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The Gypsetters Gift Guide

posted by in Lust List

Do you too sometimes wonder where your Christmas spirit has gone? We get so wrapped up – pun intended – in gift giving, party planning and stuck in holiday traffic that we forget the reason of the season.

 Aside from managing a quick escape from the city before December began – a tradition I think I’ll do every year from here on end to get me in the right mindset – I attend less parties than I did before, spend quality time with loved ones more and try my very best to get as much Christmas shopping done from the comfort of my home. I’m thankful for online shopping sites and beautifully curated bazaars in Manila for interesting finds! They make gift-giving that much easier.

The Gypsetters would like to give a few gift ideas we ourselves would also love to receive. Many are beautifully created, designed or curated by like-minded friends in Manila that would make unique gifts friends and family here and abroad would treasure. Many in this list can be bought online, late at night (or late in the morning), while in your PJs. Other gift ideas are from brands known for their amazing material or international appeal.

 For Her

A woman can never be too rich, too thin or have too many beautiful items. Wouldn’t you agree?  Choosing a gift for a mom, sister, BFF or girlfriend might be a challenge but know this: as long as you put thought into it, get her something that she wouldn’t normally buy herself and know her personality, she will love it!


Who doesn’t love a box full of surprises? Any gypsetting babe worth her tassels knows that these anticipated curated crates from uber-gypset shopping website Seek the Uniq are always an awesome gift! This one’s called Global Edit with items from Joyce Makitalo’s 1969 line, Luxe Guides, Benefit make-up and other groovy stuff. Plus for those who buy, it gives them a raffle entry to win a trip to Flower Island, Palawan (win-win, right?). Check out Curated Crate – Global Edit’s complete description here.


Fiona Kotur shows her fun-loving, quirky personality through each interesting clutch bag at a time. From her Fall/Winter 2015 Collection, check out these pieces in perspex, velvet or lace that actually light up when sound activated, Casino Royale-themed collection featuring embroidered flamingoes or brocade print. Find more bags to choose from here.


Girlfriends looking for interesting jewelry for their BFFs or sisters that won’t break the budget? Look no further than Stockton Row, designed by jewelry and bag designer Nicole Whisenhunt and made in brass with semi-precious gems. We love her Art Deco aesthetic and this new collection inspired by the stars. For the more generous boyfriends/ lovers/ husbands, you can visit Nicole privately and choose a piece from her fine jewelry collection.


Beach bunnies will love these Due Porte kaftans from besties chic fashion designer Rosanna Ocampo-Rodriguez and traveler Marielle Santos-Po. Rosanna discovered these from Italian designer Antica Sartoria while on a trip abroad and wanted to introduce this independent label to Manila. The various sea theme designs are certainly perfect for any balmy climate (margarita in hand necessary). Due Porte was recently in the Slow Living trunk show but in the meantime, check out these kaftans by booking an appointment at


Some women prefer to receive food over beauty products but now you can have both from the L’Occitane and Pierre Herme collaboration of assorted beauty products in scents and textures yummy enough to almost eat! These lip balms are as moisturizing as they are delicious. Available at Essences, Rustan’s Makati or Shangri-La Mall.


No matter what the weather is like outside we can always enjoy a little tropical weather with a piña colada in hand or with these bags from Aranaz Tu. The anahaw leaf motif is a signature look for Aranaz Tu and it brightens up any day here in the Palma Toiletry Case great for travels. Another familiar fruit found in the Philippines is the prickly pineapple. She won’t mind this Piña Leather sling bag with its bright pink hue and interesting shape that can hold more than a lipstick and a credit card. Shop for these bags and more here.

Personalized notecards by Whisk

Personalized notecards by Whisk Designs

Another former colleague of mine from the MEGA days and my namesake, Vicky Tensuan has always doodled plants and flowers. She has turned this passion into a business called Whisk Designs and now uses her talent for personalized notecards, memo pads, bag tags and even gift ideas such as personalized cologne and valet trays or placemats and napkins. I couldn’t decide which order to get so I got two kinds of notecards – one in vibrant green Foliage and the other in elegant Holiday Fiori Purple, my favorite color. Many people misspell my name quite often, and ordering notecards for myself ensures this isn’t a problem bwahaha. I’m so happy with how my order turned out! Check more of her designs and gift ideas here.

For Him

In the words of the men over at the hipster blog Cool Material, here are some men’s gifts “that don’t suck.” It never makes a man less manly to want nice things for himself. Here’s a chance for you to save him the trouble – he probably didn’t even think he needed them in the first place.

Whiskey cubes; gentlemen's grooming products

Whiskey cubes; gentlemen’s grooming products

The manly site, Cool Material is an awesome site to check out if you need gift ideas for your dad, brother, boyfriend or maybe even gay best friend. Obviously, it has got all sorts of stuff for a man’s whiskey but we think these whiskey cubes are an elegant solution to not diluting whiskey nor scratching up the fine crystal. It’s the equivalent to the quintessential women’s lipstick. Next, Bungalow 300 offers these men’s products by Eight Wolves with really nice packaging for facial hair issues. Get him a whole set of pre-shave oil, beard and moustache balm, and hair pomade so he can recreate that old school barber feel at home. Email to order.

piquadro menIf you make your way to SM Aura Premier in Bonifacio Global City, it has a fine collection of fashion items both for men and women, making it an ideal one-stop-shopping destination. Found there is Piquadro, an Italian leather company from Bologna, Italy, which creates the most beautiful leather pieces for both travel and business. Men just look even more good-looking when carrying a handsome leather backpack or weekender bag. Who doesn’t fall in love with the scent of Italian leather?


From the traditional shirting brand T.M. Lewin of Jermyn Street, London comes sartorial men’s accessories such as silk pocket squares  and quality cufflinks for those lovely double-cuffed shirts (they sell the shirts too, obviously). Did you know that Pantone’s colors for 2016 are Rose Quartz and Serenity? T.M. Lewin has got plenty combos of both. Check out the T.M. Lewin blog for more tips on styling up men’s looks both the classic and innovative British way. In Manila, T.M. Lewin is also available in SM Aura Premier as well as Megamall, Mall of Asia and Trinoma.

For Him and Her


Since you are at T.M. Lewin, you might as well pop into Yves Rocher, a French botanical beauty brand that offers great quality skin care products and cosmetics at truly reasonable prices. Everything here is made with the science of plants. Gift a couple the fresh scented fragrances of Naturelle Osmathus EDT for her and Green Evidence Homme EDT for him, which are perfect for warm, sunny days. Yves Rocher is also found in Southmall.


For those who like to keep their wallets separate from their phones, here’s a double dose of stylish Italian leather, this time in blue. Piquadro has beautiful travel wallets for both him and her. Check out all the slots for your various credit cards, air miles cards and more.

For the Home

It’s easy to add a little boho into someone’s life without having to bust out the dreamcatchers and crocheted hammocks. Here are a few pieces that can make anyone’s home more vibrant and inviting.


It’s easy to add a little boho into someone’s life without having to think of dreamcatchers and crocheted hammocks. This peacock-feather printed tray (perfect to keep all her nightside jewerly in) and Moroccan-inspired poufs can brighten up a space without going overboard on the boho. Both from Seek the Uniq.


Support local and gift your hostess friend at the same time with these inabel napkins sold through Bungalow 300. The Bungalow 300 fragrance reed diffuser has certainly put my faith back into this sometimes under-appreciated gift item. Not only does it have a selection of scents such as Grapefruit, Ginger Flower and many others to choose from, it’s also a high quality oil made with essentials oils for a lingering scent way past the holidays. Email to order.


 We at The Gypsetters adore our always put-together gypset friend The Spoiled Mummy’s latest endeavor, Grace Home. Whether for yourself or for someone who loves room fragrance, buy luxe room sprays in Talc and Vanilla or Olive and Milk as well as her popular beeswax candles in feminine Rose, Talc and Basil or her latest scent, the luscious Vetiver, Blood Orange and Almond. They are a welcome addition to any home. To order and find our more about her home line, click here.



“Window shopping” online is a guilty pastime and I have fallen in love with all the interesting gift ideas found on Restoration Hardware. This retro gramophone that can be used with an iPhone is a sure conversation piece in the living room! And who wouldn’t love the vintage vibe of this brass bar set – perfect for making a favorite cocktail at home. Bring out their inner child with RH’s beautiful wooden chess / backgammon set or portable table tennis set-up that can turn any dining table into a match for two.

Firma Ostrich Egg lamps

Firma Ostrich Egg lamps

Firma, home accessories that marry the East and West used to be for export only but more and more has been made readily available here in Manila, which make stylish tastemakers very happy. Check out Firma’s selection of ultra-chic candle holders, lamps and lighting options that feature ostrich eggs, recreated corals and beautiful silk tassels. Soon you can also buy these tasteful pieces from Firma online at the new shopping website,

For Gypsetting

We couldn’t forget to add some lovely things that would make a trip that much easier, whether for him or her.


Check out Restoration Hardware’s chic leather shoe shine kit or cashmere wool throws that are perfect on planes, trains and automobiles. Don’t they look so cozy?


Here are a few more useful if not tongue-in-cheek items for travel from Cool Material again (What can we say? We love this site!), such as this witty leather passport holder or for multi-taskers who don’t like carrying too many products while they travel, get them this  iPhone charger/ hand-warming flashlight. Cool Material has a great assortment of cool keychains, knives, bottle openers and outdoor stuff that you wish you had – such as waterproof matches or even an aluminum growler to keep your wine cool while camping.

mens RH

Let’s all ditch the obnoxious selfie stick and gift your photo-happy clicking friend this sleek and subtle iPhone tripod that comes with a remote control. He or she will thank you for it! For men (and women) who don’t like things all scattered in their pocket, there’s this slim wallet that fits your iPhone, money and credit cards all in one Italian leather  sweet spot. How handy! Both from Restoration Hardware.

Nuxe Travel Set & Fae soaps

Nuxe Travel Set & Fae soaps

If you want to make sure your friend feels just as lovely while on an adventure as they do at home, gift them with toiletries that are good for their skin but in travel ready sizes. French beauty brand Nuxe offers a travel-ready pack of its Toning Lotion, Anti-Fatigue Cream, Body Cream, Nuxellence Eclat and signature Huile Prodigeuse that even the TSA won’t be able to resist! At Rustan’s Makati or Shangri-La Mall. Fäe’s vegan luxury soap smells wonderful and feels great on the skin – just what the doctor ordered after a long day of visiting Temples in Angkor Wat or shopping in Chatuchak market. Find it available in Riverbank or Silvergil at Cura V’s bazaar Le Pointe this weekend at the Sakura Model Unit, Rockwell, Makati.

The Heartbreak Diaries and Luxe Guides

The Heartbreak Diaries and Luxe Guides

Books are always a welcome gift and these ideas are so tiny they can fit easily inside a handbag. My former editor colleague from MEGA Publishing days and now friend Pierra Calasanz-Labrador recently published a first book of poems she’s been writing for the past 20 years. The Heartbreak Diaries is about the different kinds of love one can ever experience and it’s sure to pull on your heartstrings. Right now it’s only available through Hey Kessy and Common Room in Quezon City or through the author here. Every gypsetter loves the sass and spot-on recos of the ever-stylish Luxe City Guides. Close your eyes and choose a city (or all)! Find it on Seek the Uniq or Luxe City Guides.


Most people take a gazillion photos on their iPhones or digital cameras and they never see the light of day. The folks at Fotogra have come up with an ingenious, affordable solution: to put them into something tangible with these 5″ x 5″ Fotogra books so you can look back at treasured memories for always – whether you have battery or not. Each book holds 60-100 of photos from most devices that can take a digital photo. I love this evergreen gift you can give all year round.

The Gysetters hope you enjoy this list and may your holidays be bright!

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The Author

"For mine is a generation that circles the globe and searches for something we haven't tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay your welcome.” - Alex Garland


We are two friends who were former magazine editors. Having moved onto other things, we both realized that the creative flow the publishing world used to offer us was missing from our lives. Armed with a common love of travel to the exotic and familiar, a penchant for the bohemian, an obsession with food and a lust for writing, we decided to collaborate our unique and fashionable journeys through life together in one passion project.

We are The Gypsetters.

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