Between summer parties and getaways, I’ve found myself shopping for the perfect hostess gift pretty regularly. I like to tailor the gift to her personality, so rather than give the predictable bottle of wine, I’ve included thoughtful gift ideas that are always winners.

1. A candle can be generic, but not when it’s a NEST. There’s a cool-factor associated with their candles, the packaging is sensational, and the scents truly smell amazing. The brand has a boutique feel that will make you look like you’re in-the-know on what’s chic, and anyone who appreciates design will be excited about putting one of these on a console table or bookshelf. It looks way more expensive than $34, which is an appropriate price point for a hostess gift. The Lemon Grass & Ginger candle is great for summer. And the Blue Garden Autism Candle is always a good choice because the company donates 100% of net proceeds of this candle to Autism Speaks.

I met with Laura Slatkin, creator of NEST fragrances at Neiman Marcus. A bit of trivia: Laura and her Husband Harry were the creators of the home fragrance brand Slatkin & Co., which they eventually sold. I asked Laura which scents she burns in her home and where, and she shared some great tips: She and her hubby entertain a lot so they always burn the grapefruit, Sicilian tangerine or wasabi pear candles because they are "crowd pleasers."

Entryway: A floral scent works well for greeting people; Living room: uplifting citrus scent; Dining room: gourmand or herbal scents; Powder room: "This is the place to try a more unusual scent because you only spend a few minutes there," she says.

2. Williams Sonoma 25-year Barrel-aged Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil is delicious and will impress any foodie. If you’re only buying one, the balsamic is the way to go. Drizzle it on a mozzarella and tomato salad, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

3. A personalized gift is always a nice touch. If she likes Kate Spade, she’ll love C. Wonder. This zip pouch and tote, a celeb fave, can both be monogrammed. Plus they’re on SALE!

Shop more of my hostess gift picks below. 


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