Let's face it: giving the perfect gift to someone is like standing on top of a mountain and shouting, "HEY EVERYONE, I'M NOT AN EMOTIONAL CRIPPLE!"
My 5 Best Gifts is a recurring feature that asks people to give up the goods on the best gifts they've given or received.
First up is New Jersey-based interior designer Vanessa DeLeon.
Vanessa DeLeon has a laundry list of appearances on HGTV and the Food Network. We're talking Generation Renovation, Designer's Challenge, Bang For Your Buck, Design Star, and Restaurant Impossible.
1. Destination Boxes ($120, Z Gallerie): You may wish you could remember your semester abroad in Italy, but you drank about 7,000 bottles of "vino" and most of your memories are redacted. Thank God for all of the pictures that prove as photo evidence that you climbed to the top of the duomo in Florence, got caught in the doors of the metro in Rome, and got attacked by pigeons all over Venice. "The destination boxes are the perfect gift for that frequent travel buddy of yours," says Vanessa. "The boxes are not only functional, but practical, too, and really add pizazz to what otherwise would have been a boring storage box."
2. Clear Glass Perfume Bottles ($24, West Elm): I'd pick these up to hide my alcohol in (as in, "No, that's not whiskey, that's perfume! Don't smell it, though. No, seriously."), but Vanessa has other ideas. "I love these bottles because my grandmother gave similar ones to me," she says. "She always loved perfumes and lotions, and this gift is a beautiful symbol of her." A beautiful symbol of your loved ones, a beautiful symbol of my hidden drinking problem, they're whatever you want them to be!
3. Glass Shadow Boxes ($24, West Elm): We all have that one friend who cries at Lifetime movies and has "LIVE LAUGH LOVE" stenciled all over the place in her house. "These boxes are great to display keepsake pieces such as concert tickets, dry flowers, photos or playbills—whatever," says Vanessa. "I gave these boxes i gave to one of my dearest girlfriends and they're all around her living room—on book shelves and end tables. She's quite the sentimental character and these see-through boxes help keep her precious memories without compromising the personality of her apartment."
4. Multi Squares Wall Decal Pack ($11.95, WNL Wall Vinyl): Living in a big city, you are often at the mercy of your crazy landlord. He's absentee whenever you need something repaired, but he's up in your face when he finds out you have a cat or want to paint the walls. "I gave these wall decals to my friend who really wanted a pop of color in his apartment but his landlord wouldn't allow him to paint his apartment," says Vanessa. "They're easy to install and look great as an accent."
5. Stiletto Doorstop ($12, Chiasso): Here's a secret from us girls: high heels are uncomfortable. I'm too vain to walk to the subway in a business suit paired with big, white New Balance clown shoes, so I limp to the office like an asshole instead. Either way, I look stupid. But that's just me. Women love shoes! Carrie Bradshaw! Imelda Marcos!
"This door stop is great for a girly girl apartment or bedroom," says Vanessa. "I bought this gift for my co-worker. She's the gal that always locked herself out of her apartment when bringing in the groceries!"
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