Personal Shopper: Gifts for Katie's Wonderful Boss

Says Katie: "I need to find a great thank-you gift for my boss for writing me a stellar recommendation for graduate school. My boss is an accomplished, poised, confident woman who is fluent in Italian and Spanish and just celebrated her 40th birthday, but looks 25. Basically the woman I hope to be like when I grow up. I want to get her something she will love within my budget (up to $75), but I am intimidated by her impeccable style; she is always beautifully dressed in tailored one-of-a-kind outfits and she has a collection of jewelery from around the world to die for. A "World's Greatest Boss" mug just won't do! Help!"

Hi, Katie, Marian here! I agree - those folks who look perfect at all times can be pretty intimidating. Since her wardrobe doesn't seem to need the help of mere mortals, the following list is composed of items to be enjoyed, but not worn.

From your description, your boss must be a reader, so we'll lead off with two books: 1) a big bilingual collection of The Poetry of Pablo Neruda ($13 and a must-have), and 2) Jewels ($11), which is an entertaining anecdotal history of nine types of precious stone.

And then we have some offbeat decor: the little 3) basket ($48) in the lower right is actually handmade in Italy of crocheted rubber, which is new to us. And back in South America, there's this 4) "Little Carnaval" retablo mirror ($43), modeled and hand-painted by artist Alejandro Chávez.

We'll wrap up with a couple of accessories. This 5) Akribos stainless steel pocket watch ($69) is supposedly for men, but so what? The classic styling and visible movement make it, so to speak, awful pretty . . . and as an extra little touch, this 6) photo album ($10) is emblazoned with the image of a vintage camera. (This is especially good if your workplace is prone to picture-taking.)

Enjoy grad school, Katie, and see if you can find out your boss-lady's style secrets. We'd love to know!

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