Saturday, December 28, 2019

My Favorite Products of 2019

Early in December my best friends and I took a quick girls weekend trip to get away together. One of the most fun topics of discussion was our favorite things. We discussed our "can't live without it" items, and it was so interesting to hear what everyone's were. This led me to think about my favorite buys this year. What have I loved most, been most glad I purchased, or has made my life better/easier? I rounded up my 14 favorites for you (in no particular order) as we close out 2019!

1. Jo Malone Perfume - I've long heard about how amazing Jo Malone scents are, and when I finally tried them I had to agree. On that same girls' trip I purchased a set of two travel sized fragrances - my favorite way to buy perfume. I don't really stick with one scent long enough to buy an entire bottle, so I usually just pick a little travel one to start off with. It's cheaper and I don't waste any. I liked this one because it was a combo of my two favorite scents - Wood Sage and Sea Salt (I like wearing it this time of year) and Peony and Blush Suede (it's more of a summer scent).

2. White Keurig - I got this for Christmas last year and really, really love it. I had a full size black Keurig before and it was so bulky. We kept it in the pantry to keep it out of sight. I love having this much more slim one out on the counter within easy reach, and the white finish means it's not an eyesore.

3. Leather Riding Boots - I had held off buying new leather boots for a couple years because I just couldn't find any that were quite right. I finally pulled the trigger on these and have to say I LOVE them! They're the perfect color and silhouette and always look classy. Unfortunately it looks like most sizes are sold out in the color I have, but the taupe is pretty too and is available. Hopefully they'll come back in stock soon!

4. Outdoor Lantern - One of the highlights of 2019 for us was painting the exterior of our home white (I never got it blogged, but you can see it on Instagram here). I thought about listing Sherwin Williams Extra White as one of my favorite things (which it totally is) but it makes more sense to list our new porch lantern, which is really the cherry on top. I hunted and hunted for one that was the right shape, scale and price point.

5. Gold Gallery Wall Frame - Another favorite project of 2019 was hanging a gallery wall in our upstairs hallway. It was also one of my most popular posts on Instagram, so it looks like you guys liked it too! These large gold frames are such a steal, especially if you need 12 like I did!

6 and 7. Anti-Aging Skin Care - When I hit 32 I decided it was time to take better care of my skin. I started using a popular and very expensive cream, which worked but the price was really a bit much. I did a quick Amazon search and these Tree of Life serums popped up. I figured for $20/three I could give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised that it worked just as well as the $80 cream! I've noticed such a difference in my skin since using them. I feel a lot more confident going out without make up on, I've noticed my fine lines and wrinkles have been reduced, my skin is more firm and overall just more even. I use the serums and the Ultimate Beauty Cream as a moisturizer.

8. Jade Roller - Along with the serums and cream, I started jade rolling every morning and it has made a HUGE difference. I watched a few videos of how to roll for lymphatic drainage and was surprised to see the difference in the videos in facial puffiness and lines. I'm a person who really gets puffy in my face if I sleep too little (or too much) or eat unhealthily. I can see a huge difference in one side of my face vs. the other when jade rolling, and have started doing it every morning.

9. Sublime Bronze Self Tanner - I wore this stuff from April - September every day and love how easy it was to apply and how natural it looked. I literally had people complimenting my tan and asking how I got so dark when they knew I hadn't traveled recently. I don't keep up with a tan as well in the winter but I'll start again in the spring. Love this stuff!

The Pants Trifecta
It may seem odd that I have three pairs of black pants on my list but I think I've found the pants trifecta haha! I pretty much wear one of these three pairs and nothing else.

10. LuLu Lemon Dupe Leggings - These are my absolute favorite yoga pants/leggings. They are a dupe of the LuLu Lemon Align pants and they are so flattering and comfortable. They smooth everything out without being too tight, have a high waist and can be dressed up or down.

11. Butter Pants - These are actually the Lou & Grey for Loft Signature Softblend Sweats but they've gotten a cult following that has renamed them the Butter Pants, and for good reason. They are the softest pants I've ever put on. Just SO comfy. And many people swear they wear them to work with a blouse and flats and no one even knows. I haven't been brave enough for that yet but you can find me wearing them pretty much any other time.

12. Old Navy Stevie Pants - These dressy ponte leggings are what I wear with everything if I'm not in athleisure. They are super comfortable, flattering, nice and thick, and have a high waist. I have them in two colors and plan to get more. Just don't put them in the dryer, but otherwise they're the perfect pant!

13. Shark Rotator Lift Away Vacuum - You know you're really an adult when a vacuum is one of your favorite things haha! But with two little kids who make it necessary to vacuum pretty much every day, this thing has been life changing. My favorite part is probably the light on the front - it helps so much to see all the little crumbs that need to be picked up. I also love how easy it is to switch to the wand with just a push of a button (which also has a light on the front). It was a great investment for sure!

14. Vintage-Look Rug - I finally pulled the trigger on a new living room rug and I have to say I really, really love it. It has transformed the space and made it much easier for the kids to play on the floor (before we had a not-very-comfy jute rug). The print is so beautiful and the muted colors are gorgeous. It's the LoLoi Loren Rug but I got it here for so much less than most places.

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Monday, December 2, 2019

Gift Guide 2019: Baby & Toddler Boys

I usually love all things girly but since having a little boy it's been so fun to pick things out just for a little man. We have many of the items on this guide, and I hope the little guy on your list will love them!

1 - Rocking Horse - This is so similar to the vintage one we've had in both nurseries, and I get so many questions on it I always direct people to this sweet, simple white one.
2 - Metal Ride on Car - An all-time favorite! So classic and chic!
3 - Rocking Chair - On my own wish list for Evan. I love this timeless style!
4 - Skipit Pup - From my favorite baby and kids brand Bunnies By the Bay - we have Skipit and he's one of our favorites! He perches on top of Evan's shelves.
5 - Wood Ball Toy - We have a similar toy and it's been a favorite through both kids.
6 - Bunny Pull Toy - Such a classic toy he'll love at many stages.
7 - Striped Pajamas - I love this line by Hanna Andersson for Amazon.
8 - Illustrated Nesting Blocks - One of our all-time favorite toys at many ages. Kids love to stack them up and knock them down, and they're great for teaching letters and numbers. The illustrations are by my favorite children's book author Emily Winfield Martin and just too beautiful.
9 - Shopping Cart- Another of our all-time most played with toys at many ages. You can't go wrong with a classic like this.
10 - Train Music Box - This will be waiting under the tree for Evan. What a sweet and fun keepsake!
11 - Anywhere Chair - My kids fight over ours! Santa is bringing a second so they each have a place to sit!
12 - Wood Train - I love this classic blue and natural wood train! Reminds me of our now-sold-out Pottery Barn one. Glad there's now a similar one available!
13 - Skipit Book - One of Evan's favorite books! Another Bunnies by the Bay goodie.
14 - Slide - We have this and LOVE it! Evan plays for hours and I love that it folds up so I can store it in a closet.
15 - Rain Boots - Yep, we have these too. So cute and a great price!
16 - Wood Xylophone - Great for babies and toddlers to make their own music
17 - Play House Tent - So sweet! It's hard to find cute boy play houses, so this one is great!
18 - Castle Dollhouse - I've had my eye on this since last summer! The price point is incredible. I love the natural wood but you could also paint it.
19 - Wagon - Don't you love this pretty wagon? It would be so useful for so many outings.

Need more gift ideas? See the 2019 Gift Guide for Her and for Little Girls


Thursday, November 28, 2019

Christmas Gift Guide 2019: Little Girls

One of my favorite guides to put together each year is the one for little girls! Since I have my own little girl, it's fun to include some things she loves, some things she wants, and a few things I dream of getting her. I hope it helps you give the little lady in your life just what she'll love!

1 - Bun Bun Book - This is Lexie's current favorite book and it's by my favorite baby/kids brand, Bunnies by the Bay. Everything they make is perfectly charming and keepsake-worthy. This darling book has the most gorgeous illustrations and the sweetest story about a girl whose beloved bunny goes missing. Really you can't go wrong with anything from Bunnies by the Bay!
2 - Ollie Ella Suitcase - The most darling pint-sized suitcase great for travel or play. We're gifting Lexie this pink one and Evan the mint one to go with their big gift this year - a trip to Disney World. They'll be traveling in style!
3 - Baby Doll Stroller - This is one of our most-played with toys at multiple ages and stages. And when friends come over they love it too. I love that it's neutral so I don't mind having it out on our main floor.
4 - Bow Scrunchie Set - These are so pretty! Lexie has some similar ones and any time she wears them it immediately makes any outfit look special and sweet. So easy just to slip them on a busy toddler or little girl so you don't have to mess with a clip in bow.
5 - Kids Camera - Lexie received this one for her birthday and it's been a hit! I love that she can be creative and express herself and she just thinks it's fun to snap her very own photos.
6 - Frozen 2 Costume - Have you seen Frozen 2 yet? We LOVED it! There's tons of merch out there, but this dress up dress is a great price and a fun way to keep the movie magic going.
7 - Paris Paper Dolls - I've been wanting to get Lexie a set of paper dolls for a while now. I have fond memories of playing with them as a kid, and we really love low-tech toys like this that help her use her imagination. The illustrations on this set are so cute!
8 - Pastel Dot Markers - I've heard such great things about these fun markers! Craft supplies are always a hit around here.
9 - Ballerina Mouse - A charming friend in a pretty tutu.
10 - Music Box - Little girls love a place to stash their treasures, and a sweet music box is such a special gift.
11 - Pink Hunter Boots - Our favorites! Currently on sale!
12 - Play Coffee Maker - She loves to make coffee just like mommy does every morning. Another toy we've played with at many stages (Evan loves it too).
13 - Play Tent - This sweet tent is only $18! I think kids of just about any age think crawling in and out of a tent and playing fort is completely magical.
14 - Tea Party Game - Lexie got this for her birthday and it has been both she and my favorite toy over the last few months. It's such a sweet game that's fun for both of us to play.

PS - for more ideas you can check out last year's little girl gift guide as well!


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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

2019 Christmas Gift Guide: Girlfriends

It's my favorite time of the year - gift guide time! I know there are a million of them these days so I'm humbled and honored you'd take the time to look at and potentially shop through mine. I really do spend so much time thinking about what to share. Things that are curated, thoughtful, budget-conscious but still special. I think the best gifts are unique items that are fun to have but you wouldn't necessarily buy yourself - little splurges and indulgences. So here are my picks for all the ladies on your list (yourself, friends, co-workers, hostesses, etc.)

1- Rattan Serving Spoons - I think these would be especially great for a hostess and they go with just about any style of dishware
2 - Scalloped Raffia Basket - This is just too pretty! You could even add a few smaller items to it and make it into a gift basket
3 - Philosophy Gift Set - I always love travel size perfume so you can try out a new scent, and they feel fun and indulgent to gift
4 - Gingham Sherpa Sweatshirt - This is my personal favorite thing to wear right now, and I think I'm getting one for everyone on my list. It's super soft and comfy, but the blush gingham is so much prettier than your average sweatshirt
5 - Gold Bracelets - These look so expensive but aren't!
6 - Popsockets - I LOVE my popsocket (like probably top 10 thing I can't live without) but these specialty ones in mother of pearl and tortoise are just gorgeous. An upgrade for sure!
7 - Ring Key Holder - Such a great way to hold onto your keys - just slip it over your wrist
8 - Five Year Journal - I recently saw a video of someone using theirs and it looks so fun! I never know what to write in a journal but this has one question each day you answer in a sentence or two. Sounds like an easy way to start the habit of journaling
9 - Starburst Earrings - I love dressier looks like this at the holidays
10 - Capri Blue Volcano Hand Cream - Everyone's favorite candle scent in a lotion perfect for keeping in your purse
11 - Faux Leather Weekender - I love an elevated essential, and this checks all the boxes
12 - Velvet Pouch - A luxurious place to carry cosmetics and jewelry
13 - Neck Massager - From my personal wish list. This looks amazing! And I like the white and cognac leather look, too.
14 - Ring Stack Ornament - This might be one of my favorite things on the list, just because it's so festive. It's an ornament plus a gift with a set of pretty rings inside.
15 - Pearl Knot Headbands - I have these and love them. Knot headbands immediately make your hair look "done" even without trying, and the pearl and velvet combo is perfect for the holidays.
16 - Velvet Weekender - I'm listing a second weekender just because this one is so pretty!
17 - Velvet Bow - Love these for tying in a pony any time of year
18 - Yeti Mug - I've heard great things about these. Keep your coffee hot all day!
19 - 2020 Planner - Sugar Paper is always a favorite, and this is the perfect time for a new planner
BONUS - I realized I forgot to put one item I was really excited about on the graphic - these sweatpants! They're known as butter pants because they're so incredibly soft and I hate taking them off! I'm gifting them to everyone on my list!

PS - In case you need a few more ideas, last year's girlfriends gift guide still has lots to choose from that's available this year!


Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Affordable Holiday Home Finds

I'm still in the process of decking my halls, but wanted to share some fun finds with you! Thank you to Walmart for sponsoring this post (as always all opinions are my own). Every year when I'm getting ready to pull out the Christmas decor I love to put together a few inspiration boards for how I'd like things to come together. I also love to add a few new pieces each year so everything looks collected over time. Here are some things I found and loved for this year at Walmart.

1 - flocked wreath (So affordable! Their whole Holiday Time line is really good.) | 2 - ceramic houses (love how clean and modern these are) | 3 - rosemary tree (rosemary is a favorite at Christmas, but I always kill live ones) | 4 - gold lantern | 5 - black plaid throw | 6 - faux fur pillows (really love these!) | 7- arched mirror (SO good!) | 8 - faux tree | 9 - fair aisle trees (favorite find) | 10 - felt wreath (adore this look) | 11 - gold candle holders | 12 - flocked Christmas tree | 13 - hanging bells | 14 - fabric tree set | 15 - knit pillow | 16 - plaid rug (so cute inside or layered on a porch) | 17 - black lantern 

I like to keep my decor mostly neutral at Christmas, because then it transitions more easily in the winter months. Probably my favorite find is this pair of modern cone trees in fair aisle fabric. So charming and I love the pattern! I put together an inspiration board for an entryway using them - hoping to recreate it in our own entry!

This console table reminds me a lot of the one in our living room, and I'd style it with that great arched mirror, a big gold lamp and a few more festive accents. I vase or bowl full of round ornaments is one of my favorite easy, quick ways to dress things up for the holidays. And the hanging bells work just about anywhere. I love that all of this can be found affordably at Walmart, and that they offer free 2-day shipping on orders over $35. It makes pulling everything together for the season so simple!


Saturday, November 9, 2019

A Fairy Butterfly Fourth Birthday Party

I think Lexie spent months thinking about the theme for her birthday party! She came up with just about everything under the sun - bunnies, Frozen, ballet, Lightning McQueen. Truly the things that go through four-year-olds minds are pretty great and hilarious. We thought the winner was going to be Peter Pan (the movie she watches most) but she ended up choosing the theme of Fairy Butterfly after I showed her some inspiration photos from different themes. She's probably most "into" fairies right now so it was fitting. She also begged for another all-pink party, but after three in a row of those I was craving something at least slightly different...I took a big step and took the palette a bit more purple this year : D. 

The party was so beautiful, but a bit simpler decor-wise than years past (if you can believe that). It felt very special and ethereal, but I did scale back a bit this year. Everyone's favorite part was of course the butterflies hanging from the ceiling. These were pretty easy to do (if a bit time-consuming) - just faux butterflies tied onto fishing line. I just taped each string to the ceiling.


Since we wanted to keep the party a little simpler we only invited four close friends, which allowed me to make each girl a fairy dress. I made them by tying long strips of tulle around elastic. Each friend also got a floral crown and fairy wings to complete the outfit.

My mother-in-law again made the beautiful baked goods - mushroom and butterfly cookies, mushroom-shaped cupcakes and a two-tier naked cake. She's incredible!

The butterflies on the cake are actually edible! They are the prettiest colors and went perfectly with the party - dusty purple, mauve and peachy-pink.

For the paper goods I used these beautiful amethyst watercolor plates and cups from Harlow & Grey, layered with these darling flower plates.

The centerpiece going down the table was a mix of different kinds of moss layered with mushroom figurines, ferns, fresh flowers and wood slice cake plates.

I made her invitations myself, but loved these if you're looking for something similar.

Of course Lexie was the queen fairy, in her special party dress. She had a blast!

For activities, first the girls painted paper mache wands. We had little trays filled with paints so they could pick the colors they liked, stick on jewels and ribbons to tie on. I've found simple crafts like this are always such a hit!

All the little fairies gathered around the presents were so precious!

Blowing out FOUR candles!

Last but not least they all got to make their own fairy gardens. I ordered a set of fairy garden supplies very inexpensively and got the fairy houses at Hobby Lobby. They got to take their outfits and crafts home as the party favors. We definitely wouldn't have gotten to do this many special things if we had had a bigger party, so inviting four friends just felt right for a small, sweet party. It was a magical day!


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