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 😉) 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!