Lovely Luxuries Holiday Gift Guide

 

 

Jo Malone Perfume Collection: Jo Malone is something I have personally been dying to own, but the price is so high that I can never decide exactly which fragrance I want to commit to. Why do I want to own Jo Malone? No idea! I likely have it in my head that it’s some symbol of ultimate luxury or something, but it’s been on my wishlist for years now. This set has 5 minis in it that give a nice variety of fragrances so you can try things out and decide if there is any scent you love or you can mess around with mixing the scents to come up with your own signature scent. The scents included are Lime Basil & Mandarin, Nectarine Blossom & Honey, English Oak & Redcurrant, Wild Bluebell, and Wood Sage & Sea Salt. You end up with 1.5 oz of product total for $115, which prices it out as slightly more money per ounce ($77/oz) than buying a one-ounce bottle ($68), which is a bummer, but you would get to try 5 different scents instead of having to commit to one. Ultimately, this would be an amazing and luxurious gift for any fragrance lover in your life. 

Tata Harper Jumbo Resurfacing Mask: This mask is my new love. I went and got a sample at Sephora and after that one try, I knew it was going to be a love of mine. This made me sad because it is a really pricey mask, clocking in at $62 for a 1 oz container! 😱 I know, what am I thinking? I happened to go over to Tata Harper’s website instead of Sephora, just to look around, and I stumbled across this beauty. Meet the JUMBO sized container of my new beloved mask! This is 3.55 oz of product for a whopping $125. Before you think I’m a crazy person for not only suggesting this but also buying it (because I totally did!), do the math. At that price, the mask is only $35.20 per ounce instead of the regular price of $62. That is a major discount and completely worth shelling out the extra cash for upfront. I am excited to see what using this mask regularly does for my skin, and with it being as popular as it is, I’m certain this is a great gift for the skincare lover in your life. 

Dagne Dover Midi Tote: I use this bag every single day. It’s just like my Dagne Dover Classic Tote (which I did an entire blog post on) only smaller and more convenient for everyday use. I ended up buying mine because the color was on sale, but I didn’t realize I was purchasing my new go-to handbag. All of the small details that go into a Dagne Dover bag is why I have become a brand loyalist. In the midi tote, there are pen loops, an iPad sleeve, many pockets, and (most importantly) a build in water bottle holder. This bag carries everything I could possibly need while I’m out and about. I get so many compliments when I carry a Dagne Dover, no matter what size (I own a petite one too). This is a beautiful, but fully functional gift. 

Sugarfina Holiday Gift Box: This gift box is a great gift for anyone with a sweet tooth that you want to shower with a little bit of luxury. This box contains festive, limited edition holiday flavors from Sugarfina dressed in a super fancy box to make it look and feel extra luxurious. A great gift idea for someone you want to buy an extra special treat for but don’t really know what they’re into. 

Beats Headphones: Noise canceling headphones are something actually appearing on my wishlist this year. In the age of noisy workspaces, inability to focus (my issue) and people at the gym that you just want to tune out while lifting, noise-canceling headphones are something that you might not buy for yourself, but they’d make a truly thoughtful gift for someone who loves music and quiet.

Thread & Supply Fleece Pullover: Doesn’t this pullover just look like the coziest thing you ever did see? When temperatures outside are as chilly as they’ve been lately, it’s easy to live in your favorite sweatshirt. Treating someone to a high quality, super cozy pullover is a gift that anyone is sure to enjoy this time of year. 

Dyson Hair Dryer: This is the most expensive hair dryer ever, but I’d be lying to you if I didn’t tell you it was also the best hair dryer ever. I have owned this for a year or two now, and I LOVE it. I’d go into details, but I actually have an entire blog post about it that you can read that tells you all about how awesome it is. If you know someone who regularly does their hair or someone like me, who physically struggles to blow dry their hair, this is 100% worth every penny.

Weighted Blanket: This is another product that I’ve owned for a year now (got it last Christmas) and I love, love, LOVE it. Weighted blankets are supposed to help with anxiety, insomnia, and have an overall calming effect, and I must say, it is the coziest thing I’ve ever slept under. I’ve been using it every night and it just feels so good to slip into bed and let the extra weight of my blanket take over. I only use it at night, as carrying a 20lb blanket around from my couch to my bedroom is a bit difficult for me, but I imagine it’s a joy to curl up under while watching a movie or anything you need a quick break to close your eyes and regroup.

Tata Harper Let There Be Light Gift Set: I personally purchased this gift set after falling in love with the resurfacing mask (see above), and it’s a wonderful set at a wonderful price. It contains a full size resurfacing serum ($88 value) as well as .5 oz each of the regenerating cleanser ($24 value) and the resurfacing mask ($31 value) for $92. Not too shabby. It’s a great way to try out several of the most popular Tata Harper products. Another option, if you want smaller sizes of a greater variety of products is the Tata Harper Everyday Essentials kit.

I also have to add that if you don’t already use Ebates as a part of your online shopping experience, you need to stop what you’re doing this instant and go join. All you do is click a little button when you’re shopping and you will get a percentage of your purchase back in cash! I’ve already gotten over $450 back, and that number is getting higher with Black Friday shopping. Sephora is also doing 10% back with Ebates for Black Friday, which is worth it all on its own. Ebates is totally free, and if you use my link you will get $10 credit after your first $25 purchase just for being a friend of mine 🙂

These lovely luxuries are sure to bring a smile to the face of any lucky recipient. Do you have any suggestions for items to add to this list?

 

 

*links may be affiliate links*

November 2018 Goals

 

It’s a new month. It’s my FAVORITE month!  Let’s chat about goals for the month of November.  

True story: in an effort to save time, you get to watch my goals rather than read them.  An explanation (sort of) is in the video 🙂

 

5 Ways To Boost Your Energy WITHOUT The Help Of Caffeine!

Energy is something that I think at least 95% of us feel we need more of on a regular basis, and we definitely go to some extreme measures to get what we feel we need. Caffeine is the drug of choice for so many of us (myself included) and while the morning cup of coffee is essential, it isn’t long before we are downing 3+ cups just to get us through the workday. Then there’s energy drinks, caffeinated sodas, and even caffeinated gum and foods. Not that I’m personally complaining about the existence of any of these things (well, except maybe soda, but that was never my thing), but thanks to the daily availability and consumption of caffeine in our lives we are starting to become dependant on the stuff to keep ourselves going. This got me thinking…

There has got to be a better way! I will never give up the morning ritual of my hot cup of Joe, but when 2 pm rolls around and I’m itching for a boost, I don’t want to have to depend on coffee to get me through.  I decided to start messing around with other options. Recently, I heard Rachel Hollis say something about how our energy needs to be created, and I realized she was right, so the next time I started to fade, I started to brainstorm alternative options, and I came up with some great ones and have started implementing them into my daily practices. Now, does this mean I no longer reach for a little caffeine boost sometimes? No. I’m only human which means I’m not perfect, however, I have been loving using alternate options only to discover they work just as well as (and sometimes better than) and afternoon cup of coffee.  Here are a few of my favorite ways to boost my energy sans- caffeine.

1. Get Pumped Dance Party

The music lover in me might be biased, but there is something so energizing about turning on one of your favorite energizing songs and dancing around for a bit. Sometimes it’s just bopping around while standing up ( have to get a break from sitting!) and some days it turns into a legit, jumping around, fully choreographed, chasing Gracie around the house dance party. After just a song or two, I notice I start to feel re-energized and a little more clear-headed all at the same time. Below is my current “Get Pumped” playlist.  Don’t judge! You’ve got to find the songs that work for you! 

 

2. Eat For Energy

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Inexpensive Fall Decor

It is no secret that I love fall. There’s something about the smells, the colors, and the cooler weather combined with the warm and comforting flavors that just make fall one of the best times of the year. As I type this I’m sitting in my office, fall candle burning, with a cozy sweatshirt on because the air outside is a little too cool by my window. 

Being the housewife that I am, home decor is something I truly love but being the budget conscious woman I also am, I currently don’t go too overboard on the home decor purchases. Still, I can’t help but browse all of the new seasonal home items that hit the shelves every year.

I couldn’t help but gather up some of my favorites, most of which I found at TJMaxx (which has a shoppable website! Did you know that?!) which means the price is very right. From cute pillows to an adorable doormat, there’s a little something that can bring a taste of the season into every room of the home. As you can see, I even found a few Rae Dunn pieces to put in the mix. Trust me, grab them before they’re gone. I actually had a really cute “witches brew” Rae Dunn piece on this list, but by the time I actually got around to writing this post, it was already gone! 😩

Whether you need a new wreath for your wall or a beautiful sparking pillow, there’s a little bit of fall for everyone here. What sort of decor do you look for when shopping seasonally? Are you into wall art & fancy pillows or are you more of a seasonal kitchenware type of person? Let me know! 

October 2018 Goals

Well, here we are… the last quarter of 2018! Every month I like to publically declare my goals and intentions for the month. After all, you’re 40% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down! Before we get into my goals for the new month, I like to give an honest look back at my goals for the previous month.

September Goals Review 

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Well this one went down the tubes rather quickly, and I’ll tell you why. It was actually called to my attention (by myself) that of all of the places I create content regularly, the blog is simply not top priority right now. I realized this as I started writing down my goals daily (a process which I will post about later), and honestly, of the 10 goals I wrote down, the blog wasn’t specifically in any of them. Instagram and Youtube were there, and my general income was there, but there was no specific blog related goal, which just made it blatantly obvious that my focus is currently elsewhere. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, it just means that this goal didn’t happen. However, I did end up posting 9 blog posts in September, which was still a large increase from my typical 2 or 3. 

Upload 3 videos per week: I uploaded 9 videos in September, which is a little more than 2 per week, so I almost hit my target, but not quite.

Start a back to school series: Not only did I start this series, but I completed it. 4 videos posted this month all about going back to school for the basics of weight loss. Video 1 talks about the overall concept of going back to school and also gives you a school supply list and homework for what you need to succeed in weight loss. Video 2 is all about tracking and how it’s not only important, but it’s also the thing that is easiest for us to get lazy about doing. Video 3 talks about the importance of activity and movement and tips on how to up your game no matter what level you’re currently at. Finally, video 4 is all about your environment and the importance of making your surroundings are set up to work for you and not against you. Check them out!

Attend all 4 weeks of the marriage class at church: Oct 1 was the fourth and final class and I was in attendance all for weeks! Yay!

October Goals

#Last90Days: I’m not going to elaborate on this because I did an entire blog post about the last 90 days challenge. This challenge will not only run through October but for the rest of the year. This month’s goal is to embrace the challenge, do what it says, and keeping the promises I’m making to myself. If you want more information about it, check out my blog post about #Last90Days. 

Upload 10 videos to my Youtube channel: I’ve learned to not focus on setting goals that involve numbers like subscriber count because ultimately that isn’t a factor I can control. Instead, I need to focus on what I can control, and that’s how many videos I upload. 

Publish 8 blog posts: That’s 2 posts per week, and this post is already my second one for the month. I can WILL do this.

Decorate for fall: My favorite season is here, and for the rest of the year I get to have a seasonally decorated home. I just need to convince my husband to go get the fall decor out of storage and I’ll be a happy little housewife decorating away. We don’t have a ton of fall decor, but the little bit we do have really brings a fun seasonal vibe to our home and it makes my heart so happy. 

 

There we are. Straight forward, measurable, and obtainable goals.  What are your goals for the month?

#Last90Days

It’s October!! We are officially in the last quarter of the year. Now is the time where we start to embrace fall, think about the holidays (say what now?!), and if we’re being honest, we’re thinking about all of those New Year’s Resolutions that we made all the way back in January that we haven’t accomplished yet. 

Did this post just get a little depressing?  Sorry, but hear me out.

The last quarter of the year is not only the time where we start to panic about not reaching our goals, but we also end up getting lazy, letting ourselves get away with things we normally wouldn’t (hello too many holiday treats and pumpkin spice lattes), and ending up moving further away from those goals instead of making the final push to achieve them.  Well, not this year, my friends. 

You all know by now that I am a huge fan and follower of Rachel Hollis, author of the bestseller Girl, Wash Your Face. She and her husband are taking the self-help world by storm and inspiring so many people to get out there, work hard, and accomplish their goals while reaching for their best possible lives. Rachel is hosting the Last 90 Days challenge, and I want to encourage all of us to join in.

The last 90-day challenge starts today, October 1st, and is encouraging all of us to basically change our mindset. Instead of taking these last few months of the year to slack off and take steps backward, why not treat these last 90 days as you would the first 30? You know what I mean. On January 1, we all wake up inspired, motivated, and ready to kick off the new year with big goals and we are ready to work for them. How great would it be if we did that these last few months too? How powerful would it be for us to start 2019 having had 3 months of “new year’s mindset” under our belt already? Read more

Where Were You?

Today is September 11th. 17 years ago today the world changed. 17 years ago today, as a freshman in high school, I learned how very real terrorism is. As a young, naive little 14-year-old girl, I never had to think about it. I never truly realized. I lived in my own little bubble.  Then I went to school on 9/11/01 and walked into 1st period.

I can’t remember the exact chain of events that happened during that period, but what I remember is this: our choir director that year was a man that expected nothing less than perfection from all of his choirs. Even the freshman girls who had only been in session for a few weeks. Rehearsals were not a time to mess around. They were a time for focused rehearsal and getting things done. Nothing was more important than rehearsing and getting ready for whatever performance was coming, even if it was weeks away. He was teaching us how to be good choir members and good performers. For those 48 minutes first thing in the morning, there was nothing more important in our little freshman world.

On 9/11, Mr. Swanson stopped rehearsal and turned on the tv to the newsfeed covering what was happening all over the country. I repeat: Our director stopped rehearsal and turned on the tv.  This simply did not happen! This is how I knew something was up. I didn’t really understand what it was, but I knew that it was important enough that Mr. Swanson stopped rehearsal and we watched whatever the current newsfeed was.  I don’t remember exactly what was on the screen and I don’t remember what time it was exactly, but this choir nerd (in high school there was nothing more important than choir and show choir to me. This didn’t change all 4 years) took Mr. Swanson’s reaction to mean it was a big deal. 

I honestly don’t remember what happened the rest of the day. I recall the tv being on in most of our classrooms, but that’s about it. I happened to be one of the people that didn’t lose someone close to me that day, and I know how lucky I am to have that be the case because so many others did. Having a husband that gets on an airplane every single week, I can’t begin to imagine the panic I’d be feeling if it was this year instead of 17 years ago.

That’s what I remember about September 11th. Where were you? What were you doing? 

 

5 Things I Do Every Single Night Before Bed

Just like I have 5 things I do every morning, I also have a set list of things I do every single evening before bed. Bedtime routines are ideal for helping set the tone for getting ready to go to bed and fall asleep easily, making sure you’re rested and ready for the day ahead. My evening routine, like my morning routine, is flexible based on what is actually happening, but there are several things I do every night, regardless of what is going on, what time it is, or what I’ve been up to this evening. 

1. Skincare

Beauty experts everywhere will emphasize the importance of “taking the day off “of your face at the end of the day. Makeup, dirt, grime, and everything else we encounter throughout the day needs to get washed off. This helps prevent clogged pores, acne, aging, and is overall just good common sense.  The older I get, the more I’m getting into skincare instead of makeup. A solid evening skincare routine is relaxing (warm water, rubbing in moisturizer and serums, etc feels very pampering and spa-like) and so beneficial. I’ve got several steps in my evening skincare, and I’m really loving the results I’m seeing as I prioritize this routine each and every night. 

  • Remove makeup with an oil-based cleanser
  • Swipe micellar water over my face to make sure the makeup is all gone
  • Cleanse with a cream cleanser
  • My new favorite exfoliating peel pads
  • A moisturizing serum
  • Night Cream
  • Eye Cream
  • My all-time favorite nighttime lip moisturizer

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5 Things I Do Every Single Morning

I have a morning routine, as most people do, and while it’s sometimes a bit more flexible on some days than others, there are a few things I do every single day, regardless of how much time I have, what’s going on, or what might get in the way of my normal routine. 

1. Make the bed

I can not stand knowing my bed isn’t made. There is something that feels refreshing about a made bed. I feel like no matter what other messes are in the bedroom, if the bed is made it feels a lot cleaner and more organized. In the same way, even on days where my bedroom is perfectly tidy, if I see the comforter all piled up in disarray (something that typically only happens when my husband is in the bed), it completely takes away from the tidiness of the room and all I see is the chaos. The bed gets made every single morning. This is important enough where I’ve even managed to get my husband to see this is important and he will make the bed too. Epic wife win!

2. Drink Coffee

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What I’d Do With A Million Dollars

Imagine that you woke up this morning and discovered $1,000,000 in your bank account. Not a million dollars that the government has to take a large chunk of for taxes or anything like that. Just a strait million that you were gifted and was all yours to spend however you wanted.  Can you picture it?

What would you do with it?

I don’t mean what will you tell people you’ll do with it to make you look good or anything like that. What would you honestly do with a million dollars? 

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