Fact: Girls are suckers for sentimental gifts. Anything warm and fuzzy, cloaked in feelings or generally high on the sappiness scale is usually a winner. So, if your girl fits this bill, there are dozens of clever gift options to ponder.

And, since I’ve basically become your friendly (or snarky, whatever) holiday advice elf, I’ve boiled it down to three contenders for you. Seriously – even I’m getting sick of talking about this stuff. If you can’t wrap up something stellar after all of my suggestions from this past week, you may very well be beyond help. (I’m kidding, there’s no such thing as a lost cause, boys – keep the faith).

First up we have an addendum to the jewelry list, whereby you buy her a single pearl on a necklace – the idea being that you can add a pearl each year (or each special occasion) to help her complete the strand over time. I’m sure that your local jeweler would be able to help facilitate starting this, or knows of a participating retailer who can.

Or else you can just go the Internet route and hit up a site like Add A Pearl to suit your needs. You can choose from cultured or natural pearls, length of strand, bracelet vs. necklace or opt for the charm bracelet route and add trinkets from the memories you’ve accumulated together.

Perfect for: Any female who likes jewelry or public displays of the emotional kind. Dating timeline appropriateness: This one’s tricky – if you know for 100% certain that she’s The One and you’re going to keep her around (and vice versa, for what it’s worth) then you can start this strand early on. Otherwise keep it for a well-established partnership, lest she feel like you’re jumping the gun.

What it says about you: Listen carefully men, this is the single most important message a woman can hear from you: “I’m going to stick around.” Knowing that you and your affection aren’t going to pull a disappearing act, or that you’re in it for the long haul, are very appealing notions to us. You may score more points from the, “I love you and I’m not changing my mind,” message than from the actual gift itself, it’s that powerful. 

On a less expensive (but equally thoughtful) note, you can also gift her with a recap of your love by giving her the book “All About Us.” Begotten from it’s earlier book ancestor “All About Me,” this simple little journal comes with blank sections for you to fill in about your relationship.

You can sail right past dates and names-type detailed books, which are more of a cold record of your love than a genuinely insightful glimpse into who you are/what you mean to each other, this book is so much more.

With sections like, “If you could change one of your partner’s body parts which would it be?” (btw, play this one cautiously or else!) and other such playful nonsense, this gift is sure to please. Consider it romantic Mad Libs for adults, and consider her smitten once she opens it.

Perfect for: The woman with a sense of humor who wants to know these things but would never ask. Dating timeline appropriateness: So long as she’s been around long enough for you to know these little details (or you’ve spent enough time with her), you’ll be fine. What it says about you: I’m clever and creative – just give her something else along with it, a $10 gift on its own will raise some eyebrows.

Finally, may I suggest recreating a memory with her instead of creating a new one? If you took her to a cozy restaurant on your first date and ordered the risotto, take her back there. Remember the bottle of wine? Order it, too. Did she tell you what her favorite book was? Read her a passage. You get the idea. Whether it’s a composite of a bunch of small memories or just one moment’s accurate recreation, she’ll appreciate that it was meaningful to you, too.

Perfect for: Any woman with a pulse. Dating timeline appropriateness: Considering you need to have dated her long enough to have amassed this kind of nostalgia, you do the math. What it says about you: “I was paying attention all along.”

Have a girl gift idea you’d like to share? Just panicked because we’re getting down to the wire for your present exchange D-day? Email me, I’ll do my best, and that’s all anyone can hope to ask. As always keep it right here for more Fail-Safe Girl Gifts for the Holidays, ho ho hope you like them.ETIQUETTE WINGMAN

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Every girl likes to pamper herself from time to time. So why not give her the gift of indulgence this year? Spa gift certificates may not be the most original gift idea, but that doesn’t mean she’ll enjoy the services any less.

Generally speaking, a quick Google search will yield you tons of spa location options in your area. Or, you can always opt for a service like Spa Finder where your purchase one gift certificate that can be used at a variety of locations.

For the NYC girl, the undisputed champion of beauty and relaxation is The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental. Perched high atop Columbus Circle, this spa is the gold standard for everything from massages and facials to sunless tanning. Though it’s swanky affiliation comes with a hefty price tag, as would be expected, she’ll have an experience she’ll never forget.

Another notable spa find in Manhattan is The Peninsula Spa. No less expensive than the Mandarin’s luxury services, but if you really want her to have the best, look no further than these two hotels.

For a slightly more affordable alternative, Bliss spa offers just about every single spa service a woman could ask for, plus they have multiple locations throughout the city (Soho, midtown).

With a menu that includes everything from facials designed solely for puckering up (I’m not lying, Fabulips treatment is a real thing, $35) to a massage aimed at soothing tired holiday shoppers’ legs, Bliss has it covered. Plus, their reputation in the waxing department precedes them, they’re geniuses in that, um…area.

So, whether she likes getting her nails done, her muscles kneaded or her pores rejuvenated, you can’t go wrong with the gift of beauty.

Perfect for: any girl who likes to treat herself well (and doesn’t mind a stranger giving her a body rub…) Dating timeline appropriateness: Any. You can’t put a time stamp on awesomeness, after all. What it says about you: That you want her to be treated like a queen – and no girl is going to argue with that.ETIQUETTE WINGMAN

There are only three more days left of Fail-Safe Girl Gifts for the Holidays. Have a great idea? Share the wealth:

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Whoever said you can’t get women domestic gifts is a little too uptight for my liking. Feminism isn’t taking a step backward if you buy your girl a cooking appliance or some other culinary item – so long as she spends a lot of time in the kitchen.

The trick to these types of gifts is that the woman in your life has to have expressed a clear desire or need for them, or you just think it would make her life that much easier to own. Otherwise, you risk looking like a character on Mad Men with your postwar-era mentality. So here are some great options for the Julia Child in your life this holiday season.

The Food Network makes it look so easy to prepare a dish. And it is, when you’ve got a prep chef doing all of the grunt work first! So, if she hates chopping, peeling or dicing, getting her a slicer is a great idea.

Sounds weird, I know, but I love to cook and this type of labor is the biggest impediment to my kitchen wizardry. This Williams-Sonoma Professional Multi-Chopper ($40) is a huge help, or you can help her slice/julienne better with a handy dandy mandoline like this one, albeit a pricier option ($200).

If she enjoys making homemade pizza – my specialty, though my mother holds the title for best pie – consider getting her a baking stone like this one from Crate & Barrel ($45). It’s the perfect way to get the crisp bottom crust she’s been aiming for every time.

Or, if she’s more of a beverage girl, you can opt for some beautiful stemless wine glasses like these monogrammed ones from Williams-Sonoma ($90 for set of 6, also available in stemmed options and white wine versions as well).

They also offer a ton of other standout options, like a stainless-steel monogrammed bar tools set for the woman who likes to drink her dinner instead, as well as personalized carafes and pilsner glasses.

If caffeine is her vice, you can’t go wrong buying her a Keurig coffee maker.

There are two things I’m obsessed with in my apartment, and my Keurig is one of them (my dude-sized TV is the other). If she enjoys coffee at all, or even if she just needs it to prop herself up in the morning, Keurig has pretty much perfected the art of no clean up, ease of use and has a variety of fun coffee flavor options – Hawaiian Hazelnut and Gingerbread are top notch. This personal-sized $100 brewing option is perfect for small spaces, and it comes in three colors. If she doesn’t already own one, trust me – it’s a winner.

Finally, if she likes being in the kitchen but could use some help on her skills, buying her some cooking classes is also a thoughtful option.

DISCLAIMER: Do not, I repeat DO NOT under any circumstances, purchase cooking classes unless she has said she’d like to learn some new techniques, wishes she knew more dishes or generally has expressed an interest in this. Otherwise, you’re indirectly telling her that her cooking is sub par, in which case you better hope you didn’t get her a new set of chopping knives this year, too.

Sur La Table offers both in person and virtual cooking instruction, in areas like knife skills, the Ultimate Bacon Menu (every guy’s ears just perked up), Thai cooking, fast French food, and even pastry making. Seriously, these classes are phenomenal. They’ll run you anywhere from $25 to $215 for multi-part instructional series, but are worth every penny.

All of these options are perfect for: the woman who feels at home in the kitchen. Dating timeline appropriateness: Several months into your relationship, at least. Getting her a domestic gift if you don’t know her really well or she hasn’t cooked you dinner yet is a gamble, FYI. What it says about you: I recognize that cooking is your hobby, and I support it (and want to reap the benefits of it, too).

So there you have it, some ideal tools for whipping up a little extra fun in the kitchen (though you men would prefer she be a wiz in the bedroom instead, but still…) If Santa comes down the chimney wearing an apron this year it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Have ideas for my Fail-Safe Girl Gift Guide? Send to: And don’t forget to stay creative – and hungry, boys.ETIQUETTE WINGMAN

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Have you ever met a girl who doesn’t like jewelry? Me neither. But, for some reason men are usually confounded by where to begin when jewelry shopping (it’s not like it’s for that type of ring, jeez). No worries – that’s where I come in. Here’s a list of baubles I’ve come across that any woman would be happy to unwrap. And, because cost can be a factor, these sparkly pieces run the gamut price-wise. Hey, no one said you have to drop Elizabeth Taylor gems to get her to smile.

My favorite jewelry hands down is by designer Ted Muehling. Though hardly a well-kept secret, Muehling’s tiny treasure trove of a store is tucked away in NYC’s Tribeca neighborhood (newly located at 52 White Street – blink and you’ll miss it). Known for carrying much more than just jewelry – his candlesticks are beyond – Muehling has cultivated a simple yet elegant jewelry collection. His earrings vary in price, but start around $200 (going way up from there), and are perfect for every day wear or special occasions.

Anchors aren’t just for sailors and hipsters anymore. Me&Ro features this maritime-themed Hope ring for $150. Available in sterling silver on their website, this dainty little piece is just divine.

For the optimistic female, this smiley face necklace by St. Kilda is sure to make her, well…smile. Available online or at the mecca of all female I’ll-take-one-of-everything spaces in NYC, ABC Carpet & Home, this delicate pendant retails for $198, and these celestial star stud earrings will cost you a pretty penny more at $264 (but they’re so cuuuuuute). I know, I know, to New Yorkers somehow that sounds reasonable.

If silver’s not her thing, designer Daphne Olive’s nature-inspired pieces are just adorable. This mini pine cone necklace and also this spiky onion pendant are playful and quirky. Contact the designer for pricing, but boutiques like Table Top in Washington D.C.’s swanky Dupont Circle neighborhood carry a large collection of her pieces.

For some slightly more mainstream finds, designer Lulu Frost has been contributing some amazing vintage-inspired pieces to J.Crew stores around the country lately. These earrings retail for a more modest $65, or you can opt for one of Frost’s bangles, like this lovely $45 art deco bracelet. Reminiscent of something she’d rescue from her grandmother’s jewelry box, Lulu (and J. Crew) almost never miss.

For the girl who loves a good chunky cocktail ring, designer Alexis Bittar (despite the name, Alexis is a dude) sure has a knack for giving good hand. This crystal-encrusted sparkler is a fun addition for a night on the town ($225), or else Bittar’s lucite pieces are a favorite of mine, like the ring featured here (available in many colors). He occupies some space in Soho/the West Village/the Upper East Side, but his jewelry is also available at several retailers as well as online.

For the girl who is decidedly less girly, another one of my all-time favorites is anything by Giles & Brother (above bracelet $125) . Their edgy collections are the companion offshoot to the equally badass (yet WAY less affordable) Philip Crangi line. I would pretty much commit murder for several of Crangi’s pieces, but Giles seems to capture the same industrial aesthetic without breaking the bank. By using things like rail road spikes, fish hooks and tiny nails as inspiration, G&B is a solid choice for the girl who isn’t afraid to wear it. *Note, considering my site design, Miss Wingman should probably find these under the tree this year.

And finally, a fun twist on a traditional retailer is brought to you by the collaboration between Frank Gehry (yes, that Frank Gehry) and timeless jeweler Tiffany & Co. Though many of this architectural giant’s pieces are uber-pricey (even more than the above $525 option), I’ve long been a fan of rose gold, so perhaps your lady is, too. Just be careful, when pulling out one of Tiffany’s signature light blue boxes (in ring size, no less) her heart may start racing. You might want to clarify your intentions, first.

All of these choices pretty much say the same thing, “I get it, you like jewelry.” But also, “I carefully considered your taste when choosing this,” (an obvious lie, since this site tipped you off; it’s our little secret, promise).

The dating timeline appropriateness for these is obviously for anyone who has been together long enough to give the gift of jewelry, which is a pretty clear sign that you’re into her. Take into consideration that most of these aren’t cheap, and that also plays into how serious your feelings (and retail intentions) are – or what your budget is, which is an understandable limitation.

Whatever you choose, just remember that jewelry is personal and subjective, so don’t be offended if your choices miss the mark. I’ve always believed that if a man is going to spend the money, you might as well make sure she’s going to like/wear it, even if that requires allowing her to exchange it for something that’s more her style.

That said, I don’t know that I’ve ever actually swapped out anything a boyfriend has bought me, since I didn’t want to diminish the effort he put into carefully choosing the gift, but I can certainly understand the inclination.

Pay attention to what she wears every day, what hints she drops about pieces she’d like (girls do that), but most importantly, just go with your gut. And make sure it’s the girl who shines more than anything.ETIQUETTE WINGMAN

Have any great gift ideas for Miss Wingman? Share the wealth. Email me at and maybe your idea will be featured in an upcoming 12 Days of Fail-Safe Girl Gifts alongside other standout lists and suggestions. Either way, keep it right here for much more gift giving wisdom.

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After yesterday’s list of holiday gifts highlighted things that can’t fit in a box, it’s only natural that today’s list features things that only fit in an envelope. That’s right – put some tickets in her stocking this year. Whether for live music or sporting events, you can’t go wrong taking her to see something she loves in person.

While I lean heavily towards the “there’s nothing like a concert” direction – or maybe I’m just still disgusted by the NBA post-lockout – here are some of the more coveted (Big Apple) shows she might want to add to her stub collection (sorry other cities!):

  • Phish at Madison Square Garden (12/28, 12/29 and a 12/31 NYE show as well - if you can get tickets)
  • Also solid New Years Eve shows: Matt & Kim (Hammerstein Ballroom), New Kids On The Block (if she has a sense of humor like that – and you have nerves of steel – at Roseland), Fitz & The Tantrums (Blender Theater at Gramercy), Gogol Bordello (Terminal 5).

And if she can wait a little longer, some 2012 dates that could make for great gift options are:

  • Chris Cornell (1/7 Times Center)
  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band (1/7 Carnegie Hall)
  • Peter Frampton (2/18 The Beacon)
  • Flogging Molly (2/23 Roseland)
  • And the mother of all coveted tickets, the 3/22 encore date of The Black Keys’ already-sold out March show (3/12) at Madison Square Garden. But you better wake up early for these, tickets go on sale Friday 12/16 at 9am.

Of course, there are other 2012 tours in the works, like Coldplay and Red Hot Chili Peppers, not to mention several more rumored shows (please please pretty please Beastie Boys), just in case this list doesn’t suit her concert palette.

And, since Santa wanted you to have other ticket options, if you can’t catch the end of the NFL season, you could always take her to an NBA game (insert eye roll – I’m sticking to college hoops this year) or hit up my favorite sport to watch live – hockey. New York Rangers fans don’t have to wait long to gift her, they play the Islanders on 12/26 – always a fun rivalry.

If you don’t live in the greater NYC area, you can always check what’s playing in your neck of the woods on sites like Citysearch, or just stalk the tour dates list on her favorite band’s website (or sign up for alerts, too).

So, whether you want her to rock – or be a jock – this holiday season, you can’t go wrong with the gift of paper…tickets. Ho Ho Hope she likes them! (OK, cheesy puns over, won’t happen again). And, make sure you keep it right here for much more of Miss Wingman’s 12 Days of Fail Safe Girl Gifts.ETIQUETTE WINGMAN

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Santa came early this year, boys. As promised, this is the inaugural post of Miss Wingman’s 12 Days of Fail-Safe Girl Gifts, where I direct your attention towards some very cool holiday options for the females in your lives. First up: personalized gifts, because you can’t go wrong with a little attention to detail.

The folks at Chocri allow you to design your own chocolate bar for the candy-loving female. Originally founded in Germany, these purveyors of chocolate-y decadence have thought of everything when it comes to customizing your candy bar to suit her unique taste bud needs. Seriously, they have real gold flakes, cayenne & chili peppers, even candied rose petals – the list goes on and on.

You can choose from over 100 toppings and elect for either white, milk, dark chocolate or a combo for the chocolate bar base, then build on from there. Chocri allows you to add up to five options per bar and has everything from nuts to exotic fruit to breakfast cereal and even wasabi. You can also write a message on her chocolate bar, and if she’s vegan they have an option for that, too. (Told you, they thought of it all).

Depending on your creation, bars rarely cost more than $15 each. They ship to the U.S., only take a few days to create (though this holiday season there is a backlog due to a spike in their popularity), and are a solid gift choice. Sweets for your sweet, how could you go wrong? Check out their website for full details, it would make Willy Wonka proud.

Perfect for: Any girl with a sweet tooth. Dating timeline appropriateness: Any – this would please a new main squeeze or a long-time love, no restrictions. What it says about you: In short, “I rock.” Also “Give me a bite!”

If simple monogramming is more your speed, emblazon something with her initials this holiday. New Soho retail addition C. Wonder offers personalized everything (and I mean everything) for the preppy fashionista in your life. The store is a Tory Burch-meets-Target-prices (ok fine, a wee bit more expensive, but still very affordable) emporium of everything from home goods to high heels. Currently they have stores only in NY and NJ, but their website covers it all.

You can choose from conventional customized pieces like alphabet mugs ($8) and wine stoppers ($22), to monogram cheese boards AND spreaders ($18) for the hostess with the most-est. They even sell a do-it-yourself cocktail napkins and coasters kit – which rocks. Or, you can just opt for the additional $10 required to stitch her initials on anything from tote bags to cardigan sweaters, in a variety of thread colors and font styles.

Even Miss Wingman likes to find this under the tree, I picked up their Goyard-esque coated canvas tote ($68) and added some personalization myself this year – stitch initialing only takes about a week to complete. If you can’t find it and monogram it in C. Wonder, it doesn’t exist. Seriously.

Perfect for: The Kate Spade-type girl, preppy women, girly girls or any female who loves to decorate her space (or her pet) – their home goods and stationary are also standouts. Dating timeline appropriateness: Any, it doesn’t take much to slap some letters on, but it goes a long way in the pizazz department (um, that is manly pizazz, obviously). What it says about you: That you care enough to add a little something extra.

If sneakers are more her style, Converse has you covered. You can customize her kicks now, too. Converse stores feature a bar where you can cherry pick everything from fabric to height to colors and laces, or you can go on their website and Create a Converse for your shoe-loving lady. With sneaker base prices ranging from $67 for plain Chuck Taylor All Stars to more expensive higher styles ($90) and leather options ($80), the geniuses behind this craze have struck gold.

Every piece of the shoe can be customized to your specifications – with solid color options, funky prints, racing stripes and even the option to “tag” her shoes with a word or phrase. Want the tongue to be plaid but the lining to be neon? Done. The possibilities are endless.

Though they, too, are backlogged for the holidays (allow 4-5 weeks for shipping for online orders), you can try to speed it up by visiting them in-store where they build shoes on-site. Not a bad way to say “I love you” or even just “I love your shoes,” if you’re not there yet.

Perfect for: Hipster girls, girls who like shoes, sporty girls or even just the female with an appreciation for the funkier things in life. Dating timeline appropriateness: It’s not pricey, but it is very specific, so unless you know her style really well this is more of a ‘later on’ gift for established relationships. What it says about you: That you respect her individuality and like to think outside the (shoe)box

Ladies, have a suggestion for my list? Ever unwrapped a particularly amazing holiday gift? Share your story, email me at and keep it right here for 11 more days of gift-giving wisdom. ETIQUETTE WINGMAN

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‘Tis the season for crackling fireplaces, cozy sweaters and holiday cheer…annnnnnd guys scratching their heads in utter gift-giving confusion. Fear not, men, I’m here to help. With all of the cheesy Holiday Gift Guides being offered, I think it’s better to hear the brutal truth, for girls from a girl. Consider me Santa’s little smartass elf this year (the best kind, in my opinion).

Starting tomorrow, I will be bringing you Miss Wingman’s 12 Days of Fail Safe Girl Gifts, a comprehensive guide of suggestions and advice. That way, if she hates your present, you can blame me. A lot of pressure? Maybe, but I’m up for the challenge.

But, before I kick off my list, I wanted to offer you some guidelines that hopefully will serve you well in your pursuit of the perfect present. As long as you keep these points in mind, she’s sure to unwrap something stellar this year.

  • Know Your Audience: The single most important ingredient in a successful gift is playing into her likes and dislikes. Guys always get hung up on the cost or the originality, neither are terribly crucial. It’s not about the thing, it’s about the person – always remember that.
  • You Can’t Go Wrong With A Memory: Since we seem to be OD’ing on “stuff” nowadays, try giving her something she really wants – your time. Find something fun for both of you to do together and book it. Just remember to keep the above rule in mind when choosing said activity (despite your best intentions, a technology-free cabin getaway for a Blackberry addicted workaholic may cause her to short circuit, get the idea?).
  • Never Buy Us Clothes: Unless there is an item that you are DEAD CERTAIN she wants, you’ve seen her try it on and know her size, never ever ever buy a woman clothing, it’s too personal. We’re picky, we body obsess, it’s a disaster. Just avoid it, trust me.
  • It’s About Our Taste, Not Yours: Does she like heart-shaped things? No? Then you’d do well to avoid them, boys. While you tend to think we like anything sparkly and girly, some of us pass on pinks, hate hearts and don’t even get me started on glitter and fur. *Note, this extends to gifts that are more for you than us. I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again: lingerie and Lakers tickets are only altruistic if you’re dating Carmen Electra or Marv Albert.
  • Cost Is Not Nearly As Important As You Think: Unless your woman has shown you she cares about price tags – and believe me, if this is her you’ll know – don’t get hung up on how it looks in our eyes. Some of my most favorite gifts ever have been modestly priced. The key is thoughtful, thoughtful, thoughtful. 
  • Use Your Resources: Does she have a best friend she tells everything to? A sister she goes shopping with? Anyone in her inner circle who would know? Use this person as a sounding board. Two minds are always better than one.
  • Grand Gestures Are Appreciated But Unnecessary: If you tend to be an over-the-top kind of guy, that’s your decision. But that doesn’t mean what she finds under the tree (or menorah, we’re equal opportunity advice-givers here) has to be an all expenses paid cruise or a constellation named in her honor. The pressure to do such things usually comes from within, playing it safe is just fine by us.
  • Give Back: You cannot go wrong with a gift that involves some sort of charitable donation, helping people in her name, a memorial to one of her loved ones, or even a scholarship or endowment. If she blisters when she learns that there’s nothing “tangible” to unwrap, you might have a grinch on your hands.
  • Avoid Living Gifts Unless You Know She’s Up For The Responsibility: If she’s dying for a pet (and her plants have a good survival rate) then you’re probably safe. But if she can’t even remember to pay her rent on time, have mercy on the poor creature who has to call her mommy.
  • Don’t Be Afraid To Do It Yourself: Making her dinner, writing her a song or building/planting something with your own two hands is a meaningful way to say you care. Of course, it might also say that you’re cheap (kidding!) but mostly, it says that you put some time into making sure she likes it – which is appreciated year ’round.
  • Give It To Her Privately Unless You’re Confident She’ll Love It: Nothing says “Ho Ho How could you?!” like putting her on the spot. Yikes.
  • You Can’t Go Wrong With Personalization: Monogramming isn’t just for The Donald anymore, and these days you can even customize your candy. Finding a way to incorporate an anniversary, her initials or even just engraving a phrase is the kind of thing we go crazy over.

That’s it for now. I’ll get more specific beginning tomorrow, but for now think about all of this when you’re hitting the stores – actual or online. I’ll also be breaking it down into what type of woman each gift is great for, what it says about you, and how long you should be dating before you give her each present, just to avoid the awkward sound of crickets. Rest easy guys, I’ve got you covered.ETIQUETTE WINGMAN

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