In Shape / In Style / It's Life

Your Ultimate 2016 Houston Holiday Gift Guide

Merry Christmas, y’all. Tis the season to… spend all your money. We thought a lot about how to do our gift guide this year. Last year, we talked about books and style. In 2014, we drank and celebrated Tex-Mas. Now, we’re digging deep into our blog post archive to compile your ultimate It’s Not Hou gift guide for all your Houston-loving friends and fam.

Thread Up

Clothes are always nice, and nice clothes are extra nice, even if you’ve been naughty. And no, giving your girlfriend some sweet workout threads isn’t saying she’s fat… but proceed with caution.

Austin let us borrow some clothes from Beehive, which is a super trendy boutique in Rice Village that has all your statement pieces. Shout out to the store, which dressed us for our 5 Holiday Photo Murals piece on Houston Life. More about Beehive.

For the athletic friends you may or may not have, we also have you covered. Another steal from lil sis Austin is RIDE in the Heights. Pop in for a killer workout, and leave with a whole new workout wardrobe. Another great gift idea is the Calia line at Dick’s Sporting Goods. The line is designed by my good friend Carrie Underwood (See pic). Great color scheme, great style, great materials.

Treat Yo’Self Your Friend/Family Member

If you want to win MAJOR mom/aunt/grandma/sister points, book a relaxing activity for her AND, well, you wouldn’t want her to be lonely…

Highly salted water (just 10 inches deep) in a pod the size of a compact car for an hour… may not sound super relaxing, but somehow, some way it is! An intro float is just $95. Read more!

If you want a more traditional treat yourself day, take it back to the old school mani+pedi with a new school twist: No toxins and posh af chairs/decor. This new nail salon, called Paloma in Uptown, is the anti-nail salon in every way except, well, the doing the nails part. Here’s everything I hate about nail salons and how Paloma is better than that. 

Bless you, Austin, for all the things you share with Houston… like Milk + Honey. Houston doesn’t have a lot of boutique spas. You know, the ones NOT on the fourth floor of a hotel. Milk + Honey solves that need and then some. Check out all the thoughts we had while being pampered at M+H.

Girl, get your hair did. What’s better than a surprise gift certificate to the hair salon. Now, we all need our hair cut on a pretty regular basis, so what a treat to treat your pal to a DIFFERENT kind of hair cut + color. You know, one that doesn’t feel like a chore. Psst… maybe give this to your sister from another mister who just got dumped.

Sweat[er] Weather

Want a super original gift no one would think of? How about a workout class or two. Pair it with some gear, see above, to up your workout gift game.

Private pilates classes are enough of a treat to warrant gift status. It’s literally not even like you’re working out! My-Hanh of Instep Pilates makes sure of it. PS. You can do doubles… just saying. Intro 3-class package is $150. Solo not your thing? Try Defy!

We’ve done them all: RYDE, RIDE, SoulCycle (both locations) and Revolution Studio. Don’t make us pick a favorite please! You can, however. Pick your spot, and your ride or die (get it), and get to peddling. Package the gift with lunch on you after. It’s called BALANCE!

This is another one where we will give you all the tools to the toolbox you will then need to craft the perfect yoga gift. We love the following studios, in no particular order: Yoga One, Black Swan, Big Power Yoga and Joy Yoga.

Unwrap Beauty

Gone are the days of buying a bunch of Bath and Body Works products and slapping a bow on them and calling Christmas shopping done. Not that I have anything against Bath and Body Works (ILY, Juniper Breeze!!!), just that skincare is so important. Let’s talk products.


Source Vital is a Houston-based, small-batch beauty line that has been making all-natural products for 30 years (aka, before it was cool). Currently, they have holiday gift bags (some on sale!) that are perfect little somethin’ somethins’ for friends or stocking stuffers. The skin care bag has silt scrub and algae cleanser (which do not feel/smell as bad as they kinda sound). Actually, I’m willing to bet that 100% of SV’s stuff smells amazing. All the products I’ve tried do, and aromatherapy is a big pillar to the company. The bath and body bag is an old reliable. You get a stress-relief oil (don’t we all need this right about now?) and my FAVORITE thing is the natural deodorant spray (living proof it works. Ask my friends).


Face it. Winter is not so great for your face. Kiehl’s, obviously, has solutions. But another, more important solution they are trying to provide? Feeding the hungry. Did I lose you for a sec? In the spirit of giving, Kiehl’s is selling its 8th Annual Limited Edition Creme de Corps Holiday Collection. In the $45 gift set, you got Creme de Corps lotion, Ultra Facial Cream, Daily Reviving Concentrate and a FAILE sticker. 100% of the sales go to Feeding America, and your $45 purchase of the set provides 415 meals. Give a little? Give a lot.

Fair to say that about 75% of my skincare products are Cosmedix at this point. It makes a great gift because the high-quality (ahem, high-cost) products aren’t something I would splurge for on my own. Here’s what I’ve tried.

What isn’t Cosmedix in my beauty routine is Aesop. Aesop just came to Houston in the Galleria in the new Saks wing. Read more about my week with Aussie Lovin.

If you’re not into giving a friend a spa day, give her a spa MONTH. Or, at least, the products for it. BVspa products are spa-quality, at HEB prices. 

Double Time

Give the gift of a date night, a night in or a girls day out. Great for parents, siblings and their partners and some gal pal groups.

Dinner, drinks and a movie? All in one, luxurious spot? Sounds like a good night. It will not be ill-recieved. Recline and dine. 

Sometimes, a night in > night out. Especially if you’ve got some friends who do too much of the dining out! Treat them with a night in, either as mini-chefs with Blue Apron, or foolproof Served eaters.


While this may seem like an extension of the Treat Yo’Self variety, here are some tips for making a full day out of your Girls Day Out in River Oaks Shopping Center.


We’ve got a couple other favorites that gotta make the list, even if they don’t warrant a whole new category.

Sweet Virginia’s, which is available at Neiman Marcus and online, is a great gift for friends and hostess gifts! Plus it has a really great story. It’s buttery and delicious, with no shortage of nuts! (I made a mess, by the way.)


A bangle that doubles as a hair tie holder. We’re in our 20s, guys, not in high school with afternoon volleyball practice. Hide yo hair tie. 

What better hostess gift is there than Mostess — a seasonal box service (based right here in Hou) for parting-hosting gals. Better yet, if YOU’RE hosting, gift yourself. PS. We’ve seen the winter box, and you’ll love it. 

You might have sensed a theme in this post. Most of these gift ideas include going out into Houston to enjoy yourself in the best city in the world. Htown proud. Give the gift of Htown pride.


2 thoughts on “Your Ultimate 2016 Houston Holiday Gift Guide

  1. Pingback: A Few of Our Favorite Things: December | It's Not Hou It's Me | Houston Lifestyle, Food and Culture Blog

  2. Pingback: A Few of Our Favorite Things: January | It's Not Hou It's Me | Houston Lifestyle, Food and Culture Blog

Leave a Reply