12 Days of Gift Ideas - Day 4 Gifts for the Mom with littles at home

Is there a Mom with littles on your gift list?  Take a look at my best gift ideas for her.  Moms with littles don't have much time for themselves and are often taking care of others.  They rarely spend time or money on doing something just for them and the holidays is a great time to ensure they do.  

Take a look at my best ideas:

Here's the run down beginning with the idea in the center - time.  Give her the gift of your time.  Whether it be babysitting (she chooses where), running her errands for her, taking her to coffee (or happy hour) time with a friend is a special gift.  Yes !  make the "coupon" for this!!

Up next, flowers.  Do you have a florist in your area that will set up a subscription for flowers?  If you do, take advantage of this.  Otherwise I suggest Bouqs.  You can purchase all different sorts of subscriptions and types of flowers for the Mom.  As I say with all subscriptions, it's a reminder for the recipient every time they receive a delivery, of your friendship.  With flowers, I think it makes the reminder just a little sweeter.  

If we are going clockwise, the next 3 are all to help her take time for her, even if it's just a little.  I believe a manicure can work wonders on your soul.  As a Mom with littles that hasn't been able to wash her hair in 3 days to know at least your nails look great can be the "win" of the day!  (no, really).  It isn't always possible to leave the house to do this so a manicure set for home makes a great alternative.  She may not get to it until midnight, but time away in a beautiful bath can be life-saving - a gift from Lush will ensure that happens.  It's one of those treats you don't often buy for yourself so as a gift it's that much more special.  Help her make time for herself by gifting her a spa treatment of some sort at a great spa close to her.  My favorite here in Grand Rapids is Wanderlux.  Whether you think she needs a facial or perhaps brows or even lashes, this makes a great gift and again, something she wouldn't buy herself. 

Last on the list but certainly not least - a meal service would be great!  I mean they all need to eat, right?  This is a great idea for the Mom that loves to cook and the Mom that doesn't.  All fresh, healthy ingredients that can be prepared in little time on her schedule.  I think this gift is in part, the gift of time as well. 

There is nothing wrong with a candle or a sweater or even a bottle of perfume but I think the gift ideas here will be a little less expected from the Mom of littles and that's part of the fun of giving, right??

Happy Shopping!

12 Days of Gift Ideas - Day 3 Gifts for the Beauty Lover

Beginning in the center and moving clockwise:

No matter the extent of the beauty lover's inventory - she can always use new bags for her stuff!  Whether you choose the standard make-up bag, perhaps a lipstick bag (smaller), a travel bag (larger) or an entire set, you can't go wrong.  The collection pictured is the Orla Kiely collection from Target.

Want to try your luck at buying actual make-up?  An eyeshadow palette like the Two Faced Peach Palette would be a great idea.  The quality of the palette is great and the color variety is beautiful - something for almost everyone.

Probably my favorite gift --- a better take on a gift card (in my opinion) is the gift of a spa service or treatment from a spa or salon in the beauty lovers area.  The spa shown here is my favorite here in West Michigan, Wanderlux Beauty and Wellness Company.  Wanderlux offers facials and other treatments as well as all levels of eyebrow services and eyelashes.  A gift that includes pampering can never be a bad idea.  

Up next is the practical gift in this menagerie of gifts.  It's a make-up brush drying stand.  Every beauty lover should have at least one of these.  I actually have this one and I love it.  Best part?  When you're done using it just take it apart for easy storage. 

Beauty starts on the inside and I love Bobbi Brown's new book that encompasses all that is beauty.  A great twist on a beauty gift for the beauty lover, don't you think?

Last on the list are two different ideas from one company.  If you've followed my blogs or my youtube channel, you already know, I love subscription services as gifts.  Birchbox is the ultimate service for the beauty lover.  Birchbox curates boxes that have better than sample, sizes of all kinds of beauty products.  The recipient completes a profile to better make the box for them which is awesome.  You could choose a one time holiday box from the holiday collection or choose a 3-month subscription box for a little more fun.  In addition, there is also birchbox for men!  Either way, you can't go wrong with this!

Gifting for the beauty lover doesn't have to be difficult and you don't have to resort to the obvious gift card.  Look no further than one of these awesome gift ideas for the one who loves beauty. 

 

Happy Shopping

12 Days of Gift Ideas - Day 2 - The Book Lover

Today's gift ideas are all about the book lover or I guess you could also say the "one who loves to read".  I love giving gifts and what I love more than the giving is choosing something that the person quite possibly wouldn't buy for themselves.  I also love to do the unexpected when I can.  For the book lover it would be so easy to either buy them books or buy them a gift card for books but not today.  Here are some great ideas that go beyond the book ...

Starting from the top right and going clockwise - 

Personal Library Kit - it includes everything the book lover needs for their own library. Included in the kit are adhesive pockets for the front of each book along with "check out " cards and a date stamp.   Many lovers of books like to share their collection with fellow readers but don't always get the item returned to them.  This helps to ensure the book will come back to its owner.  

Next up is a reading journal.  Much like the foodie journal from yesterday's list, this is a journal for a reader to track all the different books they read.  It's a great way not only to document what they've read but a better way for them to share the love of the books as well.  

The third item may be slightly controversial - it's an e-reader. In this case, the Kindle.  I know I know, some true book lovers think the e-reader is just plain wrong.  Others would argue the e-reader is easier for travel, reading at night, and for preserving the condition of the book lover's collection.  Either way - here it is.

Speaking of reading in bed, next is the book light.  If you are going to read in bed, on a train, in a car, anywhere in the dark, really, you will need a book light.  A true book light like the one pictured will focus on the book and not be annoying or distracting to others, hopefully. 

Want to gift something different for the book lover?  How about the next couple of ideas?  First, hand crafted coasters for the book lover direct from Etsy.  Again, something different but still shows the person you know they love books. 

Along with the coasters, is a candle.  This one said to have the scent of old books.  What true book lover wouldn't love that.  I might suggest the candle with the Kindle - similar to burning a spruce scented candle while admiring your artificial tree I say!  

Lastly is a book tote.  Whether your book lover travels to the library or travels in general, with books a tote is always a good idea.  Bonus on this tote? - It's a collab with Sarah Jessica Parker so if your book lover is also a fashionista - well you've struck gold!

All these ideas are easy to purchase, available in a variety of price ranges and go beyond the ordinary for gifting to the book lover.  Have fun choosing what's just right!  

Happy Shopping!

 

12 Days of Gift Ideas - Day 1 - The Foodie

It is December 13th and whether you are shopping for Christmas gifts or another holiday you are celebrating, I have some great ideas coming your way.  Today is all about the foodie in your life.  You know, that person who is all about the food.  The food you cook, where to eat, where to order out, etc. 

The usual gift cards don't have to be your only option for the foodie.  How about something special like a subscription to a favorite food of theirs, like say bacon?  Here is my short list:

From the top clockwise, here is a short description of each item.  (As you can see above, you can click directly on the description below the picture and be directed to the site of each gift. )

The first gift is from mouth.com.  You can choose either a preselected gift box similar to the box shown here, or you have the option of creating your own box.  There are some really unusual options on this site that you won't find everywhere, that's why this is one of my favs.  

Next - you create a gift basket.  This particular basket is from Cost Plus World Market.  I think it's fun to go to a store such as Cost Plus, grab what you want to use for the "basket" and fill it with unique items that you know your foodie will love.  When you create a basket like this you determine exactly what goes in the basket and how much it's going to cost.  The biggest difference I see between you doing it yourself and having someone like Mouth do it is the shipping.  If you order the basket you can ship directly to your foodie, no trips to the UPS or Post Office outlet for you!

I LOVE subscription services!  I think they are such a thoughtful gift.  Whether you do a year or a one-time gift, when it arrives your foodie will be reminded of how thoughtful you are.  This subscription is for the chocolate lover you know.  It's from chococurb.  You have many options for purchasing, I love options!!

Next up, another subscription...this one...bacon!!  Zingerman's (zingermans.com) is one of my favorite go to mail order companies for anything food.  I chose the bacon club for the foodie here, but there are many many options on the Zingerman's site you can choose from with many different pricing levels.  Zingerman's is based in Ann Arbor and I must say, their customer service is AWESOME!  

Last on the list are two boxes for perhaps the male foodie because they are from mancrate.com!  Shown here is the Morning Glory Crate and the Bacon Crate.  What I love about each of these crates is first - they are unique.  Second - they are so creatively packaged, and third you again have so many choices here.  

I think for the foodie you know it's so easy to "gift card out" because you aren't sure if you can meet their foodie standards but don't fall so quick!  Take a look at the fun options here and choose one just right for the foodie in your life!  Now, check them off your list and on to the next...

Happy Shopping !!

It's the little things...

Lately, with everything going on in this crazy world sometimes I wonder what to share that won't seem trivial or unimportant.  At the same time, though, I find myself wanting to share some small things that I hope will inspire and help to make a small difference for you in your everyday life.  Whether it be the clothes you are wearing, the way your hair is styled or other aspect of your appearance, I believe it all impacts how you will go about your day in all this craziness.  

2 of the "big" little things for me:

There are 2 things that make a huge difference for me.  One is my faith.  For me, spending time alone with God each day important for me.  I encourage you to do the same in whatever way that makes sense for you and your beliefs.  This is what is most grounding to me. Two - is time with a friend.  There is something about time spent with a true friend that I believe, has a lasting impact on both of you.  I encourage you to figure out a way to make this work, often.  

Here are some of my favorite little things:

1)  Get your brows done.  I recently had a procedure on my brows - not microblading - for me no thank you.  I had my brows mapped, tinted, and arched (I think that's it).  I believe your brows really do frame your face.  There is something about them that when done well, really stand out.  I love what I had done.  It makes me feel better on make-up free days.  On those days when I am wearing make-up there is something about them already "set" that I love.  Of course I do believe this needs to be done by a pro, at least to start.  I went to a beautiful place (https://wanderluxbeauty.com/).  Seek a reputable salon/spa with great reviews to have this done.  If you want an extra treat - maybe a facial or lashes????

2)  Get a manicure.  Whether you like a dark polish, gel polish, french manicure, or acrylic nails doesn't matter.  Maybe just a simple pale nail.  Well manicured hands and nails are a necessary accessory.  Don't want to spend the money to go to a salon?  Do a simple manicure at home.  Clear, polished nails are just as lovely as colored nails.  

3)  Go window shopping for inspiration.  I know this sounds like you could do it from home on your computer, but please don't.  Set aside a bit of time and seek some inspiration (and maybe even respite) from a trip to a couple of your favorite stores.  Better yet, go to a store you love but don't normally shop at.  Take time to notice displays and the way the clothing is organized to find some inspiration.  Take note of at least one thing in your own wardrobe you would like to style differently before heading out.  Look for inspiration for that piece.  It's important you treat this like a visit and not a shopping trip.  You aren't supposed to buy on this trip :).

4)  Wear your hair different.  If you typically wear your hair pulled back on the side or a ponytail or something like that, wear it down.  If you wear your hair curly most of the time, try straightening it *Ha, check the weather first*

5)  Wear the same but different.  Search your wardrobe for a piece you AL-ways wear the same way.  Stretch...and wear it differently.  Let's say you have a shirtdress you always wear with tights and boots.  Instead, try it layered with a tank underneath, button only the middle few buttons, wear it over leggings or skinny jeans with flats to give yourself a totally new feeling.

Am I saying painting your nails or wearing a dress differently will solve world problems and all your stress?  NO! of course not.  But I do believe your self-image plays a huge part in how you impact this world whether it be in the mundane day to day or in world change stuff.  I just wanted to mention a few things that might help along the way.

so...I bought this top for $5 ....

Some time ago while shopping at the outlet mall, I found this gem of a top and even better it was marked down to $4.99.  If you know me at all, you know I love a turtleneck - I don't care what season it is.  I spotted a sleeveless cotton turtleneck in a great neutral color for a great price.  At the time I didn't know how or when I would wear it first, but I did know I would wear it.  An item you purchase on sale is not a great deal unless you wear it.

On a chilly evening here in West Michigan the Mister and I were heading out for an impromptu dinner with friends.  Finally .... time to debut the top.  I paired it with my favorite Kut from the Kloth jeans, a black cardigan, and my lace up bootie sandals for the evening.  My accessories included my favorite "seat belt" belt, black hoop earrings, and a simple drop necklace.  This look was casual, yet put together.  

I immediately thought of 2 additional outfits I will make with this sale gem in the weeks and months to come.  I have included pictures of all 3 outfits for you to see.  The second outfit (located top right in the photo below) is a bit more edgy.  I paired my bomber jacket, same belt and earrings, along with mules on my feet.  The shoes tie in so well.  There is a textured leather band that goes across the top of the foot while portion covering the toe box is a beautiful smooth leather.  In the last look (located bottom right in the photo below) I changed the bomber for a green utility jacket, paired that with neutral sandals for another casual, yet put together look.  I will add gold jewelry to this outfit to pull it all together when I wear it.  

 

I may try layering underneath this with a very light tissue tee as it cools down here in West Michigan.  I may even try a button down underneath with the collar popping out of the turtleneck and adding a black blazer over the layers to finish this look.  

I love all the options I am creating with this little bargain.  I would say $5 bucks well spent.  

I would love to hear of a bargain you bought and found several options for.  Better yet, I would love to help with one you are struggling with finding a way to wear now that you saved all that money.  Leave your bargain story in the comments !  

Friday Find

Do you ever go to estate sales?  The mister and I love to go and peruse from room to room and look at all the treasures.  If I'm being honest, I don't go just to find a treasure to buy.  I go to walk thru all the rooms and try to imagine what life was like in that house when it was full of life.  My favorites are the houses with decor still lost to the 60's or 70's.  I walk thru the rec room and I picture the evenings where the families must have gathered with friends and snacks while they played pool and board games and cards.  I make my way to the kitchen where you know meals were planned and cooked and then served and enjoyed.  I love to think about the living room where there may or may not have been a second tv (in addition to the one in the rec room).  Upstairs there is always at least one bedroom with a twin bed and matching dresser.  If it's not on the wall anymore, I can usually picture where the bulletin board was.  Maybe there even some posters from Teen Beat on the wall close to the bulletin board.  From the items for sale its easy to imagine what kind of life the owners lived.  The last sale we went to there was so much sporting equipment, for both summer and winter sports it was obvious this family was active.  The kitchen was so well stocked with cookbooks and all the best cooking equipment, many a good meal must have been enjoyed there.  The office was fully stocked with all the proper office supplies including a dictionary and the good old set of encyclopedias.  The dining room left nothing to wonder about how pretty a proper dinner would have looked like there.  Upstairs there were many treasures in the room that was obviously the master bedroom.  The lady of the house had quite the wardrobe.  Everything from proper 2 piece suiting to beautiful coats to casual wear, she was well dressed.  I know the idea of the sale is for people to come in and make purchases and buy all the stuff so the house is then empty and ready for sale.  I can't help but feel a little sad when we leave.  

This time I did find this treasure though.  Again, I find myself imagining where this purse was carried and how she wore it.  I hope to enjoy it for as long as it's last owner did.  

 

Do yourself a favor, visit an estate sale.  But, take your time.  Walk thru all the rooms, imagine the lives well lived there.  Hopefully on the way out you will find a treasure too.  If you do, I'd love to hear about it. 

Mid-Season Check-In

We are nearing the end of July now.  For most of us that means summer is more than halfway over.  Now is the perfect time to take a look at your wardrobe and truly see how it is working for you.  Make changes NOW - this will help as you make your way not only thru the rest of this season but also, as you pack away summer and pull out early fall in just a short time.  I have 5 easy steps for you :) :

1)  Evaluate - It's time to go thru your clothing including your accessories and shoes.  What is working and what isn't.  What have you truly not worn all season that is just taking up valuable wardrobe real estate?  What has stains, non-repairable issues, lost it's shape, etc. ?  What doesn't fit anymore?  (Don't spend too long on this one, really!)  If it doesn't fit or equally important, you don't like the way it fits, time to go. Do you have pieces that you have worn so much you are sick of them?   If you have items that once were white and are not anymore or items that were once black and now a shade closer to gray, time to say good-bye.  Which leads me to step 2...

2)  Eliminate - Whatever didn't make the cut from step 1 needs to get out of not only your closet, but your house!  If you keep it there for too long it's likely to creep back in to rotation on a day of desperation.  Part of this process is deciding where it should go.  Let me say again, if it isn't in a condition you would wear it, please don't donate to an organization for the same purpose.  Some non-profits do however, take clothing classified as rags and they can get money for this.  Check at your favorite donation site before you drop off.  Now, to step 3.

3)  Donate- Choose a non-profit organization that best fits you and your beliefs and donate your gently used clothing and accessories to them.  Do it soon so they still have time to get to those people that need it the most.  If you have some almost-same-as-new pieces you would like to consign you may be best served to clean and pack away neatly until early next year for a fresh consignment drop off.  Many consignment stores, like retail stores, are gearing up for fall now.  Your best return on investment will be next year.  

4)  Create - Take a look at the "survivors" of your first step.  Now is a great time to create new ways to wear the pieces you are keeping so your wardrobe feels refreshed.  It's also a great time to begin thinking about which pieces will roll over to the early fall transition period when the temps are so unpredictable.  

5)  Shop.  I know I know.  I was on a roll with the lingo but there isn't a word in the same sound series of evaluate, eliminate, donate, create that means buy new stuff :)  This is a great time of year to stock up on not only basics such as tshirts and tanks, but it's also a great time to purchase early fall pieces as well.  There are a million blog posts and videos about shopping the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale so I certainly didn't need to do one.  Nordstrom and other retailers offer you a sneak peek and purchase time right now to buy new fall goods at a reduced price or percentage off.  This is a great time to add things like denim, boots, coats, sweaters, and other pieces essential to fall regardless of trends.  At the same time, summer merchandise is mostly on sale right now as well.  It's a great time to pick up things like white tshirts, other basic tshirts, tanks, camis, etc. at a reduced price.  Wear them now thru the end of the season or pack away for next year.  

In all fairness, I must say fall is my favorite season of the year.  Not only for the colors and the weather, but for the clothing.  I may be a little extra excited to begin planning my fall closet.  Personal favorites aside, this is the best point in the season to evaluate your wardrobe and begin looking ahead.  It will make you feel so much better when September arrives.  

I would love to hear if you do this and how it goes for you.  If you have questions, don't hesitate to contact me, I would love to hear from you. 

Friday Find

Some of my favorite things were all combined this past weekend.  One of my favs from my family came to visit.  We went shopping.  We discovered a new local boutique together.  In a week where it's even more important to celebrate women I chose something I bought from the boutique as my Friday Find.  

The name of the boutique is Adored.  It's located on Cherry Street here in Grand Rapids.  Here is what the boutique is all about directly from the Adored website (www.adoredboutique.com).  The boutique carries clothing, accessories, shoes and more.  But today's find is all about the necklace I found.  

Here is a pic of the necklace alone and one of me wearing it (along with Stu).

The necklace is from a company called Mend on the Move.  (www.mendonthemove.org).  The jewelry is made from left over car parts by "women who have survived abuse and found the courage to begin again".

What I love:  

  1. Obviously the company that made it and the mission of the company 
  2. The same of the store where I purchased it- Adored Boutique
  3. Both are local to Michigan
  4. The necklace itself is  a simple, delicate piece so there are so many options of how to wear it.  Whether layered with other pieces or worn alone I have soooo many options.  The metal is neither gold or silver which, for me, means I can mix with all!  
  5. The price - under $30 
  6. So many reasons why this is the best Friday Find in a long time.  

What are some of your favorite things this Friday ???  

 

 

Friday Find

This week I received my latest Fab Fit Fun box, the Summer Box to be exact.  If you aren't familiar with Fab Fit Fun - it is a subscription service in which you can either purchase the box each quarter or sign up for a year.  I do not currently subscribe to any other service and as you probably know, there is basically a subscription for just about anything you can imagine.  I love Fab Fit Fun because it contains a bit of everything (as you will see below) from skincare to jewelry to fitness (even things I use).  It gives me a chance to try things I probably would not normally purchase.  The best part to me?  -  the retail value of the box is always considerably more than the cost of the box.  This is a box containing full size products - no small samples here!  

Here is a peek inside the Summer Box

Included was the Avene sunscreen, Cargo HD bronzer, Michael Stars Sarong, BKR water bottle, Juice Beauty Smoothing Eye Concentrate, Klorane Dry Shampoo, *Himalayan Pink Salt kit, and the moonstone necklace.  I am so pleased with this box!  So far, of the products to try, I have only tried the Klorane dry shampoo and the bronzer.  I did an unboxing video of the box on my Youtube channel (http://bit.ly/2sG50Of) and immediately swatched the bronzer and sprayed the shampoo.  I love the bronzer!  Even for my pale skin, it's perfect.  The dry shampoo - when I sprayed it on my hand it appeared to be clear and I was sooooo excited.  The next day I actually applied to my hair...and argh ...it's white!  For dark hair, I don't like it and I have to say I am a little bummed.  I have already worn the necklace, which I love.  The Michael Stars is listed ass a sarong but I will wear it mostly as a scarf and I love it! I am already using the water bottle and I am loving it.  I enjoy the color and I like the fact that the bottle is glass.  It's the perfect size to carry with me the day.  The pink salt kit and the moonstone necklace have  an asterisk because they were part of the items that you could pre-select.  For one of the selections you were asked to choose if you were best described as a chef, a traveler, or an artist.  It was tough for me to decide between chef or traveler.  I ultimately chose chef.  For a small charge I could have had both, but do I need both?? Not really.  The moonstone necklace - you could choose the color or be surprised.  I chose the coral and I am so happy I did.  

In a world of a soooo many subscription choices I really do think this is one of the best.  In addition to being a nice surprise for yourself once every three months, I think this makes an awesome (an unexpected) gift.  

This box is an awesome Friday Find!  

Friday Find

This week's find is a simple fashion necessity.  Double sided tape should be part of your "fashion kit" regardless of your bra size.  A gap between buttons, a slipping neckline, a different cut neckline - all of these are situations that occur in daily dressing.  I have been known to create a quick substitute for the real tape in a pinch - such things as scotch tape, an attempt at hiding a safety pin, a misplaced broach have all been quick fixes for me.  This type of "Macgyvering" is never a good idea.  

I typically purchase my tape from Amazon so imagine my delight when on a Target run recently I discovered this tape (along with some other great items for the fashion kit) on a side display in the beauty section :).  The cost was less than $10 and I didn't have to wait for it to arrive.  

When I searched online for the same package I could not find it at Target.com which leads me to believe it is only in the stores at this point.  There is another dress tape available but in tape reel form as opposed to this awesome travel case version.  http://bit.ly/2sxyEqP  

I have tried it only on one fabric so I will keep you posted on how it performs.  Regardless of which brand or type, you should have a fashion double sided tape in your kit.  

What are some must-haves you keep in your fashion kit??