My Favorite Kind of Souvenir: Local Art

I am the WORST at collecting souvenirs on vacation. I hate cheap touristy figurines, love vintage pieces that are too big for my suitcase, or spend too much time eating in restaurants to shop for reminders of the trip. I always come home empty handed. Well, I take that back, following a recent trip, I did come back with electrical tape that I bought at a gas station to tape up the hole in my shoe. Horrah!

But, I have a solution for bad travel shoppers: Artwork created by locals in the vacation destinations. The first thought may be to buy artwork OF the vacation destination like paintings of sweeping vistas or photographs of the city. However, by purchasing artwork made by people FROM the region, you can find pieces that speak to you more than the scenery of your locale - even though I'm a sucker for landscapes!

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While not all artists exhibit in shops and since I may not even stumble into galleries, I like to look for artwork after-the-fact on the world wide web. I've rounded up pieces created by Australian and New Zealand artists following my recent vacation to these two fine lands.

Each of the below images is artwork by an individual artist. Click through to get the piece in your home, learn more about them, and see the rest of their collections.

We've already been to Phoenix and Boston since NZ and Aus, then we have Chicago, Pittsburg, Ojai, and several more trips coming up this year. So, should I make this a regular blog series by featuring artists from the locations I go to?

Valentine's Day Art That Isn't Cheesy

Ross and I don't really celebrate Valentine's Day, but if we did, I'd probably use it as a reason to buy more artwork. The new piece would be a gift for him, but I'd get to enjoy admiring it on the walls. A win-win! I've rounded up my favorite artworks that aren't super mushy, overly romantic, nor too cutesy. Any would be great to gift or to decorate with during the love holiday - or even throughout the rest of the year.

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Click the thumbnails below to shop 'em!

If you want to go for a customized sweet and sentimental gift, here are a few faves. There's Framebridges' Heartstagram which mattes a photo of a loved one in the shape of a heart (get $100 off four of them with code HEARTYOU). They will also frame notes, cards, shirts, buttons, photo strips - you name it! Minted has some custom gift options like maps of a meaningful city and graphic ways to display a special date. One of my favorites is a print of what the sky looked like on an important day.

Last-Minute Amazon Prime Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide

Raise your hand if you still have gifts to get for friends and family. I have both of my hands up.

If you're like me and forgot (or spent too long deciding), here is a collection of items to pop in the stockings when nobody is looking. They all are under $25 and each is on Amazon Prime - so take advantage of that free two-day shipping!

the gold hive stocking stuffer gift guide

Psst! If you don't have Prime, get it here to get that free expedited shipping, among other perks.

Chocolate: This is one of my favorite kinds of chocolate. It’s perfectly dark and the proceeds benefit endangered species habitat rehabilitation.

Tea towels: Fresh tea towels make such a difference! No matter how often they're cleaned, the old ones always get dingy, so give the gift of fresh 100% cotton ones.

Candle: Oakmoss and Amber is one of my favorite candle scents. You really can’t go wrong gifting a candle. It's the perfect gift for picky people (guilty!) because they won't feel obligated to keep it forever since it's meant to be used up.

Soap: For your friends that you’re trying to give a hygiene hint to, or the ones that like to put pretty hand soap in the guest bathroom.

Paint set: Perfect for kids or adults, there’s endless creative opportunity if you gift open-ended art supplies.

Scrabble: Give a gift that you can open at the end of the day for some family game time.

Portable charger: There’s always that one friend with the “sorry, my phone died” excuse. This battery backup is for them.

Scarf: Anything that keeps loved ones cozy is a no-brainer gift for the winter season. This one comes in more colors!

Planter: I don't know anyone that can't find a use for a little planter for indoor flora - especially a cool geometric one.

Agate bookends: Pretty bookends dress up any bookshelf. Great for the bookworm, or that person that needs some filler on their empty shelves.

Sunglasses: I’m shocked by how cheap and how highly reviewed these are. I have prescription sunnies, but if I didn't, I think I’d have an extensive sunglasses collection.

Copper mugs: The mule is a classic cocktail for these copper mugs, but any kind of bevvy could be enjoyed in these pretty vessels.

Cookie cutters: Have you seen how gingerbread cookie cutters can make reindeer cookies? I'm a fan of things that have two uses.

Measuring spoons: Who says utilitarian tools in the kitchen have to be boring? Spoons in a pretty copper finish make such a difference.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: With the gifting and nesting of the holiday season, I'm anxious to purge unnecessary things in my home. Here's to spring (nay, winter) cleaning!

Coasters: There are fancier ones out there, but I like a simple felt coaster. It works well, and isn't too flashy.

Check out all the gift guides this season (many of which are available on Amazon Prime):

Gift Guide for Bookworms, or Anyone with a Coffee Table

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I'll admit that I don't get as much reading done as I should, but I'm a lover of coffee table books! I've shared a few of my favorites in previous gift guide posts (linked at the bottom of this post) but here's an even bigger collection themed for many different interests your gift recipients may have. Enjoy!

Travel

Food

Architecture

Interior Design

Humor

Flora

Animals

Organization

Activism

Design

Science

Landscapes

People