Gift Guide for Gifts Under $25 and Stocking Stuffers

1. Baublerella Bling Brush Jewelry Cleaner | 2. EA Caffeinated + Grateful Mug | 3. Aerie Sherpa Sleep Mask | 4. J.Crew Factory Camp Socks | 5. Umbra Jewelry Box | 6. Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask Trio | 7. Living Proof Transformation Trio | 8. Fresh Facial on the Fly Kit | 9. Amazon Memory Foam Slippers | 10. Old Navy Polka-Dot Cosmetic Pouch | 11. Target Blanket Scarf | 12. EA Monogram Studs | 13. Madewell Leather Card Case | 14. Amazon Lightning Cable Set | 15. Paper Source Notepad | 16. Anthropologie Monogram Ornament | 17. Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask | 18. Le Pen Set

Whenever I'm not quite sure what to gift somebody or I want to treat my friends to a little something, I naturally go to the "under $25" category. I love being able to put together a gift that's made up of a few smaller things, versus just one expensive item. Nearly every year, my sister and I inevitably end up exchanging a bunch of small things like this -- I'll see things throughout the season that I think she would like and buy it. By time Christmas rolls around, I've got a pretty decent pile of items I've collected for her! 

These gifts would also be great options for a girlfriend or co-worker gift exchange! 


Holiday Gift Guide for Acquaintances and People You Don't Know Very Well

1. Corkcicle x Rifle Paper Co. Insulated Canteen | 2. West Elm Stone Octagonal Coasters | 3. Williams-Sonoma Monogram Board | 4. Anthropologie Monogram Mug | 5. H&M Stoneware Cookie Jar | 6. H&M Bakery Wooden Box | 7. EA Christmas Tree Farm Candle | 8. EA Essentials Zipper Pouch | 9. Nordstrom Plush Throw | 10. Baggu Packable Bag Set | 11. EA Cheers Stemless Glass | 12.  Cupcake Sparkling Red Wine | 13. World Market Woven Basket | 14. Herbivore Bath + Body Kit | 15. World Market Canister | 16. World Market Chocolate Peppermint Coffee | 17. Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark Minis 

I have to tell you, this was one of the most fun gift guides to put together! It was a bit of a challenge because it required some more creativity than the others, but I think there's a great collection of options here. Any of these gifts would be great to gift to someone you don't know very well; whether it's your significant other's family that you have only met once or twice, a friend of a friend who is hosting you for a holiday party, a neighbor that you want to do something special for, or somebody else.

Some of the gifts I included are pretty self-explanatory, like the monogram mug, the beautiful throw blanket, and the holiday candle. Things like that are always a safe bet!

But I also wanted to give you a few ideas for more creative gifts that can be totally personalized by you. For example, you can buy an adorable cookie jar and fill it with some festive homemade (or store bought πŸ˜‰) treats. The wooden bakery box would be great filled with a bag of chocolate chips and your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. Or you can buy a pretty woven basket and fill it with a couple wine glasses and wine (or sparkling cider; depending on whether or not they drink) or with some bath products. The best part? Even if the contents of the basket aren't something they would necessarily use (they can re-gift them!), they have a nice basket to use for a gift for someone else or as storage in their home. One last option in this line of thought is to buy a pretty ceramic canister and fill it with a bag of coffee or some mints and wrap it with a bow - it's simple and easy for you, but would be a lovely gift to receive!

These gifts would also be great for a mother-in-law or sister-in-law, a new friend that you're still getting to know, or for a gift exchange.


Holiday Gift Guide for Guys

1. Herschel Supply Co. Duffle Bag | 2. Mark & Graham Acacia Valet Tray | 3. H&M Leather Tray | 4.  YETI Rambler Mug | 5. Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine | 6. UGG Men's Scuff Slippers | 7. J.Crew Tall Socks | 8. Wireless Digital Grill Thermometer | 9. Madewell Leather Passport Cover | 10. Portable Bluetooth Speaker | 11. Large 40 oz. Tumbler | 12. Away Travel Bigger Carry-On Suitcase | 13. Fossil Top Zip Dopp Kit | 14. Fossil Leather Toiletry Bag

Buying for my husband, brother, and dad has proven to be difficult over the years. It's taken me about 25 years, but I finally learned that my dad is thrilled with a Starbucks or Barnes & Noble gift card. He's a simple guy when it comes to gifts and I love that! It makes that one an easy buy. My brother usually gives me specific things, which is very helpful, so I just choose something from his list. My husband is a bit more difficult. He rarely shops for himself or even wants things, he's very content with what he has. I love that about him, but it means I have a little more work to do when it comes to birthdays and holidays. I will usually end up picking something out that is 90% functional for his life, like the carry on suitcase I gifted him on our wedding day. It wasn't the most sentimental or exciting gift, but he's used it on every trip we've been on since that day, so I'd say it was a good purchase! 

When it came to putting together this gift guide, it was with Mike in mind. I tried to think of functional and fun things that he would actually use and see value in. Some of the things included here I've gifted him in the past, like that suitcase, those slippers, and a similar leather tray. Other things are items he has and uses regularly, like the leather toiletry bag and the large tumbler.

Some years, we forego a material gift exchange with each other and plan dates or activities to do together - those are some of my favorite "gifts" I've received from him! We've done massages, a fancy "treat yo'self" dinner, and a couple other random activities that were specific to where we were living at the time. I love taking advantage of the opportunity to plan something special and make memories! 


Ten Desserts to Try This Holiday Season

Brownies and cookies together? Yes, please! 

I'm not usually a shortbread girl, but these look delicious. I love the large sugar crystals that are used on the edge - it adds a bit of whimsy to an otherwise simple dessert. 

Definitely on my list to try this year. Don't they look so good?! 

This is such an easy and delicious option! I've been making it for years and it is always a hit. 

These look a little more labor intensive than some of the other options, but they would be fun to bring to a cookie party or serve after Thanksgiving dinner! 

I've never made gingerbread cookies, but am tempted to try to this year! I love this classic Christmas cookie. 

Another simple option that is delicious! 

A very simple option that is always a crowd-pleaser. I love the idea of decorating with different holiday-colored sugars or doing the red striping.

We make these every year and they are so good. Hands down, my favorite Christmas cookie. 

I call these, "Pecan Dreams" during any other season, but love the festive title for the holidays. These actually melt in your mouth, so you know they're good! (I would use pecans versus walnuts.)

Coffee Conversations

Happy Friday! It's been a full week over here, so I'm looking forward to one last work day before a little relaxing this weekend. I can hardly believe that Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away already! We're going to Friendsgiving at our friend's house this weekend, so I feel like that will make things even more real.

As you may remember from a couple weeks ago, I started rewatching Gilmore Girls. I'm already halfway through the final season and don't want it to end! Since it's been a couple of years, I didn't remember a lot of the small stuff that happened, so it's been fun to see it all again. I love having it on in the background while I'm working or cooking or doing something else around the house.

If you need a stocking stuffer idea, these earrings are perfect!

I'm seriously considering painting our fireplace mantle this weekend! It's a very dark wood and is pretty, but it's just not really our style. I'm thinking either a rich, dark grey or a really soft, lighter grey. I love this color.

This is a great turtleneck sweater for the season. It's a good weight, super soft and fits well. I got my normal size, but in the tall version for a little length and it's just right. Currently on sale for $20!

We've got the travel bug again! Our last trip was in June, so it's been awhile (for us) to not have something else on the horizon. We're thinking another beach/warm weather trip in January, like we did last year. That was a pretty fantastic way to start a new year!

Have a great weekend!

Things I'm Loving Thursday: Holiday Decor

There are two distinct camps of people: those who decorate/start thinking about decorating for Christmas the day after Halloween and those who wait until after Thanksgiving. I've never really been firm on a time for decorating, but this year I'm doing it early. Part of that is out of necessity (for my business), but the other part is because I want to! I've mostly decorated for "winter", if that's a thing you can do. So, we have a couple trees up, but they don't have any ornaments or anything else on them. I've also put out a couple garlands and decorative accents, but that's it. The majority of my decor from years past is with my parents, so I'll be able to bring that home after Thanksgiving and really Christma-fy the house!

This year, I'm really loving the classic Christmas decor - red, plaid, lots of greenery. I'll always be drawn to the more modern pieces, as well, so lanterns, pretty garlands and seasonal fabrics are catching my eye. I'm looking forward to sharing more with you!


Recent Sephora Buys + Stocking Stuffer Ideas

It's hard to ignore the pull to start holiday shopping when it seems like all the stores and websites have so many great options available! Historically, I'm a little bit of a late shopper. I'd say I usually start shopping for gifts around early December, sometimes closer to the middle of the month. It seems like this season always gets away from me and I lost track of time and then I panic. In an effort to be a bit more thoughtful and prepared this year, I'm stocking up on great gift options early! I love picking up small things, little beauty gift sets, Target dollar spot things, or doubles of products that I love to have on-hand for gifts. 

I recently ordered some new and "restock" things from Sephora and thought it would be fun to share. I picked out some things for me, but also a few great gift sets. What I like about these sets is that you can keep them as is, or even mix and match - take a lipstick from this one and a scrub from that one, etc. 

What I picked up for me:

a beauty blender
I needed a new beauty blender, so I went ahead and restocked on this one and also picked up this one, for good measure. I love using a beauty blender for under eye concealer, which you can see me use in my everyday makeup tutorial.

I use the larger silk scrunchies when sleeping, but wanted to give this smaller size a try! I love that they come as a six-pack, so that I can travel with them without fear of losing that one good hair tie. I have noticed a significant difference in my hair since using these to sleep at night. (Blog post coming on that soon!)

fragrance rollerball
I love the fragrances from Nest - I wore Citrine on our wedding day - and enjoy having the rollerball tubes around for travel and easy transport. It's a great little thing to toss in your work bag or gym bag if you need a quick freshen up, or to pack in your carry on when traveling. This scent is so good, too! 

bronzing serum
I've been intrigued by this product for a few months, so I figured I'd finally give it a try. It will make a little more sense to wear in the summer when I'm really wanting a glow, but so far, so good.

matte lip pencil
I saw this when I was browsing and thought it was such a pretty color. I prefer a matte lip and love the application of a pencil, so this one fit the bill. It's a subtle but beautiful pink shade named Bettina.

I love a tinted lip balm and this one is great! It has just the right amount of color and is actually hydrating, which is key. I'm wearing it in the photo below.

What I picked up for gifting:

Bite Lipstick Set
I love all things Bite Beauty, so when I saw this gift set I was sucked in. Not only are they in a cute mini size, but it's a great mix of colors.

Drunk Elephant Out of Office Set
This is a cute gift set with the bronzing serum, face oil and a lip balm. A great option for someone with winter travel plans!

Bite Agave Lip Care Set
I'm a huge fan of all things agave lip from Bite, so this gift set is perfect! It comes with a mini lip scrub, a tinted lip mask and a balm -- all in a cute little container.

Living Proof Dry Shampoo Duo
I originally bought this as a gifting option, but since I use both the full-size and the travel-size of this product regularly, I may just keep it for myself!

That's it -- a little bit for me, a few great options to give to family and friends this holiday season. There are a lot of great gift sets at Sephora right now, if you're shopping early!


October Amazon Favorites

I love this tunic with leggings and sneakers or dressed up a bit with jeans and booties. It's super soft and stretchy, so it's very comfortable. Plus, the quality for the price can't be beat! (It runs true to size.)

I tend to believe that you can never have enough pairs of lounge pants, including these joggers. They fit like a true jogger and the material is soft. (Fit true to size.)

I love these hair ties because they actually hold my messy bun for the day! 

I've actually had my rambler for awhile now but wasn't using it regularly until the last week or so. I love that it keeps my coffee hot/warm for closet to 2 hours. I no longer feel like I need to gulp it down in 5 minutes in order to actually enjoy it in the morning! This would make a great gift this holiday season!

I love a buffalo check print, especially this time of year! This throw would look great on an occasional chair or the end of a guest bed. It's a neutral piece that's decorative and functional, which is what I look for!

To make it easier to look at and not lose my phone on my desk πŸ˜‚

What a cute greeting!

I've come to find that I love this style of slipper. It keeps my feet warm without making them so warm that they sweat (and then get cold). The sheepskin adds a cozy element, and the hard bottom makes them comfortable to wear for awhile around the house.

Who can say no to a good salt scrub in the bathtub?

10. Extra Long Tee
These tees were an absolute gold mine of a find for me! I have them in three colors already. They're a fantastic length to wear with leggings or layered under a sweater.


Saturday Style

A little weekend style a laidback but chic look like this! A simple pair of skinny jeans and knit sweater are elevated by pretty details like a lace bralette and layering necklaces. I love a classic pair of chelsea boots with an outfit like this - they're comfortable and sophisticated. Add a fun crossbody bag and a matte lip for a finished look!

H&M Knit Sweater | Aerie Bralette (currently on sale!) | Madewell Roadtripper Jeans | NARS Lipstick Pencil in Bettina | French Coin Necklace Set | Madewell Chain Crossbody (currently 20% off!) | Target Chelsea Boots 

Coffee Conversations

We're doing the exact opposite of what my mug is telling me this weekend...we're spending it at my sister's house! I'm excited to spend time with my nephews and niece, as well as the adults πŸ˜‚ She's going to be doing my hair, which I'm in pretty bad need of. It's been a bit since I've had her trim it, so we're going to do that and freshen up the color a bit!

Can you even believe it's the last Friday of October?! I don't know how it happened. That means there's just 28 days left until Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, which is wild. I've heard this year is supposed to be the biggest year for holiday shopping -- the best sales and promotions from retail and great online offers. It will be interesting to see what stores do! I feel like each year it's gotten more and more crazy, so it's hard to imagine what else they could possibly offer. I did see that Target, for the first time ever, is offering free 2-day shipping this holiday season, which is amazing.

I pulled out my Yeti mug this week for my morning coffee and am wondering why I haven't been using it every day since I bought it. It keeps my coffee hot for so much longer than a regular mug, so I can actually enjoy drinking it instead of feeling like I need to chug it before it gets too cold.

It's been several weeks since we saw A Star Is Born and I still listen to the soundtrack a few times a week. Have you seen it yet?

Next time these go on sale (which will probably be very soon), do yourself a favor and order every color. Okay, you probably don't need every color, but at least get one. They are ridiculously soft and just so comfortable to wear around the house. They fit true to size!

We're planning to do some updating to our kitchen (hopefully soon). We have a pretty good idea of what we want to do, but haven't nailed down a design yet. But this is making me want to do it right now! So beautiful.

In case you missed it on my Instagram Stories earlier this week, this tee is a great, GREAT layering tee. I first ordered it in the stripes and loved it so much, I went back to get the white and the black. I love a long tee like this to wear with leggings so that everything I want covered is covered, ya know what I mean? They fit true to size and would probably even work well with a bump, if you're pregnant! You're welcome, in advance.

Have a great weekend!


Keeping Warm with Abercrombie

Well, it's happened. I've moved my lightweight jackets to the basement closet and brought my cold weather, heavy weight jackets up to the coat closet by our front door. I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me a little bit happy. I would take cool weather over hot weather every single day of the week. I figure, you can warm up if you're cold (usually), but it's harder to cool down if you're hot. If I could find a place to live that's about 67ΒΊ and sunny during the day and about 50ΒΊ at night (and no humidity - I just want to live in a land with no humidity), I would move tomorrow. 

One of the things that I miss about living in Chicago is getting a ton of use out of a heavy parka. I loved bundling up before heading out the door on a cold day. I don't miss 30 mph winds whipping my face, but that's a separate issue. When I saw this parka from Abercrombie, I couldn't resist it. You already know my love for this pullover and this cami, so it makes sense that I would move onto outerwear. I love that classic parka-style that it has with the big pockets, warm hood and extra length in the back. It also has a removable faux fur vest and hood-lining, which I love. I like that there are options when it comes to how I want to wear it. I've been truly impressed with the quality and longevity of the other things that I've purchased from Abercrombie over the last year or two. I've found their fit to be spot on, which makes it really easy to shop with them online. They offer pieces that can easily be incorporated into my wardrobe and fill some holes that I have. They have so many good New Arrivals right now, too!


I thought it would be fun to show two different ways that I would wear this parka - one as a classic parka and the other with the removable vest. I styled the vest with a close-fitting henley top and this beautiful scarf. I can see it being something that I'd wear to a casual holiday party, especially because of the pop of red in the scarf!

Skinny Jeans (wearing normal size) | Flannel Shirt (wearing S) | Parka (wearing XS) | Scarf 

Thanks to Abercrombie for partnering on this post!

Getting Our Home Guest Ready

One of the many things that I loved about our new home when we first walked in was the fact that we could have a proper guest bedroom. With almost all of our family and many of our friends living out of town, the prospect of being able to comfortably host them on visits was exciting! There are two bedrooms in our home (besides the master), so we opted to turn the smaller of the two into the space for guests. Because it's pretty tight, we knew that furnishing it would need to be creative and simple. I wanted to choose pieces that served multiple purposes, both in the room and within the rest of our home.

I was able to create a functional and beautiful nightstand setup in our guest bedroom with ease thanks to Walmart! When I first started browsing their home section, I was truly impressed by the options and the value. I came across some really cool pieces, like this lamp, and couldn't believe my eyes. It quickly became clear to me that I would be able to put together something that I loved without breaking the bank or sacrificing quality, both of which are important to me! One of the best parts about shopping online is their "shop by style" feature where you can choose your home style (or what you think your home style is) and shop for any room in your house. This feature is especially helpful if you're someone that struggles with creating a cohesive look and flow to your room or home. They take the work out of it for you as soon as you click on the category that you like most! (No surprise, my favorite categories are mid-century and industrial.) The best part? Shipping is free on orders over $35 - no membership required. I received everything within one week, too!

When it came to picking out a piece to use as a nightstand, one of the first things that came to mind was a bar cart. I like finding a different use for a piece like that - I think it adds interest to a room and also adds value to the piece of furniture! When something can serve more than one distinct purpose, it's good to have around. While it is totally functional as a nightstand, I can also pull it out of the room and use it to house drinks or food while entertaining, as extra shelving in my office, or as storage in a bathroom. I then picked out a few decorative pieces that are on the modern side to finish the styling - I love that I can switch out the florals/greens in that beautiful vase as the seasons change!

Once I start decorating for the holidays, I'm picturing the cart wrapped with some pretty twinkle lights, a couple bottle brush trees and a chunky throw blanket added to it. 

If you're in the market for home decor, I recommend starting here!  

Bar Cart | Lamp Base | Lamp Shade | Throw Blanket | Throw Pillow | Vase | Marble Tray | Succulent


Thanks to Walmart for partnering on this post!