Holiday Gifting: Teens

To me, teens are always the hardest group to shop for. Sometimes, it comes down to budget, sometimes lack of ideas, and sometimes I have no recollection of what I would have wanted as a teenager. Plus, I mean, they have so much more technology than we did!

In each of our guides, I’ve talked about gifting based on what you think that person really wants and wouldn’t gift themselves. I don’t particularly enjoy gifting money, but I do remember as a teenager always loving having my own money and I do know my nephews appreciate hard cold cash more than any gift I would give them at this point.

No. 1 A Lumee phone case, this one is doublesided with lights for ultimate photo taking // No. 2 The ONLY way I’m gifting $$$ this year! If we are giving money, we are giving it in a creative way & I love these can safes. // No. 3 Create Your Life notebook, for those cerebral teens & soon-to-be-graduates // No. 4 Headphone earmuffs (you can also find headphone beanies for the fellas) // No. 5 Lightbox // No. 6 Sugarfina treats // No. 7 Polaroid instant print camera! I might need to add this to my own wishlist // No. 8 Sonos compact speaker

Dear Santa

For me, the key to gifting is picking an item you wouldn’t expect the recipient to treat themselves to. Maybe it’s a more extravagant item, maybe a little outside of their spending comfort zone (ya know, I don’t looooove to spend $35 on lipgloss for myself, but my best friend? You bet!). This approach helps you to select an item you know they’ll love and really feel the thought that you put into it.

After all, it’s the thought that counts, isn’t it?

This year, my letter to Santa has a little bit of everything, from beauty to clothes to accessories to my favorite pan I cannot live without (so I obviously need a second one).

No. 1 Dyson hairdryer // No. 2 Ruffle blouse // No. 3 My favorite All Clad pan (similar)- total workhorse in my kitchen and I would just love love love to have a second one // No. 4 A subscription to Magnolia Journal because JoJo is my homegirl // No. 5 A cozy pair of slippers // No. 6 A pretty scarf in neutral colors // No. 7 The Waterford New Years Ornament I ask “Santa” aka “Hubby” for every year // No. 8 Fittingly the iPhone 8 – you don’t even want to see my phone screen right now…// No. 9 Burberry lippy in military red // No. 10 A new pair of black flats, because the pup ate my good pair.

Holiday Gifting: The Gentlemen

I can’t even tell you how much fun I have picking out gifts for Hubby. Al doesn’t really buy himself much throughout the year, and if he does it’s more related to a hobby, like a new golf club or new kicks for the gym. Christmas is my time to shower him with love, and some things I know he’ll really appreciate, but would never buy for himself.

One gift not on this list that was a huge hit from last year was two nights in Washington DC and dinner at our favorite restaurant. I picked a weekend, booked a hotel, and made a reservation for us – it was the perfect, thoughtful gift, and something I knew we would both really enjoy. It would go perfectly in the duffel bag below!

No. 1 A sharp looking fleece // No. 2 A leather watch, because he has a dressy steel one, but he neeeeds a casual leather watch! // No. 3 The Nest thermostat, which he received last year and LOVES – big hit! // No. 4 Bose noise cancelling (wireless) headphones // No. 5 A beer making kit – who doesn’t love a new hobby?! // No. 6 For his nicest of bourbons (Pair with a nice bottle of his favorite liquor for a brother or father or father in law gift!) // No. 7 A duffel bag – for a quick weekend getaway // No. 8 A more fashionable pair of sunglasses – don’t ask 😉

Holiday Gifting: The Hostess

There is an etiquette saying, “always ring the door with your elbow.” I love this sentiment, especially around the holidays – it’s meant to say that you should always go to a friend or family’s home with your arms full.

Bringing hostesses a little something for themselves is one of my favorite gifting opportunities. It’s a way to show how grateful you are to that person for having you in their home and for the gift of their time. It doesn’t have to be a big or expensive gesture, and often something you love is the perfect gift – they’ll think of you whenever they see it!

No. 1 Potholder set // No. 2 Pretty gold bluetooth speaker // No. 3 Pine scented dish soap & lotion // No. 4 Sweet little honeypot // No. 5 Rewined candles – champagne is THE BEST scent // No. 6 Rosemary trees – Trader Joe’s has them! // No. 7 A beautiful ornament – my FAVORITE gift to receive // No. 8 A light box // No. 9 Gold mixing bowl set // No. 10 Your favorite home made cookies in a pretty jar

Holiday Gifting: The Ladies

We’re kicking off our gifting week with gifts for the ladies! From big to small, there are so many great gifts for women to really make them feel special, which is always my goal in gifting to the women in my life. I think these ideas are perfect for everyone from your mom to your best friend to your wifey.

If you’re like me and not that into gifting cash for the holidays, I have two simple tips when thinking about gifts for the ladies (which really works for everyone):

  1. Think about what she’s really into (does she love to get her hair blown out, go for manicures, take photos, cook?)
  2. What would she probably not buy for herself, but still love to receive?

No. 1 A luxe bag in a neutral color to be worn year round // No. 2 Gloves with an extra special detail, like a sweet bow // No. 3 A beautiful pot for her kitchen // No. 4 The fresh sugar lip suite – I love these, want to try them all, but just can never bring myself to buy them for me // No. 5 A beautifully designed aromatherapy diffuser // No. 6 Fun and trendy earrings in a seasonal color // No. 7 Treats from Sugarfina // No. 8 Cozy slippers in a neutral color to go with all her favorite pj’s


it’s here: bootie weather

bootie weather is finally upon us! well for me at least, because i tend to not wear booties until it’s cold enough for long sweaters. this season i’m all about stocking up on a neutral pair of booties with a shorter heel. it’s a little more casual, more comfortable and it will match more outfits than, say, a 5 inch heel will.

are you ready for booties, cold weather and hot cider?!

bootie weather
aldo, $140 | jcrew, $278 | target, $35 | gap, $90 | sole society, $90



kitchen essentials: the perfect chef’s knife

if you have to have a bare-bones kitchen for whatever reason, there are few things you truly need – a baking sheet, a sautee pan, a sauce pot, a non-wood cutting board and a good knife. read: you don’t necessarily need a set of knives, but just one really good one that becomes your best friend. as your chef-like abilities grow, you’ll add fancier things, like grating planes and marble cutting boards and a whole slew of knives; one thing will always remain – your trusty chef knife.

forget those knives that claim to cut through pennies – i mean, who is really cutting through pennies anyway?

this chef’s knife from victorinox (our friends who make the classic swiss army knife, just in case you don’t know) is the only knife you’ll ever need, and the one that will be by your side from your first day in the kitchen with your basic recipes through that piece de resistance.

one of the most beautiful things about this knife? it’s price point. $38 for this bad boy!

so if you don’t believe me, you can check out this chart from cook’s illustrated & pick up your own copy for a great review about chef’s knives and their 2 month test to find the best bargain buy chef’s knife. i was just SO excited to see MY favorite knife there i had to tell you guys to go out and get one for yourself.

cooks illustrated, best chefs knives, swiss army knife, victorinox knife

note – this knife has the highest ratings possible for blade design, handle, kitchen tasks, and edge retention.

hair care essentials

i recently tried some new products that i wanted to share with you all. i don’t normally do product reviews but i love these products i’ve been using so i figured, hey why not?!

just a few things to know – i have highlighted hair so i have to be conscious about the products that i use and i have very thick hair that takes forever to dry.

hair care essentials

1. l’oreal color vibrancy. i LOVE this shampoo & conditioner. highly recommend. i usually use salon shampoo & conditioner because drugstore brands typically dry my hair out. this absolutely does not and you should try it if you are looking for a better shampoo that has an accessible price point.

2. l’oreal power moisture mask. this is awesome. i melted a patch of my hair – that’s right, melted, not burned. this is helping rehab it when nothing has been able to fix it in the past year.

3. pureology precious oil. this stuff is unbelievable. it is expensive, especially in salons. if you want to buy it use the link i shared earlier here – it is half off on amazon. just a tiny dot and your hair will be shiny and smooth. it’s the best hair oil i’ve ever used. just be mindful that if you put it on your roots – it may make your hair look greasy. also, use half a dot if you have thin or fine hair.

4. T3 bodywaver curling iron. this is the 1.75″ version. i have shoulder length hair and like the way this gives a little bit bigger wave versus a tighter curl. the bodywaver is an expensive curling iron but if you’re like me and curl your hair daily, it’s a good buy that leaves your hair nice and shiny whereas some cheaper curling irons i’ve used have not left any shine.

5. goody styling essentials round brush. you can go expensive on a brush if you want but i have been trying out different brushes lately as i recently cut 8 inches off my hair and can’t quite figure out which brush i like best. if you are going to blow out your hair straight, check out chi brushes, they’re really nice. if you want to dry your hair with loose curls make sure you opt for a brush with a wooden or plastic handle – nothing with that gel type material or anything that can grab your hair. if you have never experienced that before, just trust me on it and don’t do it. it doesn’t feel good.

6. chi hair dryer. i mean, you just can’t go wrong! if you are having a hard time working the kinks out of your hair, try upgrading your dryer, especially before you go for something like keratin.

what are your hair care essentials? i would love to hear about them!

how to wear: jogging pants

one look that has really been growing on me lately is jogging pants. you wouldn’t think they could be chic, but they definitely can. the formula is relatively simple and consistent. jogging pants + sexy pumps + moto jacket. all around, the look is clean, bare; that seems to be the magic behind the chicness of the look.


here are some of my favorite jogging pant looks…don’t they make you want to rock a pair?! (or five….)







{all images linked to sources}

ladies who brunch

i love brunch and late summer is my favorite time to host. i think brunches are so lovely and relaxed when you can be outside, especially when the weather starts to break. this weekend will be a little cooler than the 100 degree weekends we had in july so i thought it was the perfect time to host a brunch. here are a few tips on pulling off a seamless and seemingly simple brunch…

ladies who brunch

1. send an invite! it makes your event feel a little more special than a text, “hey u want 2 come ovr 4 brunch?” (ps i hope none of you really abbreviate like that). i love paperless post for this. try it out if you haven’t already.

2. cute plates! i am happy to report i do have a cabinet full of fun dishes – i like to mix things up, so i have a variety of patterns and colors that can suit any occasion. i do love these polka dot dishes from anthro. might have to pick up a few!

3. a signature drink. this is a blood orange mimosa, but bellinis are my usual go to. just peach juice and your favorite champagne!

4. a breezy dress that’s easy to throw on to run to the market first thing in the morning, but dressy enough to wear through brunch. i love this one from calypso st. barth.

5. a simple pair of sandals that will take you from those early morning errands through until clean up. don’t wear a pair that aren’t comfy! i love these simple joie sandals. i need them in every color.

6. salads. prep your ingredients the night before when possible. they are easy to eat and look so pretty on the table. try this watermelon feta salad. i love having a wheat berry salad to compliment on the side – i love the different texture and the nuttiness. ask your ladies to bring pretty pastries for a sweet treat. simple eggs and homemade bread for toast all come together for a nice light brunch!

7. cute napkins in pretty colors. or prints. or pretty paper napkins in a pretty print – what?! yes. just go the one extra step to have a pretty napkin. it can really bring the whole table together.

and 8. the tip that isn’t in the picture, but it is. stick with a certain color palette. you can let your invite lead you! if your invite has red, try to pull that color through your event, even in little ways. accentuate it with complimenting colors. be sure your food is bright – nobody likes a dull colored brunch, everything you taste with your eyes just feels blah!

be sure to share your tips in the comments and feel free to tweet/instagram/email me pictures of your brunch! or just invite me. i know a great little pastry shop…