2nd Annual Holiday Gift Guide

apple reindeer, Canon Digital Rebel

Superhero Holiday Gift Guide


Succulent Wild Woman by SARK. Although you should own every SARK book on the shelf, this one might always be my favorite. Every woman you know should own a copy of this book!

Spilling Open – inspiring artwork and words for young creative souls.

Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott. The perfect book when you need a little faith.

Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott. Hilarious and poignant. A perfect gift for a mom to be.

The Dot by Peter Reynolds. My husband gave me this last year and I cried right there under the tree as I read it. The perfect children’s book.

Jane Wattenberg’s Mrs. Mustard’s Baby Faces and Beastly Babies are for baby-preschool age kids, but I think I might be even more entertained by them. Another great gift for the youngins.

Harem by Dora Levy Mossanen.. Sensual, sexy story! woo woo!

My Grandfather’s Blessings by Rachel Naomi Remen: One of my favorite books of all time. Wear your waterproof mascara for this one folks.

Everyday Matters by Danny Gregory. How much do we love Danny Gregory? I love everything about this book.

Living Out Loud by Keri Smith. Another amazing book by a friend and artist I admire to bits. A great book for your friends who are feeling shy to explore their creative parts.

Scarred For Life by Keith Hamm. For lovers of skateboarding or anyone who is skate-curious. Written by my dear childhood friend who is a brilliant journalist and has been skateboarding his entire life.

How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer. Dark, beautiful little stories about adolescence that had me completely transfixed. This book seeped in and took me somewhere far away in my psyche.

Photo treats

Canon Digital Rebel: the best give I ever gave myself.

50mm portrait lens: yummy lens for the digital rebel.

the best flash in the history of flashes.

Lomo: creates mysteriously beautiful hypersaturated images.

85mm great portrait lens for a 35mm film camera

Action Sampler: shoots 4 images in one second! this one is a blast to use.

Polaroid Holga: haven’t used it but I am very intrigued.

Holga: the ultimate toy camera. Light as popcorn, looks like a fake camera (not intimidating to point at people) and creates unexpected and antique looking results. It’s also cheap!

Crafty Chicks

Superhero jewelry

Superhero tees: Short-sleeved tees are now in black and brown with capped sleeves. Very girly and cute!


Good Together


Booty Boutique

Sugar Paper letterpress cards

Omondieu flower rings

Other delights

Cucina ginger soap

Buy a URL for a friend or loved one and set them up with a simple website or blog

Timbuktu yoga bag

Mighty Goods! a shopping blog by Mighty Girl

Moleskin journals

Creativity Explored art

Cabinet Magazine:a beautiful art and culture magazine out of Brooklyn. My husband Matt Passmore built an art installation in the desert of New Mexico last summer that will be featured in the upcoming issue of the magazine. Go Matt!


And because we loved them so much last year, I am reprinting the DIY gift-giving ideas again. Maybe you can add to the list?

DIY Gift Giving

Sometimes the most generous expressions of the heart are in the form of gifts that don’t cost a cent. Here are some ideas to get the creative juices flowing:

1. Thirty things I love about you

For my 30th birthday, my friend Jeff gave me a list of the 30 things he loves most about me. I swear, this one melted me instantly.

2. Stone poetry

When this gift arrived in the mail from my friend Jen, I literally gasped. Imagine a heavy round box with a woman painted on the top. Inside are hundreds of smooth, irregular shaped rocks with gorgeous words written on each one-hope, radiate, simplicity… I had a friend close her eyes and choose a few rocks the other day. She chose “home, electric, home” This gift is full of magic.

3. Love letters

The first birthday gift my husband ever gave me was a poem he had written on beautiful paper, scrolled and placed inside a genie bottle. We weren’t dating yet, and it was his way of letting me know that he thought I was the bees’ knees. Even though it took me a year to come around, he got me in the end!

4. Performance art

My other favorite gift from my husband was performed for me at the San Francisco airport. I was leaving for Mexico, and as a going away gift, Matt wanted to give me a strip of photobooth pictures. As it turned out, the machine broke and the pictures never emerged, so he performed each cell of the photo booth strip for me. {One of the more hilarious and endearing moments of my life}.

5. Postal art

During the first few months that Matt and I were dating, I painted a large painting on heavy card stock. When I was finished, I cut it into approximately 30 postcard size rectangles. One by one, I decorated the back of these with a message or drawing or just Matt?s name, and mailed them to him one by one. Each day he received a piece of the puzzle.

6. Wish containers

I love putting wishes, lists, worries, and things I’d like to manifest in a cigar box. Some call it a “God box.” I call it the pneumatic tube (like the old fashioned bank deposit containers) Sasha made me a portable tube in the form of a hand bound book. She painted on several pages, and glued tiny envelopes inside to place wishes. This book is my portable wish container for the most tender things.

7. Tribute books

The best gift I have ever given was a book that I made for my mom for mother’s day. I asked each of our family members and several of her old friends to answer three important questions: 1. How did you meet my mom? 2. Choose one word to describe her. 3. What do you love most about her?

What I got back were incredible stories (things I had never known about my mom), gorgeous old photographs, and poignant declarations of love from family and friends. It was truly one of those presents that was a gift not only to her, but to everyone who contributed to it.

8. Gratitude Journal

After my post about Gratitude last week, Jennifer Higgins wrote to me about a “gratitude journal” she received as a gift. She started slow, writing a few things each day that she was grateful for (some as simple as someone smiling on the elevator.) She says, “When I look back through the pages, I am instantly overwhelmed at the blessings in my life. It’s helped me recognize the wonderful things all around me.”

9. Tributes to your friends

Are you a blogger? Write a tribute to your friend/sister/parents on your web site. They will flush with pride and joy. Someone did this for me once and I will never forget it.


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Hi, I’m Andrea

On this blog you’ll be learning with me how to use our voices, share our creative superpowers and live life in full color.

As an artist, photographer, life coach + mentor, I’m redefining what it means to be a SUPERHERO — ‘cause in my world, it’s got nothing to do with capes, spandex or sidekicks and everything to do with tenderness, intuition & baby steps of bravery.



  1. Mabelle

    Ohhh! I was so needing those great ideas! Thank you so much!

  2. rachel keller

    I know you’re asking for specific things, but what comes to mind as the best gift I ever received was from my parents-to get to be here on this planet now…second best is the unconditional love I get from the husband. I suppose the best things would be our wedding huppah which was made from squares decorated by family and friends, and the wampum bracelets I have received over years from a dear friend (wampum is beads made from quahog shells, found on Martha’s Vineyard, magical place for me).

  3. Ali

    Love, love, love your book recommendations 🙂 – just ordered a couple to put in my own stocking!

  4. Carrie Colbert

    What a huge help this is going to be!!! I can’t wait to look through all your links later. Thanks, Andrea. 🙂
    – Carrie

  5. Dawne

    Thanks so much for posting your gift ideas Andrea… I love making gifts for friends, and these ideas have my brain percolating! 🙂
    finding your journal was a great gift to me, and each piece of your jewelry I add from your collection makes me smile… you are a true treasure to us all. Thank you for sharing bits of your life with us.

  6. stef

    I love this list – I can’t stop coming back to it and reading it over and over. How wonderful – thanks for sharing.

  7. Hazel

    Today I got an email from your mailing list and I feel like it was fate. I lost all my bookmarks back in April, your site being one of them, so until today I had not read your journal in months.
    I read what you write and you show me the beauty in every little thing around me. I don’t know you but I feel you are one of the most beautiful people on this earth, your strength, compassion and your eye for the good in the world is inspiring.
    Thank you for waking me up from my self pitying duldrums and giving me a little spring in my step.
    I hope all turns out well for you, I think there must be a thousand good wishes floating in the cosmos for you tonight 🙂
    P.S I started making my boyfriend a handmade book of “50 reasons why I love you” I would recommend making these kinds of things to anyone, not only is it sweet for them, it reconnects the person making the book, thinking about the person, with their heart.

  8. denise

    so awesome..
    you inspired me…
    the puzzle painting .. I ALWAYS LOVE THAT
    i went upstairs to get something
    and then.. tada..
    i tore up 2 old paintings i didn’t like
    and finish 15 gratitude gifts that were due
    for tomorrow…
    i was strugglin.. then .. boom.. read you
    all good… made them with my son…
    and i’m tickled…
    thanks girl…

  9. m

    I like making survive winter kits, cocoa, book, plant, mug whatever takes your fancy

  10. m

    ps thanks for giving me a great idea for a to me form me present – I’m going to give myself a holga!

  11. penelope

    Thank you for posting all these great ideas, A! I love the postcard painting one especially. What a great treat to find in your mailbox!

  12. jenn

    thanks so much for all the wonderful ideas. i could spend days going through all of these links. i just love them.
    i have two gifts that tie for best gifts ever. th first one i received when i was 22. it was my SARK playbook and journal. what a wonderful gift. it’s full of so many pages of self discovery. i treasure my playbook dearly. i give it as a gift a lot too. the second gift was simple but touched me greatly. while away at a siminar my partner made a list of the top 17 reasons she loves me. (she said 17 wasn’t too many or not enough, just the right number)She took black alphabet stickers and posted the list on pink construction paper. I loved it. It’s now posted in my closet so I can see it every day.

  13. Chris

    What a wonderful post!
    The best gift I ever received was my great-grandmother’s two diamond rings. They were legendary in my family, and since I was about 13 I knew that one day my mother would give them to me. She always said she would give them to me when I was old enough to protect them until I could pass them on to the next generation. She gave them to me on my 21st birthday, and in addition to getting such wonderful, precious family heirlooms, my mother gave me the gift of believing in me. That is as precious as the rings.

  14. Natala

    Wow! thanks 🙂
    For my husband, I like to write poetry or things I am thankful for that he does. The list ends up being never ending.

  15. Dawn

    In March 2003, my brother passed away just before my birthday. In an attempt to lift my spirit, my wonderful husband wrote to the OPRAH show requesting a hook up between me and Mick Jagger. I have always wanted to meet him. In support of his letter and request, he had emailed a whole lot of my friends. He asked them to send him letters that would reflect how long they had known me, what value their friendship with me created in their lives, and how knowing me had perhaps changed them. The Jagger hook up didn’t happen. However, Daniel took the letters, put them in a beautiful album and at my birthday meal, surprised me with this gift. With my family and some new friends here in the USA, he gave me the greatest gift – he sat and read me every letter! They were so heartfelt and moving, that I cried from beginning to end of the whole event. I thought this was just the most romantic gesture on his part as it would have been just as easy for him to explain what he had done and hand me the album. Your ideas have inspired me to post the letters on my blog as I think this will be a wonderful way to honor my friends in reciprocation for all their love and kindness. Thanks, Andrea!

  16. monicalee

    great ideas- I have a hard bound book of letters to my son for him to read when he gets older. This list gave me the idea of making one for my husband-he is such a romantic! (maybe I will write all year and let him read it next Chirstmas Eve)

  17. jenn

    i just love traveling mercies. i am so adding this to my christmas list.

  18. Jeff

    These are really great gifts! And I can see there are some power (and powerful) gift givers around here.
    You might get a kick out of my latest blog post: “Jeff Gates’ Patented Seven Step Gift Giving System”

  19. casey

    This first year that my husband and I shared Christmas,as an engaged couple, I put together a little memory box with a book. Inside the box, I placed a couple of pictures of us, roses dried and saved from a bouquet he sent, sand and shells from our visit to the ocean, and the box that had my engagement ring. The book included some of our shared moments such as our first date, the first meal that he cooked for me, the original piece of paper I wrote my personal ad that he responded to, and all sorts of spaces that he could write in about first kiss, favorite gift, romantic getaways. It has meant as much to me giving it to him as it does for him.
    Thanks for the inspirational thoughts and ideas!!
    I checked out the site because I saw SARK mentioned and I own almost all of her books and love her.

  20. janee

    My mom made a little (2.5 x 2.5″) accordian fold book of snapshots from my wedding. The ends are squares of white polymer clay edged in gold.
    It’s a lovely keepsake of a wonderful day.

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