gifts & Glamour Guide on my site. You should check it out too ๐Ÿ™‚

    Casey Reply:

    @DWJ, Viva Las Vegas. Cody. WIN.

  15. I LOVE Goose the Market. You can’t go wrong with Bacon of the Month but did you see the platter of meats in Indianapolis Monthly that you can order for a party?! My hubby and I are having a party for New Year’s Eve just so we can order the platter.

    P.S. Pillow Pets rock for tweens too. My nearly-12 year old has one on her list.

    Casey Reply:

    @Lisa, Part of the reason I’m so in love with my friend Emily is she frequents the Goose.

  16. I made about seven pounds of candied pecans (my own recipe – more meringue-y) over Thanksgiving weekend. I’ll probably make at least 10 more pounds in the weeks before Christmas. All to give away. Except, you know, for that pound and a half that I will manage to eat while making and packaging them. Hips, meet Nuts. Nuts, meet Hips. Yeah.

    Casey Reply:

    @Chrysta, My hips are good friends with my nuts.

  17. Bellamomma says:

    I’m betting my husband will be upgrading my wedding rings when he gets the Bacon of the Month! LOL (I really need to put our local cardiologist on speed dial thanks to his bacon addiction)

    Have you seen the upgraded version of the Pillow Pet?

    Zoobies! (www.zoobies.com) ZOMG!!!!!

    The mid-size zoobie is about $10 more than a PP but it is infinetly softer & has a ginormous blanket inside for snuggling! Their body options are sooooo much better & you can get different sizes depending on the size, ahem, kid that will be using said blankey. We got our girls the blue elephant & the ladybug ~ my nephew is getting the baby size blue elephant for Christmas!

    And ~ they smell really ridiculously good … like so much so that I’m about to email the company & ask what on earth they used to make them smell so good!

    Casey Reply:

    @Bellamomma, I saw my first Zoobie yesterday. I wish I would have had your glowing recommendation before that.

  18. I’m seconding the comment about Zoobies. They are more expensive but holy crabcakes those things can take a beating! Plus Pillow Pets always look cheap to me and Zoobies don’t and I’m a huge snob. So there’s that.

    But really, I’m commenting just to say that your nuts look delicious.

    (because I am a 12 yr old boy)

  19. Amy in StL says:

    It makes me crazy when I tell Bill I got him something and he answers, “ok”. He has no desire to know what it is – even after a year of truly fabulous spot on gift giving he still wants to be surprised. I am sooo bad at keeping secrets that I don’t shop until December so it lessens my angst!

    Casey Reply:

    @Amy in StL, I have every goal and aspiration to KEEP THE SECRET this year.

  20. holla! bacon and muffin tops? and i get included with both of those!

    i love YOU more! xo

    *note to self…send super glue*

  21. Love this, thanks!!!!

  22. We’ve got 2 pillow pets here in our house. They are VERY loved.

  23. I have to tell you – Tastefully Simple has a Parmesan garlic biscuit mix that is just as good if not better than Red Lobster’s biscuits…but I make mine with their beer bread mix (no beer required!)because it makes more biscuits!

    I wish my problem was keeping the hubs present a secret – he always finds out or guesses, but I never tell him!
    And I’m looking at that Just Dance! I’d pay money to see our boys dancing! lol

  24. Who are you and how did you get inside my head??? Seriously, next time someone asks me for my Christmas list I’m just going to email them the link to this post!
    Son #1 already has a Zoobie pet which he adores, but other than that it all applies!
    Oh, and thanks for the rec on the Wii game… I’ve been thinking a dance one would be nice since we just got a Wii on Black Friday! ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. I did read this right after you wrote it. I just have a minute to comment. I was actually wishing for your gift suggestions and poof, you wrote it.


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