Just for Girls: Great Gifts Under $50

Feeling stumped coming up with a gift for your favorite gal?

We’ve done the research for you and found presents that are sure to make any woman feel celebrated (just in time for Mother’s Day, too).

For your foodie friend…  

A hot new cookbook

Consider a cookbook from an admired food blogger, like “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook” or “Dinner: A Love Story.” Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest cookbook, “It’s All Good,” is already a best seller, and it’s chock full of healthy recipes. Tie the book with some raffia and a cooking gadget a la Martha Stewart.

Drinks at The Aviary
This isn’t your neighborhood bar. The Aviary is owned and operated by acclaimed Alinea and Next chef, Grant Achatz. Mixed drinks are presented with the most creative spin: from bubbling vessels akin to a science experiment, an iced slingshot, or a cocktail you crack open at the table. Purchase drinks a la carte or from a tasting menu at $45 for 3 drinks. Make reservations online to avoid a wait.

Cooking class
Taking a class with a friend becomes just as much about the memory as the techniques and recipes you learn. Wilmette’s Dinner at Eight has several themed cooking classes that change each month. This is a great birthday option for a group of friends, rather than going out to dinner. Don’t forget to scope out deals for classes on sites like Living Social or Groupon.

For your beauty junkie friend…

Makeup favorites in a chic cosmetic bag
Stephanie Johnson makeup bags come in fabulous prints and colors, and what woman doesn’t love a new cosmetics bag? Make this gift personal by filling it with a favorite product. Sephora makes many of its most popular items in sample sizes.



Birchbox or Ipsy subscription
A beauty sampling subscription isn’t something you’d necessarily buy for yourself, but it’s such a treat to receive a package of goodies at the beginning of each month. A delivery of cosmetic samples from various high-end brands is a great way to discover new products. A three-month Birchbox subscription costs $30, and a one-month Ipsy subscription costs $10.


For your friend who has everything…

Personalized robe
A cozy new robe is always lovely to receive. Make it extra special by having it monogrammed. Lands’ End offers this service for only $6 extra, and they have an assortment of cute robes at great prices.

Photo album
This gift is perfect for a milestone birthday. Send a mass email to the birthday girl’s friends and family. Ask that each friend send you a few memorable photographs and a birthday message for your friend. Purchase a large scrapbook from a craft or photo store, or better yet, create an album online through a website like My Publisher, Shutterfly or iPhoto. Compile all of the messages and photos into a keepsake book.


Photo: Pink birthday by Bigstock