my old country house


It’s that time again!

Shopping for your teenager and young adult comes with joy and challenges – financial and strategic. Oh how I miss the days where a few packs of Hot-wheels or some American Girl doll stuff did the trick!

What is the FIRST best gift for A COLLEGE KID?


 So, now that we have that out-of-the-way – lets say you want to give that special college age kid an actual PRESENT – wrapped in pretty paper, something special, meaningful or useful or both. I happen to be in the possession of multiple lists – with LINKS- given to me by my very own College (and one High School) age Kids and I intend on sharing with you some of the ACTUAL THINGS they would ALSO love to have.

(there is something wrong with my blog where it numbers everything #1 – so I have tried to trick it by adding letters to the numbers – but mostly – I am just winging it!)

A or 1 . GIFT CARDS – HA. Ha. Ha. Funny right? Same as Money – right? But GIFT cards at least give YOU the ability to focus the Gifting – and I always like to package gift cards in a special way – such as, a cool monogramed mug from Anthropologie


..and then PUT the GIFTCARD – IN the Mug! Like  Starbucks or whatever the favorite local coffee place is at your College Kids school!

…or a pair of cute mittens with a giftcard for their favorite clothing store! Food Giftcards are the absolute best! My kids faves are Starbucks, Chick-fila and local places on their individual campus.

B or 2. CUTE LITTLE JEWELRY – Again, cash is king with College Kids – but there is nothing that says they don’t like a little something special and cool to wear. Urban outfitter has a great little jewelry section on your way in _ NOTHING costs more than $30  – and their jewelry is funky and fun and special.

Urban Outfitters – Eleni Rhinestone Choker Necklace

If you have a bigger budget – word has it that KENDRA SCOTT is a big favorite on College campuses.


C or 3 . I have one college girl and one college boy. They are at two different schools – one large and one small – One preppy, one nerdy . But one thing is similar – each time they go back they take fewer and fewer things  – especially clothes. Clothes can be a hassle at school. There is little space, they have to be washed – and besides, everyone lives in sweats and leggings anyway.

Over the years – I have learned the value of a GREAT pair of leggings or sweatpants that can be worn multiple times and never pill or stretch and always fit exactly the same – and when you LIVE in leggings and sweats – it becomes more important. So while I am always trying to save and I am not a hUGE proponent of shelling out tons of cash on clothes you wear once – I have NO problem splurging on something I / they will wear every single day and even sleep in. THIS is where LULULEMON comes in – and to be more specific – the ALIGN pant. OH MY GOSH – Once you wear these leggings you will ONLY ever want to wear them – and try to figure out how to dress them up for the next black tie you must attend. They are heaven. Truly. and they are on Phoebe and MY Christmas List. swear mine every single day to paint. and she wears them every single day to College!

My daughter lives in leggings and my son lives in his sweats. His go-to brand is – NIKE. Nike makes good quality sweats that usually have pockets and hold up to multiple wearing and washings.


D OR 4. FRESH MAKE UP and/or TOILETRIES – this is something that can be taken for granted. But when you are at college, you have minimal trappings, just your clothes and YOU. My kids spend hours studying and never have enough extra $$ to splurge in a new hair gel. It is nice to have fresh new make-up. Phoebe’s favorite Make-up store is ULTA.


Tate has a favorite hair gel that we pop in his stocking…and …..YOU CAN ALWAYS GO TO CVS!

I am treating Tate to a Men’s Starter kit from Keihls – shhhhhh. Mums the word!

Along with fresh razors and all the rest of his toiletries!

E OR 5. A MASSAGE or a Facial – or both!  Lets face it, life is stressful and while are kids are studying their butts off, their bodies take a hit. yes, I know they do some “playing” and unwinding, but I have been surprised by how MUCH my kids work and how hard it can be. Find a local Masseuse or spa and book them a facial or a massage or a gift certificate and they can treat themselves when finals are up!


F OR 6. Awesome Slippers. along with the “living in leggings and sweatpants”..comes the favorite footwear – slippers and UGGS. Phoebe lives in her UGGS. Especially on cold dorm floors. And they can get pretty beat up. A nice new pair – while pretty utilitarian – can be a treat for tired feet.


G or 7. BLUNDIES! I love it when my kids want things that I wanted – when I was their age – last year it was the CLARKS – Chukka-boots” – and this year – my son wants BLUNDIES. Blundstone boots are top quality shoes that will last him forever. I ordered them from Zappos. ZAPPOS customer service CANNOT be beat! It is so easy to return and exchange . last year, I placed an order that was guaranteed to get here by Christmas. When it did not make it – before I could even ask where they were – I got an email from ZAPPOS apologizing and refunding my money AND I GOT TO KEEP THE BOOTS!!!! That is great service

H or 8. SUBSCRIPTIONS – If your kids do not already have “netflix” “hulu” “amazon-prime” – etc – these are great services to provide them.

Roku Streaming Stick (3600R) | Portable HD Streaming Player, Quad-Core Processor, Dual-Band Wi-Fi $3

And if you want to make a package deal of it – a companion GIFT IS the ROKU. OMG, this has changed my life. ROKU is a little flash-drive sized device that plugs into your TV’s HDMl receptacle. (with a wifi source) it connects your TV to the already subscribed to services and eliminates the need for cable. They can use any tv – perhaps you have an extra one laying around..I use my ROKU in my Studio so I can watch shows while I paint! We loved it so much, we got one for the living room TV and are planning to do away with cable!

 I or 9. WIRELESS HEADPHONES – One thing that is hard to come by at college is Privacy. And one way that kids can”getaway” is through listening to music, podcasts, TV, audible and wireless headphones give them the ability to listen wihtout cords and tangling. All 3 of my kids have asked for them for Christmas. Choose your brand – Amazon has them as low as $20 Power BEATS, Senso, Picun –
Your kids will listen with delight!

J or 10. POLAROID CAMERA AND PRINTS. A few years ago Phoebe got a cool little Polaroid camera – just like the old days – only new – and pink and THEN – we discovered the most amazing little printer that can print the same pictures as the polaroid  – only from your mobile phone – you get the kitschy benefit of the “old-fashioned” camera and the editing technology of the iphone. Try Amazon and Urban Outfitters and Amazon4

The Holidays become so jam packed when everyone comes home – the “imagined” time that will be shared becomes the REAL time spent which is often interrupted by visits with friends, relatives, distracting phone use, face-time with boy friends and girl friends. Last year I remember being sad that we had not designated a fraction of the holiday time as JUST family time. This year we are hoping to steal away for a long weekend with just the kids – grab some quality time. It is so important to carve it out because no longer is it a given that it will happen – automatically. Savor the time you DO HAVE. Let little stuff go. There will be growing pains. I can still remember how tricky it used to be going BACK in time to my life at home. So much was the same while I had become a totally different person. Give them some slack and don;t “notice” everything . Just make sure they know that you love them – and love them home.

PSS – THERE may be some weird things at the top of my blog for a few days – just ignore them – i am in the process of bringing more of my art to sell right here on my website! and it may take a few days to completely integrate everything!


  1. I wear the Align pant for my workouts (I have three pairs!!) and they are ALL I wear! Love them! They have lasted very well also — I’ve had all three of my pairs for well over a year and if you treat them well, they will treat you well! Also wear Blunnies here for our cold Canadian winters and they are awesome! I bought a pair of sheepskin liners and they keep my feet very toasty!

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