Fleece-Lined Herringbone Cardigan by "Beams +" - looks smart on the outside, but feels like you are wearing a fleece blanket on the inside (and one that actually retains its softness!) This Japanese label is big on putting their own little spin on classic pieces and this garment has easily been my most indispensable piece of the last year. I lived in it round the clock when we were in the hospital for four days for Evie's birth. Not that I'm sentimental or anything.
Compost Cookies. Marisa said she wanted to up our compost game and I got really excited, after all, these cookies are dee-licious! Then I realized she was NOT talking about the Milk Bar concoctions. Bummer.
NikeID - If you're having concerns about pulling the trigger on a specific gift, you really can't go wrong with the gift of NikeID. I'm relatively anti-gift cards in general (it's like gifting money, only with massive restrictions!), the gift of NikeID, however, says, "I know you love Nike sneakers and I know I would never be able to pick out the right ones and I thought you might have fun designing your own pair as a special treat." Oh, and there's a slew of Pendleton options right now which adds another wrinkle. A dope woolly wrinkle. (Don't worry Pidge (Marisa's mom), I wasn't talking about Mr. Porter gift cards - I still love my annual gift card!)
Repel by Jason Markk - This magical spray acts as a barrier and repels liquids and stains from your new kicks. Basically, just watch this video and prepared to be amazed. *Disclaimer - real solid on leather, suede, and synthetic leather/suede - BUT I wouldn't use it with mesh, or dare I say, flyknit.
incase City Compact Backpack - I've been lugging around laptops in shoulder bags for years and all that favoring one side while walking may have caught up to me. Recently I switched to a backpack and honestly, my back feels sooo much better. I also feel way more free to juggle my coffee and phone while typing on the subway. Go figure. I like this bag in particular because it's got a slim profile, it's durable, and it looks just designy enough that you can wear it to dinner in about 95% of the restaurants out there without feeling too schlumpy. Here's the thing- It's not going to work for camping, or for three-day weekends out of town - nor will it work for trips to court (if you are on trial or a lawyer? I dunno) and that's just fine. Keep using your favorite vintage marmot/lowe alpine/mountainsmith and oily leather briefcase, respectively for those instances and change your commute for the far better with one of these.
Comme Des Garcons Zip Wallet - CDG has been blessing the world with fresh leather wallets for years now with very little variation in shapes- though they do often mix it up in terms of materials and colors. I am personally on my 4th bright green version of this model. They typically last me about 3 years. (Is that too short for a wallet?) There are bulkier models, but I find this one to be just right for those that roll with it in the front pocket and don't want anything too bulky.
A "dope" tie to wear to the millionth wedding - I don't own many suits. I've got a black one, a bluish one, and a light summery one. I know for a fact I can't currently fit into the black one. So I'm down to at most two. I do, however, own many different ties for swapping in and out of the different looks (having many pairs of socks and shoes helps also) which can help to create a fresh visual each time. I like Brooklyn Tailor's ties because they are typically not too wide, not too thin, and just feel like stellar craftsmanship in your hand. When in doubt, seek out a pop of color or a dark solid.
Uniform Wares M40 Calendar Wristwatch PVD Grey & Tan Leather - I had coveted a Uniform Wares watch for some time and finally treated myself to one last holiday season. London designed, Swiss movement. Casual elegance. This is neither their cheapest nor priciest model. You can swap wristbands- but this combo is one of my favs. I recommend checking the price at "END." before buying elsewhere- as a UK based website, they usually have them at lower retail prices with reasonable international shipping costs. (Side note from Marisa: Notice how he treated himself to one! I had no idea he wanted one of these!)
Aeropress Coffee and Espresso Maker - Ok, I've never used this thing, but I was simply impressed enough with the glowing reviews and the seemingly clean and easy way to brew a bonkers espresso at a crazy reasonable price, that it merited inclusion. I'd love to find out if the hype is real.
The Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky - When all else fails, a bottle of single-malt is about as sure a bet for a fella as any. I'm no expert, but I find it too be smooth and delicious, with the right hint of woodsyness....or something like that. Plenty of single malts are worth procuring from the highlands, but mix it up with this Japanese bottle and nobody will be disappointed.
Anonymous Ism socks - These have become a real guilty pleasure for me (and Marisa too, who won't stop borrowing them!) These Japanese socks are just plain awesome. They come in other styles (fair isle, striped), but the multi-colored ones are my favorite. I'm up to about a dozen different colorways of them.
Mounted Staghorn Fern - The Staghorn Fern is great gift of greenery for a guy, because it's a little more manly than a regular plant, it looks cool on the wall and it's pretty hard to murder- it barely needs light and infrequently needs water. Full disclosure: we are on #2 - I managed to kill the first one.
The Case Study Fiberglass H-Base Chair - I don't entirely know why, but for some reason i find these molded fiberglass chairs to be shockingly comfortable. You won't confuse them for a La-Z-Boy recliner, but I dig 'em. The green is one of my favorites, but they come in oodles of colors and pair nicely with a modern cafe table. They remain fresh while countless Eames knock-offs have become a tad too prevalent (hey, we have one those too, of course!)
NYC Street Design Manual - I bought this for myself a couple years ago when this newer edition was released. It had been decades since NYC had published the prior iteration and they did a great job of combining interesting urban design facts and quirks, with specific regulations and restrictions. Probably not for everyone, but cool for fellow dorks with urban area curiosities and an appreciation for thoughtful city planning. (Again, notice that he bought this for himself!)
Garrett Leight Hampton Sunglasses - Garret Leight sunglasses come in a number of different models and shapes- these just seem to fit my face best. The first time I put these on, the lenses blew me away. I guess I had been wearing cheaper sunglasses for years and they just didn't come close to having the same effect. I think a large part of that is that these have polarized lenses and as a result are on a different level of light filtering clarity. It does, however, mean that looking at your phone screen will bug you out (think psychedelic rainbows). Supposedly the iPhone 6 has improved technology to make it better viewed through polarized lenses, but it's definitely still a less than perfect experience. I like the balance these frames strike between causal and dressy. You could wear these to a summer afternoon wedding or with jeans and a ratty t-shirt (certainly the more common occurrence for me).
Sticky9 Instagram Magnets - Last, but not least, my favorite gift this year was what Marisa gifted me for my birthday - Instagram magnets of Evie to hang up at my desk at work. There is nothing better than giving memories as gifts and, like most guys, I rarely print out photographs. Evie and Marisa's smiling faces stuck around my desk area make being away from them all day a whole lot easier and lessens the stress of a hard workday. It's also a great gift for grandparents and the like. Plus, Sticky9 makes it super easy to load in all your Instagram photos.