simply local: board & brush

Yesterday, I took my first class at Board & Brush, and I have to say — I’m hooked.

I have never been much of a do-it-yourself-er, but I love the idea of it. I enjoy watching shows where people embark on DIY projects, and on several occasions, I have even tried to build things for my home — with a very low success rate.

So when my best friend suggested we go to a DIY wood sign workshop, I was slightly skeptical about what the outcome of this workshop would be, but regardless of my lack of skills in this department, it sounded like fun.

Prior to the class, we had to select the type of wood project that we wanted to create. Board & Brush has a variety of wood sign styles and customization options to choose from on its website. I chose an 18-inch round tray with the word “cheers” on it, accompanied by a floral design, and Deana chose a planter with the phrase “let love grow.”

On the day of the class, we walked into a studio filled with avid-DIY-ers. I walked up to our table expecting to see a round wooden board ready to be painted with my chosen stencil; but instead, I was greeted by a round piece of unfinished wood, hammers, meat tenderizers and chains.

I quickly learned that this was much more than a pick-your-project-and-paint-it type of class. We sanded our wood, and then weathered it with the tools on the table (I highly recommend using this part of the class as a stress reliever!). We then stained the wood, added as wash, applied the stencil and painted it to reveal the final product. I even got to convert my tray into a lazy Susan for my kitchen!

At the end of the class, I walked away with a finished product that I am proud to display and excited to use. The class was simple to follow, and the instructors give you all of the tools you need to create a wood project that is truly a reflection of your own personal style. I know that I will definitely be going back again soon, and who knows — maybe with a few more classes I will become the DIY-er I have always aspired to be!

Board & Brush has locations in more than 30 states, so if you are not a New Jersey native, not to worry! For more information about Board & Brush classes available near you, click here!

sweet dreams

On an absolutely frigid day like today, the last thing I want to do is leave my bed. Those who know me personally know that I rarely make time to stay home and relax, but when the temperature falls to single digits, I tend to bend that rule a bit.

When I do stay home, I feel like I truly get to enjoy the space that Connor and I have created here, and I love that. While I love our apartment, our bedroom has always been my favorite room. When I set out to decorate this room, I channeled my best Joanna Gaines vibes to create a space that would exude coziness, comfort and relaxation.

I chose a light, neutral color palette for the décor in the room to match our light gray walls. I wanted the room to always feel light and airy; I wanted it to be a place we can retreat to after a long day and instantly feel relaxed.

My favorite design element in our bedroom is the gallery wall behind our bed. I had started purchasing signs here and there, from stores like Hobby Lobby, Home Goods and Michaels. At first, I was not sure what I would do with the signs, but after searching for the perfect piece to put up behind our bed and not having any luck, I realized that I could create something unique for us.

To create the gallery wall, I laid out all of the signs on the floor. After rearranging everything several times, taking a few measurements and getting some additional input, the final version of the gallery wall was created. In my opinion, it is definitely the best part of our room!

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We also found these great white shelves from Ikea for the walls and this white shelved corner piece from Macy’s to go underneath the television that is mounted on the wall. We utilize these shelves for décor items such as photos, signs, flowers and books; the pieces on the shelves tend to be reflections of us. I always try to move pieces around to change it up now and then, but most of the decorations on the shelves are year-round staples.

In addition to the décor items, I also wanted to make sure we had useful pieces of furniture in our bedroom. Aside from a mirrored dresser and two bedside tables, we also found this bench at Home Goods and mirror at Kirklands. These two items were the perfect pieces to fill space in the room that was otherwise empty. The bench has plenty of storage inside, and it is also a great option for extra seating when we have company!

Looking at the finished product, it is hard to believe that there was a point in time where we only had a mattress and blanket on the floor for several days until our furniture arrived. It is fun to think about how far this space as come from the empty room we moved into, now into a space where I would happily stay home to relax!

winter getaways

It is way too cold out.

I love the idea of winter. Waking up to the sun shining through the blinds on a cold winter morning, sipping a hot cup of coffee in bed or snuggling up under piles of blankets and watching a movie are some of my favorite parts about this time of year. It is nice and cozy inside, but ask me to go outside in this weather, and I immediately want to hop on a plane and go somewhere warm.

I have to wait another seven weeks until I am in paradise again, but in the meantime, I want to share some of my favorite all-inclusive vacation spots for a winter getaway! If I can’t be on a beach soaking up the sun’s rays in this extraordinarily chilly weather, at least writing about it makes me feel like I am!

Secrets The Vine Cancun

This trip was the epitome of relaxation. From lounging by the ocean and swimming in the infinity pools to exploring an island and getting the best massage ever, we had an amazing time!

The Resort:

Our trip to Secrets The Vine Cancun was by far my favorite trip we have taken together. This adults-only resort is beautiful, the rooms are incredibly spacious and there is so much to do on the property. With five gourmet restaurants, a buffet, a grill and a cafe, there are plenty of different options for dining for all guests. There is also entertainment offered every night, so after finishing a nice dinner, that was definitely a great way to unwind before the next day’s adventures!

The view from our room!

If you are traveling for a special occasion, be sure to tell the concierge! Connor and I booked this trip for our anniversary, and after our first day on the beach, we came back to our room decorated for the occasion! Our door had a Happy Anniversary banner on it, we received champagne and we had a complimentary breakfast delivered to our balcony any morning we wanted! It was definitely a nice surprise!

What to Do

We loved the resort so much that we spent almost our entire trip there! Our typical morning included waking up early, grabbing breakfast from the buffet and heading down to the beach. There was never a concern about grabbing chairs first thing in the morning because the beach was staffed with attendants who bring you to chairs and set up an umbrella for you if needed! There were also waiters available to take any food or drink orders if you did not feel like moving from your oceanfront seats!

If you were ever looking to step away from the sand and surf for a bit, the buffet was open throughout the day, as well as an oceanfront restaurant and bars. There are also several heated pools at this resort, including two infinity pools that look out to the beach.

We dedicated one day to an excursion while on this trip. We decided to go snorkeling and take a boat ride to Isla Mujeres. Unfortunately, the weather conditions were not ideal for snorkeling that day, but the captain made the best of it for us. Before we reached Isla Mujeres, he stopped the boat to let us all swim in the ocean for a bit! Once we got back on the boat, we sailed the rest of the way to the Island, where a tour guide took us around for the day. It was such a beautiful trip, regardless of being unable to snorkel! You can’t beat this view!

The view from Isla Mujeres

We also booked a massage at the spa while on vacation, which was one of the best decisions we made! We chose a wine therapy couples massage, and it was an incredibly relaxing and refreshing experience! Before the scheduled massage, we were also able to use the spa facilities at our leisure. The spa was beautiful, clean and well worth the price.

All in all, this was an amazing trip. This truly is the perfect place to stay if you are looking to satisfy all of your vacation needs in one location! From amazing food (our favorite was Italian!) to beautiful views of the ocean, we could not ask for much more! We cannot wait to go back again some day!

Majestic Elegance – Punta Cana

Our first all-inclusive vacation we ever booked was to Majestic Elegance in Punta Cana. This adults-only resort was filled with fun activities, great excursion packages and wonderful rooms and dining options!

The Resort:

Majestic Elegance is a beautiful resort located in the Dominican Republic. Adjacent to Majestic Colonial, a family-friendly resort, the Majestic property is massive. We only visited Majestic Colonial to try and win some extra cash at the casino, but unfortunately, we did not have much luck there!

The rooms at Majestic Elegance were great — we had a jacuzzi inside and a balcony with a view of the large pool area. The hotel also has six restaurants and 11 bars — plenty of options for even the pickiest eater! We tried to sample as many restaurants as possible, but our all-time favorite was El Asadito Steak House, an Argentinian steak house!

The view from our room!

What to Do:

img_7690.jpgOur hotel room was about a five minute walk away from the beach, and once on the beach, there were chairs available to bring over to the ocean, or there were tiki huts to sit under to escape the sun for a bit! After spending our days by the ocean, we would wrap up the day at the swim-up pool bar before heading in for dinner and nightly entertainment.

The entertainment at Majestic Elegance was great. Our favorite night was the circus night! We sat back and watched people perform tricks and trapeze artists swing high above the ground. We even got to hang out with this man on stilts before the show!

In addition to spending time at the resort, we also booked two excursions on this trip. The first excursion we went on was such an amazing experience! We hopped on a boat and set sail to swim with sharks! We even got to hold a sting ray! That is definitely not something you get to do every day!

Our second excursion involved driving through the Dominican Republic to zip line through the trees! The views were amazing from the treetops, and we had a chance to see more of the Dominican Republic than we would have if we just stayed on the resort property. Our tour guide for this excursion gave us so much history and information about the culture and lifestyle of the people who live here. He also brought us pure cacao beans to try, and we had an opportunity to explore and do some shopping before going back to the resort!

We had a great time at Majestic Elegance, and we met some really great friends that we are still in touch with today! We were very happy with this trip, especially since it was our first all-inclusive vacation! We definitely got the travel bug after this trip!

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Our next winter getaway is a little different than these trips — we will be setting sail on our first cruise together, with some friends, to the Eastern Caribbean! I cannot wait to go on this trip and document it all to share once we are back! I am counting down the days until my next winter getaway — when and where will yours be?

 

travel guide: nashville, tn

Nashville is by far my favorite city I have ever visited in the U.S. The country music, hot chicken and live bands almost everywhere you go are just some of the reasons that I fell in love with this Tennessee city.

I went to Nashville with a few of my friends in 2017, and since then, I have been itching to go back (thankfully I am going back later this year!). From doing a pedal tavern in a rainstorm and celebrating the Nashville Predators winning two Stanley Cup games, to talking about how we pretended to be a bachelorette party on the radio, it is safe to say that our trip to Nashville was full of adventures! Read on below for some of my favorite activities and places we visited while we were there!

Where to Stay

Courtyard by Marriott Nashville Downtown
Just two minutes away from the historic Ryman Auditorium, the former home of the Grand Ole Opry, and a short walk to Lower Broadway, the main street of bars and restaurants downtown, the Courtyard is a great location to stay at while in Nashville. The hotel has clean, comfortable rooms and a Starbucks — the perfect combination to kickstart a full day in Music City!

What to Do

Grand Ole Opry Tour
Normally, I would recommend seeing a show at the Grand Ole Opry if possible, but unfortunately, there were no shows scheduled when we visited. I still wanted to check out this important piece of Music City’s history, so my friend Allie and I jumped in an Uber and spent an afternoon touring the Grand Ole Opry. Having the opportunity to go backstage and even step foot on the Opry stage is something I will never forget! Find out more about the backstage tour here!

Join the Studio Audience at The Ty Bentli Show
Formerly known as the Ty, Kelly & Chuck show, the Ty Bentli Show on Nash FM is one of my favorite radio programs to listen to. When I found out you can be a part of the studio audience, I knew it was a must for my trip to Nashville. As someone who works in media, it was great to see Ty and Chuck in action. They were incredibly welcoming, and they even gave me an opportunity to be part of the show! After the show, we got to tour the other studios in the building, and we even learned how to line dance with Shawn Parr from Nash Nights Live! Whether you listen to Ty’s morning show every day or hear it for the first time while in Nashville, this is an experience I highly recommend! Click here to learn more about how to join the audience!

Nashville Pedal Tavern
When you walk around in Nashville, you are bound to see groups of people pedaling through the streets, singing songs and drinking. While there are several different pedal taverns to choose from, we chose Nashville Pedal Tavern and had a great time. Unfortunately, it was pouring out the day we were scheduled to ride, but Nashville Pedal Tavern employees provided us with ponchos and a driver who made the day so much fun despite the bad weather! The Pedal Tavern also stopped at a few bars along the way, giving us an opportunity to explore parts of Nashville we had not been to yet. Book your bike tour here!

Lower Broadway
Lower Broadway is a must for your Nashville getaway. No matter where you go, there is live music playing all day and night. The bands are so talented and they all take requests. Some of our favorite spots include Tootsies, Honky Tonk and Nudie’s!

The Gulch
Have you ever seen pictures of the famous wall murals in Nashville? My favorite is this one pictured here: “What Lifts You?” created by Kelsey Montague! You can check them out in person by visiting The Gulch. A short ride away from downtown, The Gulch also has some great boutiques and restaurants, including two of my favorites: Biscuit Love and Burger Republic.

Where to Eat

Biscuit Love
We may have waited two hours in the hot, Tennessee sun, but Biscuit Love was well worth the wait. This is the first restaurant we stopped at once we hopped off the plane, and from fluffy biscuits to large mimosas, Biscuit Love did not disappoint! Make sure you try a Bonut (fried biscuit dough) while you are there. I promise you, you will not regret it!

Pancake Pantry
This was my favorite breakfast spot we ate at while in Nashville, and we all agreed that the food was amazing. I am a big fan of breakfast, and Pancake Pantry exceeded all of my expectations. From the best crepes to melt-in-your-mouth hash browns, I am still dreaming about this meal!

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
Located in Midtown, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken has some of the best hot chicken around Nashville. You can’t go wrong with a hot chicken sandwich and a side of pimento mac & cheese!

Burger Republic
Declared one of Zagat’s 50 Burgers in 50 States, the Tennessee burger at Burger Republic is one of the best burgers I have tasted to date! Topped with a Jack Daniel’s honey glaze, maple bacon and crispy onions, this burger was absolutely delicious! Definitely make this one of your stops while in Nashville!

These are just some of my favorite spots we visited during our weekend in Tennessee! I hope this travel guide inspires you to put on some country music, pack up a pair of cowboy boots and travel to this amazing city!

a simply wonderful new year

Isn’t it splendid to think of all of the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive — it’s such an interesting world.

— Lucy Maud Montgomery

When I was younger, my grandma always told me that when she would lay down at night to go to sleep, she would close her eyes and imagine a blank notebook. As she lay there, she would imagine filling the pages with words, doodles, pictures — wherever her mind would take her — and then she would slowly drift to sleep. Every time December 31st rolls around, I think of the new year in the same way.

To me, a new year is a blank notebook waiting to have its pages filled with memories, experiences and lessons learned. A new year is a clean slate with infinite possibilities of how it will be approached, shaped and carried out. It is entirely unknown what a new year will bring; however, each individual’s personal experience has the ability to be enhanced by making resolutions and goals.

Every New Year’s Eve, I look back on the year and reflect on all of the things that happened. All of my experiences, whether good or bad, shaped my year and brought me to where I am today. As I reflect on the previous year and look forward to the next, I think about everything I hope to accomplish. Whether it be to read one book a week, live a healthier lifestyle or travel more, I work to set realistic goals and expectations for myself.

No matter how much determination you have to accomplish your resolutions in the new year, sometimes it feels as if it is all much easier said than done. While sticking to your resolutions can always be difficult, there are some ways you can keep yourself accountable and work on achieving all of your goals. Here are my tips for staying on track and maintaining your goals in 2019:

Do it for yourself

The number one way to be successful with your resolutions is doing it because you want to. The minute you try to make changes in your own life because of others or for others, it becomes more of a chore than something you want to do, and it makes it much harder to implement those changes. Evaluate the goals that are important to you and focus on those. At the end of the day, you only have to answer to yourself!

Be specific about what you hope to accomplish

New goals are always inspiring, but they can also become overwhelming when they are too broad. Take a different approach to setting resolutions by being more specific about what you hope to accomplish. Not only does that make your goals feel more attainable and manageable, but it also leaves room for improvement or modifications to your goals.

Plan ahead

Talking about your goals for the new year is great, but writing them down will help hold you accountable. Try keeping track in a notebook, on your phone or on your computer, and update your progress toward your goals throughout the year. It will help you stay focused on what you want to accomplish, and it will also be fun to look over at the end of the year to remind yourself how much you can do when you set your mind to something.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

— Theodore Roosevelt

Establishing goals can be tricky. Sometimes we set unattainable standards for ourselves, and it can be heartbreaking when we do not reach those goals. Do not be so hard on yourself if your year does not go the same way you planned it in January. There are an infinite number of factors you are not able to account for yet that will also influence how your year turns out. If you fall off track with your goals or they suddenly become unattainable, take a few steps back, re-evaluate what you have been doing, and modify how you approach these goals. Remember, at the end of the day, you are doing this for yourself, so continue to work toward your new goals at your own pace!

Whether you have a list of what you hope to accomplish this year or have yet to think about it, I do hope that 2019 brings you all happiness, health, love and success! Happy New Year!

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breakfast with santa

Merry Christmas Eve! It is hard to believe that Christmas is tomorrow! It is no secret that I love this time of year, and no matter how old I get, nothing beats the feeling of waking up early on Christmas morning and spending time with loved ones.

Once the presents are opened and the coffee is consumed, breakfast is the next best part! Read on below for two sweet treats to make on Christmas morning!

French Toast Casserole

This French Toast Casserole from Savory Magazine is been my go-to breakfast for the holidays, and it is too good not to share! The recipe is just five ingredients, and you can even prep it overnight and pop it in the oven first thing in the morning!

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Ingredients
1 loaf (16 oz) of cinnamon swirl bread (Pepperidge Farm)
¾ of a container of blueberries
5 eggs
2 ½ cups of half and half
1 tsp of vanilla extract

  • Cut the entire loaf of bread into approximately 1-inch pieces. Use a 13 x 9 non-stick pan and lay the cut pieces of bread across the bottom. Once the bottom is covered, continue to layer the bread on top of itself until the full loaf is in the pan.
  • Scatter the blueberries over the bread.
  • Mix the eggs, half and half, and vanilla extract in a large bowl, and pour the mixture over the bread and blueberries.
  • Let sit in the refrigerator overnight or one hour prior to cooking.
  • Preheat the oven to 350º. Cook the casserole for 50 minutes.
  • Sprinkle powdered sugar over the top and serve immediately!

Pop’s Pancakes

Growing up, my dad always made pancakes for my family on Sunday mornings, and whenever possible, Connor and I continue that tradition for ourselves! Pop’s Pancakes are a twist on the classic Aunt Jemima recipe. His modifications create a much thinner pancake — perfect for stacking on your plate!

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Ingredients
1 cup of Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of half and half
1 egg
1 tbsp of vegetable oil

  • Mix all ingredients into a bowl and whisk until the batter is smooth.
  • Preheat the griddle to 350º and coat with a little butter.
  • Pour batter, cook the pancakes evenly on both sides, pour on the syrup and enjoy!

 

winter slumberland

Connor and I absolutely love the Christmas season, and celebrating with our friends is one of our favorite parts about this time of year. To officially kick off the holiday season and the countdown to Christmas, we hosted our second annual Winter Slumberland event!

Winter Slumberland is a brunch idea that we came up with where everyone invited shows up in their best Christmas jammies and we eat, drink and be merry! From brunch, mimosas and holiday-inspired desserts to Christmas movies and spending quality time with each other, Winter Slumberland is definitely one of our favorite parties we have ever hosted! Read on below to see how we prepared for this fun holiday brunch!

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To get ready for Winter Slumberland and the holiday season, we decked out the apartment with Christmas decorations. This year, we decided on a blue and silver Christmas tree. With some neutral decorations and pops of red, we worked to transform our apartment into a winter wonderland!

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Once the apartment was decorated, it was time to focus on the menu for Winter Slumberland. From French Toast Casserole and bagels, to quiche, monkey bread and Oreo truffles, there were plenty of options and sweet treats! We also made some holiday treats that were almost too cute to eat! Read on below for some of these fun holiday recipes!

Christmas Tree Brownies

This recipe was so much fun and simple to construct. Start by making your favorite type of brownies and let them cool (for approximately 15 people, we made two boxes). Once cooled, cut the brownies into triangle shapes and add in a small piece of candy cane at the bottom for the tree trunk. Then, we used food coloring to dye vanilla frosting green. With a piping bag, we created a zigzag pattern on the brownies, and we topped them with some crystal and pearl sprinkles for ornaments! Last, but not least, star sprinkles for the tops of each tree!

Santa Hat Pancakes

Another easy holiday recipe! Stack several mini pancakes on large toothpicks (we used six to eight pancakes per stack). Cut the tops of strawberries off to remove the stems and create an even base. Slide a strawberry on top of the pancake stack, and top it with a mini marshmallow! Sprinkle some powdered sugar over the pancake stacks before serving!

Snowman Donut Kebabs

These snowman donut kebabs only require 4 ingredients to make! Stack three mini powdered donuts on a kebab stick. Use a piece of fruit rollup to tie a “scarf” on top of the second donut. Then, add an orange gumdrop nose in the first donut and two green gumdrop buttons in the other two. Finally, add in eyes made out of coal by using black food coloring!

With tons of food to eat, mimosas, coffee, and hot chocolate flowing, and a room full of friends, we spent the day lounging, laughing and celebrating the true meaning of holiday spirit: togetherness.

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breakfast in bed

This weekend, Connor and I tried out a new recipe that redefined the phrase “breakfast in bed.” While we were fast asleep, our breakfast was cooking all night long. What could be better than waking up to a nice, hot breakfast on a chilly December morning?

We used our slow cooker to make a savory casserole that was filled with some of our favorite breakfast staples: eggs, cheese and hash browns! At the last minute, we even made a game-changing decision to add in some crispy bacon! Read on below for the recipe

Ingredients

1 dozen eggs
24 hash brown patties, frozen
1/2 cup of chopped onions
3 & 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1 package of cooked and chopped bacon (or your favorite breakfast meat) — optional!
1 cup of milk
1/4 tsp of ground mustard
1/4 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 tsp of pepper, plus more for seasoning

  • Whisk the 12 eggs until fully mixed. Add in the milk, ground mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and whisk until all ingredients are combined.
  • In the slow cooker, start by placing the hash brown patties in as the base for the first layer. We found it best to break the patties up into halves and quarters to fit across the entire pot without too many empty spaces. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Add in 1/3 of the onions, as well as 1/3 of the bacon over the hash browns. Sprinkle 1 cup of cheese on top.
  • Repeat this step two more times, so that you have a total of three layers of hash browns, onions, bacon and cheese.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the three-layer casserole. Then add the last 1/2 cup of cheese on top.
  • Cover the slow cooker, and set it to cook on low for 8 hours.

Go to bed, get a good night’s sleep, and wake up to a delicious breakfast casserole first thing in the morning! This hassle-free breakfast is the perfect meal for the holiday season! Bon appétit!

holiday gift guide: under the tree

“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.”

Now that you have found the perfect stocking stuffers for all of the guys and girls on your list, let’s move onto the gifts that will be under the tree this year!

For the Jetsetter

The Carry-On
This suitcase, sold by Away, is great for anyone who has the travel bug. This suitcase features two compartments and a durable outer shell, as well as an ejectable battery that can charge phones up to 5x. The Carry-On also comes with a TSA-approved lock built into it.

Beats Solo3 Wireless
Help the travelers in your life settle into relaxation mode with these Beats headphones. With excellent sound quality, these wireless headphones will help them tune out the sounds of planes, trains and buses and focus on music or audiobooks until they reach their next destination.

Catalina Canvas Weekender
The Catalina by Lo & Sons is the perfect bag to use for long weekend trips. Available in four colors, this bag is equipped with a separate bottom storage compartment, which is perfect for packing shoes, toiletries or other items you may want to keep away from clothing. The Catalina Collection is comprised of three different weekender bags, and the other available options can be found here.

For the New Homeowner

Keurig Coffee Makers
Coffee, coffee, coffee! Keep your loved ones caffeinated with Keurig’s Special Edition Single Serve Coffee, Latte & Cappuccino Maker. Don’t forget to throw in some pods as well! Keurig’s website is running a special offer of two free boxes of pods with the purchase of this coffee maker by using the code: FREEPODS4ME. If you are looking for a more classic coffee maker, check out other Keurig models here.

11-Bottle Graphite Wine Rack
This hexagon-shaped wine rack fits 11 wine bottles, and is a great gift for anyone who has recently moved into a new home or apartment. Add in a bottle or two of wine to get the collection started!

Eclectic Mercury Votive Holders
Transform the vibe of any room with these white and silver candle holders. This set of 6 votive holders will provide any homeowner with a festive candlelit display.  Add in a set of 6 LED White Votive Candles by Ashland to complete the gift.

For the Homebody

Homebody by Joanna Gaines
With the help of Joanna Gaines’ book, every homebody on your list will feel inspired to create spaces that they will never want to leave. This book pairs well when read with a comfy blanket and a hot cup of coffee in this #Shiplap coffee mug.

Cozy Pom Pom Throw
You can never go wrong with gifting a nice cozy blanket for the holidays. These Pom Pom Throws from Pottery Barn come in three neutral colors that will accent any home space!

Red Cast Iron Fondu Set
Give the gift of a fun night in with this fondu set from Crate&Barrel. Whether your family and friends are cheese lovers or chocolate lovers, this gift is sure to put a smile on everyones’ faces!

For the Hostess

Monette Monogram Cheese Board
Add a personal touch to any kitchen with this monogrammed cheese board from Anthropologie. It is sure to be a hit with the recipients and their guests!

Celine Wine Glasses
This set of four wine glasses are a beautiful addition to any entertainer’s home. Add in a nice bottle of wine and a festive wine tote to the gift, like this one found
here.

Home Cocktail Bar Set by BARMIXXO
This bar set includes everything needed for a night of entertaining at home. From a cocktail shaker to a strainer and bottle opener, this 10-piece set has it all. It even comes with a recipe book of more than 150 drink concoctions.

For the Chef

Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines
If you are a Fixer Upper fan, you will love Joanna’s recipes just as much as you love her decorating style! This cookbook contains everything, from breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes, to appetizers, soups, salads and desserts. This is a great book for anyone who is looking to be a little more adventurous in the kitchen!

Artisan Mini 3.5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer
This mini KitchenAid Stand Mixer is the perfect addition to any kitchen! It is 20 percent smaller and 25 percent lighter than the full-sized mixers, and they come in 18 different colors. These mixers are currently on sale through the KitchenAid website.

Atlas 150 Aluminum Pasta Maker
Give the gift of homemade pasta with this pasta maker from Crate&Barrel. From spaghetti to linguine and lasagna, the options are endless for pasta lovers.

For the Fitness Fanatics

Apple Watch
Apple Watch released its Series 4 model, which has been redesigned with a  new look, improved health apps and data, and more connectivity options for users (did someone say Walkie Talkies?!). Grab one with a sports band for the gym-lover in your life.

Fitbit
This year, Fitbit released the Charge 3, the newest addition to the slew of trackers available for fitness lovers. Charge 3 is an advanced fitness tracker with goal-based exercise modes and 24/7 heart rate monitoring. Fitbit also offers the Versa, Alta HD and Iconic models, and each one has distinct features that will have anyone excited to be working out! If you are looking to help the kiddos get fit this holiday season, Fitbit also offers the Ace model for kids 8+.

Himalayan Salt Massage Stone
Gift this to the workout fiend who needs a bit of muscle relaxation and tension released from his or her body. The stone can be heated in the microwave or cooled in the freezer, depending on the type of massage desired. This is a great on-the-go solution for relieving tension knots!

For the Sports-Obsessed

FanChest
For the NFL, NHL or College sports fans in your life, FanChest sells boxes filled with apparel, fan gear, licensed merchandise and more. Choose a team and the type of box you want to send out and watch the recipient rock their favorite teams’ gear all season long! Keep an eye on FanChest, because it looks like NBA and MLB boxes will be added to the site soon!

Game Tickets
There is nothing like a live sporting event! You can never go wrong with gifting tickets to a game for the holidays. Whether the game is the following weekend or months away, the anticipation of seeing your favorite team play is always exciting.

Sports Fan Blankets and Throws
Give the gift of a cozy blanket representing the recipients’ sports teams of choice! They will love curling up with one of these blankets while watching their team play on the big screen!

For the Artists

Prismacolor Premier Double Ended Art Markers
This set of 72-count fine and brush tip markers from Prismacolor will kickstart the artistic inspiration in anyone. Add in this set of two sketchbooks and watch the masterpieces unfold.

Walls Notebook
Bring out the creative side in the artist you know with this unique gift. The Walls Notebook is filled with textured urban walls so the artist can draw in his or her own graffiti-style drawings and other doodles. 

Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure and Coloring Book
For the drawing-challenged, this adult coloring book is the perfect alternative. Plus, coloring has proven to be a great stress reliever! Pair this gift with a set of colored pencils!

For the Gamers

A40 TR Headset & MixAmp Pro TR
Help the gamers in your life feel like the pros with this headset that is compatible with PC, Mac and PS4. With Dolby® surround sound processing and voice chat capabilities, this headset also offers comfort and durability for any gamer.

Logitech G903 Wireless Gaming Mouse
This wireless gaming mouse utilizes LIGHTSPEED wireless technology to deliver high-performance capabilities for gamers. This lightweight mouse has up to 11 buttons, has great responsiveness and provides accuracy time after time. 

HyperX Alloy Elite Keyboard
Round off your gifts to the gamer in your life with this keyboard. The HyperX Alloy Elite includes features such as dedicated media buttons, dynamic lighting effects and a detachable wrist rest.

For the Card Players

Phase 10
This Rummy-style card game from the makers of Uno requires players to pass through 10 different phases or levels of play. The person who passes phase 10 first, wins! This game will have groups of friends or family playing for hours!

What Do You Meme?
G
ift the opportunity of out meme-ing friends and family with this picture-style card game. There are several add-on packs available for purchase as well!

Cards Against Humanity
It does not matter how many times this game is played — it never gets old! If everyone on your list already has the original Cards Against Humanity game, consider gifting some of the expansion packs to add onto the fun!

For your Coworkers

I Am Very Busy Coffee Mug
The mug says it all — gift this to the coworker who always seems to be working on something in the office!

Live Assorted Succulents
Spruce up any desk space with this set of four live succulents from Urban Outfitters. Succulents thrive in indoor and outdoor environments and do not require extensive care, so they are perfect for any office space!

Life Hacks Desk Calendar
Give the gift of 365 days of fun facts and life hacks with this desk calendar. Your coworkers will love learning all of the tips this calendar has to offer!

For the Pets

BarkBox
Give the dog(s) in your life the gift of a dog-party all month long! BarkBox sends out boxes that include toys, treats and a chew that match a particular theme each month. Snag the Grinch-themed box for the holidays before it runs out!

KitNipBox
KitNipBox is a subscription service that sends out boxes for cats that include toys and treats! Gift one box or a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription to your favorite kitties!

Bon Appetit Pet Mat
Help the pets in your life eat in style! This is a black and white rubber mat that will help pets keep the floors nice and clean while they chow down or grab a quick drink!

holiday gift guide: stocking stuffers

It truly is the most wonderful time of year, and with our Christmas tree up and decorated, I am in full Christmas mode. While four weeks may seem like a lot of time to go shopping for everyone on your list, time always seems to go by so quickly at this time of year. If you are anything like me — a holiday-shopping procrastinator who goes crazy looking for the right gifts for all of her family and friends — then perhaps you need a bit of guidance in finding the perfect gift for your loved ones.

To help you get the present ideas flowing, I will be posting gift guides to give you some ideas for the holiday season! This week is all about stocking stuffers for all of the girls and guys on your list!

Stocking Stuffers for Her

Tinsy Hoop and Stud Earring Set
Every year, Free People comes out with new earring sets that are the perfect stocking stuffers. This set comes with hoops and studs that are versatile enough for everyday wear. These earrings come in five different colors, so you can easily match any girl’s jewelry style!

Emily Jeffords Monogram Trinket Dish
This monogrammed dish is a beautifully hand-painted item that can be used to display jewelry. It can even be gifted as an add-on to the Free People earring set that is listed above!

Stella & Grace Anti-Wrinkle & Energizing Eye Masks
These eye masks are great to use after a late night out or when wanting to look revitalized and rejuvenated (because let’s be honest, who is really getting 8 hours of sleep every night?). These eye masks are sold in 12 and 24 packs.

Dark Magic Eyeshadow Palette
Morphe eyeshadow palettes always include beautiful colors, and the quality is always amazing. With 10 different shadow colors, this Dark Magic palette is just what a girl needs for the holiday season!

Women’s Ribbed Beanie with Faux-Fur Pom-Pom
This hat will keep any girl warm this winter, whether she is skiing down the slopes or braving a winter storm at home. The best part about it is that it comes in a variety of colors so you can pick her favorite!

Texting Gloves in Everyday Cashmere
The best part about gloves made for touchscreen use is that your hands can stay warm while you use your phone, watch, tablet or other devices! These gloves come in a variety of colors and are great for commuters or girls who are always on the go!

Monogram Candle
Candles are always a great gift, no matter what time of year! This monogram candle from Anthropolgie has a Sparkling Grapefruit scent, and it is a stylish addition to any home, apartment or dorm decor!

Snowman Bomb Bomb
Lush’s bath bombs are the stocking stuffers you need if the girl in your life needs some R&R. If you are looking for a cute holiday-themed stocking stuffer, gift her this Snowman Bomb Bomb bath bomb, which comes with two bath bombs that can be used separately or together! For more bath bombs scents, click here.

Suite One Studio Mimira Mug
For the girl who loves to kickstart her day with a cup of coffee, these Suite One Studio mugs are just what she needs. Help her stay caffeinated all winter long with these hand-painted mugs!

Stocking Stuffers for Him

BirchBoxMan’s Limited Edition Set: One For All
Let BirchBox do the work for you by choosing one of their carefully-curated boxes to fill up any guy’s stocking! From face and body care to shaving and beard care, BirchBox offers a ton of options to choose from. Once the box arrives, instead of wrapping the box for him to open under the tree, fill up his stocking with the products for a great surprise! Check out some of their other collections here!

Men’s Society Stow Away Travel Kit
F
or the guy who loves a weekend getaway, this travel kit filled with face wash and cream, a mini toothbrush and toothpaste and disposable face towels is perfect. This is a great stocking stuffer for the guy who always likes to be prepared for anything!

Cashmere Seedstitch Beanie and Navy Windowpane Alpaca Scarf
Keep him warm this winter with this hat and scarf combo! Who doesn’t like to be cozy and warm during these chilly winter months?!

Leather Gloves
Sticking with the “keeping him warm” theme, gloves are a great stocking stuffer! These leather gloves from Nordstrom are even touchscreen compatible!

Not Lost Canvas Passport Holder and Luggage Tag
A passport holder and luggage tag set is the perfect gift for the traveler in your life. Send him off on his next trip in style!

Native Union: Lightning Cable Collection
This Lightning Cable Collection will help keep all of his technology charged, whether he is at home or on the go. This collection comes with a keychain charger, a 4-ft charger and a 10-ft charger and is compatible with Apple-Lightning. There are additional options that can be found here.

The Art of Shaving: Beard Maintenance Kit
For the guy with a bit of scruff, this beard maintenance kit from The Art of Shaving includes beard wash, beard conditioner and beard oil to keep his beard clean and smooth all of the time!

Case-Mate Apple Watch Bands
If your guy wears an Apple Watch, chances are that he is using it for his workouts at the gym. Help him polish up his look from fitness fanatic to date-night ready by adding in a leather watch band in his stocking!

Swell Bottle with Personalization
Keep your man hydrated in style with a personalized Swell bottle! Other color and design options can be found here.

JCrew: Fabric Magic Wallet
This fabric wallet, available through JCrew Factory, is a great stocking stuffer for the guy who does not want to worry about the bulk of a wallet. Don’t forget to slip a dollar in for luck!


I hope these stocking stuffer ideas help you this holiday season! Happy Shopping!