Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but who says she has to have just one? We introduce a few sparkling candidates for her crystalline crew, plus a few ways to relax and indulge in life’s little pleasures.
Big, brassy baubles handcrafted right here in Chicago by metalsmith Theresa Cowan. $68, Mineralogy
- Even Better: A portion of everything Mineralogy sells is donated to worthy causes including Mayan Families and Illinois Horse Rescue.
Two of the top trends for fall — va-va-voom velvet and sparkling stone — in one cool carry-all. $245, Kayu
- Even Better: Each bag is handcrafted by stay-at-home moms in the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, allowing them the opportunity to make living wages without ever leaving their babes.
Delicate enough to stack with other bracelets — yet striking enough to shine on its own. $2,150, Razny Jewelers, 1700 Green Bay Road, Highland Park
- Even Better: There’s no better feeling than that of supporting a local, family-owned business — especially one that’s been around for 51 years and counting.
Six interlocking diamond bands in one single, modern ring. $9,000, Neapolitan Collection, 560 Chestnut St., Winnetka
- Even Better: Sidney Garber donates 100 percent of all profits to organizations dedicated to children’s mental health, education, the arts, human rights, and the environment.
Chip-free lacquer that’s chic and formaldehyde-free. $56, Space519, 900 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago
- Even Better: Resist the urge to buy online, and head to Chicago beauty boutique Space519 — located right downtown — instead.
Metallic by way of silk. On your feet. This is real life, people! $316, Chalk Boutique, 337 Park Ave., Glencoe
- Even Better: Chalk donates both its time and style to many community events — including The Women’s Library Club of Glencoe’s annual fashion show.
We don’t know what we love more: the beautiful, unique print or the impossibly silky feel of the fabric — and she won’t either. $79, Sudara
- Even Better: Each robe is made in India by women working to remain free from sex slavery — and every purchase invests in job creation and skills training.
This magical whip relies on gentle rice bran (who knew?) to deliver the kind of exfoliation normally associated with harsh chemicals. $65, Tatcha
- Even Better: Every full-size purchase funds a day of school in partnership with Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program.
Free of alcohol and water, this subtle perfume oil relies on the natural calming properties of bergamot, white tea, and musk to ease tension. $65 for 10ml, Saor Perfume
- Even Better: Through the end of December, 10 percent of profits will be donated to Opportunity International, a global nonprofit.
A long soak in the tub is relaxing; the Kohler Bath Treatment (at the Kohler Waters Spa in Burr Ridge) is downright mind-numbing. Up for a splurge? Make it a really relaxing year and buy 12. $104, Kohler Waters Spa
- Even Better: To date, Kohler has donated more than $1.156 million (and counting!) worth of their products worldwide.
Like a chic, grown-up piñata, this giant slab of sweetness comes with a wooden mallet for hacking away at it. $50, Vosges Haut-Chocolat
- Even Better: Every bit of chocolatey goodness is made at an organic manufacturing facility in Chicago that operates on 100 percent renewable energy.
Some trackers focus on weight loss; this one monitors sleep, menstrual cycles, and activity and stress levels, too. $139, Bellabeat
- Even Better: Beyond looking out for your body, Leaf offers guided breathing exercises and meditation to help optimize your wellbeing when stress levels are high.
Inside is a French pink clay mask, mixing set, sea salt bath soak, and cold-pressed red clay soap. Throw in a bottle of dry rosé, and go ahead and crown yourself World’s Best Gifter. $80, Ames and Oates
- Even Better: Ten percent of the proceeds are donated to Pencils of Promise, which provides children access to quality education.
Read the complete 2017 Gift Guide:
Cara Sullivan is Make It Better’s Print Managing Editor. She has held positions at Cosmopolitan, Allure, and Martha Stewart Weddings magazines, and writes for many national and local publications. Sullivan lives in Ravenswood Gardens with her husband and two young daughters, and is a passionate supporter of Indivisible Chicago, a grassroots organization that focuses on direct actions that small, local groups can take to influence their representatives in Washington.