Friday, November 19, 2021

Small Businesses To Shop this Holiday Season - Holiday Gift Guide

 Just like how it seems like everyone is on the same page about getting their holiday shopping done earlier this year, it feels like everyone is also in agreement about the importance of shopping small to support the businesses we know and love. Before I get too deep into gift guides for the season, I wanted to be sure to share some of my favorite online small businesses with y’all. 

When thinking about organizing this post, I quickly figured out that if I wrote a personal blurb about each of these businesses I love, then this post would likely become the length of a dissertation. Since I know that you’re more than likely to click through to the shops you’re interested in on your own and may not even read all I have to say, I decided to streamline things. I included a brief overview provided on each company’s website, as well as a link to my favorite item they sell that is currently available. This way you’re able to get a feel for each business without me overusing the words love, high-quality, small business, etc. I’ve included an item from each in the image below, but I will say these items are just scratching the surface of all these businesses have to offer, so let’s get into it before I lose you to all the pretty things they have to offer. 

Abbi Curtis Art

About: Abbi Custis creates unique abstracts that draw the eye and dominate a room. But as vibrant as her paintings may be, each evokes a serenity not often found amid the noise and distraction of life. Using everyday moments as her inspiration, Abbi defies traditional applications, often using power tools instead of paintbrushes and infusing epoxy resin with her paint, all to create one-of-a-kind pieces that are unapologetically alive.

Product Pick: Plate Set

Addison Bay

About: Addison Bay ® launched in 2018 with the mission of being the premier multi-brand destination for active fashion. With a focus on approachable style and function, Addison Bay ® curates the most fashion-forward and high-performance women’s activewear from across the globe – and along the way, is redefining the way the modern woman shops for activewear.

Product Pick: Pattison Leggings (I'd size up in Addison Bay leggings since I feel like they run a bit small)

A'mano Gifts

About: What would it look like to be surrounded by meaningful things that bring joy, relentless curiosity, and a continuous celebration of stories and the people who make them? That’s what A'mano is all about. Located in the heart of mountain brook village since 1998, a’mano is a lifestyle gallery that focuses on creating a welcoming and truly unique shopping experience. Everything in a’mano must fit one of the following criteria: it must be handmade, one-of-a-kind, or exhibit great design.

Product Pick: Acrylic Mexican Train Dominoes

Barrington Gifts

About: For twenty-five years, Barrington Gifts has been dedicated to the art of giving. We understand that at the intersection of what a gift means and how it makes the recipient feel is just a little bit of magic. Gifts are often at the center of the most important relationships in our lives. Combining our craftsmanship, luxury materials, innovative design, and personalization on every product, Barrington customers can make a significant impact for a reasonable price.

Product Pick: Captain's Bag

Bauble Stocking

About: A Bauble Stocking contains, or has a clue to, the final present of Christmas, a grand finale to the holiday. Growing up, my mom always received the last gift of Christmas as a thank you for all she'd done that year, and it, or a clue to it, was always in her needlepoint stocking that hung on our tree. My dad called it her "Bauble Stocking" because on a good year it was a bauble, a piece of jewelry. Each stocking is 100% hand-stitched and finished. In 2018, we moved our production to a community of single moms in Haiti.

Product Pick: Gumdrop Dreams

Breck & Grier

About: Breck and Grier, two sisters from Riverside, CT who have been on a seemingly never-ending hunt for the perfect beach bag. Taking matters into our own hands, we worked tirelessly to perfect the ideal tote and finally launched a collection of our very own! Alongside each bag’s authentic Moroccan craftsmanship, we designed a personalized tote that is individualized to your specific needs. 

Product Pick: Brecky Tote

Camilla Moss

About: I love creating from scratch and working with clients to develop custom artwork that speaks to them and compliments their design and style goals. My art career began with watercolor, although I enjoy exploring other mediums, including acrylics. My works include custom paintings of watercolor monograms, to architecture and nature. Regardless of the medium, my end goal is always the same: to create classic, custom art that will forever be a part of a family’s home and heart.

Product Pick: Garland VI Ornament

Caroline Boykin

About: Caroline’s work centers around emotional balance within a moment. Elements of architecture and nature combine in multiple mediums to create tension in weight of color and delicacy of the subject. 

Product Pick: 

Chappy Wrap

About: Around here, we have one simple mission: provide comfort to everyone, everywhere with the best blankets in the world. Calming, warm, and a breeze to care for, your ChappyWrap is sure to become an essential part of your everyday life! With a ChappyWrap, no matter where you are—you’re home.

Product Pick: Captain's Classic Blanket in Light Blue

Coley Home

About: After several years of studying, designing, and eventually developing her own textiles, Coley decided it was finally time to bring her vision to life. Coley Home brings a specially crafted collection of bedroom furnishings, gifts, and textiles inspired by design and function.

Product Pick: Porter Side Table

Crosby by Mollie Burch

About: CROSBY by Mollie Burch is a women’s contemporary clothing line distinguished by custom prints, vibrant color, and whimsical design. Founded on the desire to fight social injustice, CROSBY uses bright designs to support organizations that aid victims of sex trafficking. Our slogan, #ShineYourBright, aims to empower women to be their boldest, brightest selves.

Product Pick: Rose Dress

Day Designer

About: Day Designer products combine beautiful designs, helpful content, and easy-to-use planning pages that inspire and guide users to find balance, focus, and productivity.

Product Pick: 2022 Daily Planner in Artisan Motif

Dogwood Hill

About: Dogwood Hill is a purveyor of semi-custom stationery and wedding paper for discerning clients with a taste for luxurious, artfully driven paper without the lengthy design time or high price point.

Product Pick: Bauble and Tinsel Gift Tags

Dudley Stephens

About: Pieces that are thoughtfully designed by and for modern women, and made with innovative, recycled fabrics. Pieces that are timelessly stylish, versatile, and durable to love—and last—wear upon wear. That’s Dudley Stephens. We make outfit-making staples for instant comfort and style, hand-in-hand, in colors and sizes to make you look and feel your best—wherever your days take you. As a female-founded, family-owned retailer, we take pride in manufacturing and retailing responsibly. Our pieces are made in the US, sold direct-to-consumer and through select retail storefronts.

Product Pick: Cobble Hill in Navy/White

Evelyn Henson

About: Led by the mantra “painting is a celebration of life,” I seek to create stylish art that colorfully celebrates the everyday. I look at places and things, but most of my paintings begin when I think about others and what I can paint to brighten their day.

Product Pick: Petal to the Metal Print

Goldbug Collection

About: Goldbug Collection is Charleston-based costume jewelry and gift brand. Designed by 4th generation sisters at Croghan’s Jewel Box, Mini Mariana Hay and Kathleen Hay Haygood. They are the 4th generation at their family jewelry store, Croghan’s Jewel Box in Charleston, South Carolina. Together with their team, they send bug love all over the country! 

Product Pick: Hydrangea Blue Enamel Bug Cuff

Heidi Carey 

About: I founded Heidi Carey in 2016 with a simple goal: To create beautiful, timeless accessories for my friends and their friends. I understood who they were at their core, and what types of things we all were looking for as we all moved along in our lives. It’s why my pieces are conceived for the woman who values both elegance and understatement; versatility and superb value.

Product Pick: Blue French Terry Robe

Hibiscus House

About: Native to the tropical regions and blooming in a rainbow of colors, the Hibiscus flower represents femininity, hospitality, and happiness; all things Hibiscus House founder, Elizabeth, envisioned for her brand. Hibiscus House has a passion for bringing new life to great pieces of the past while specializing in custom lacquer. We offer a variety of Floridian-style home furnishings and décor that are sure to make a statement in any space! 

Product Pick: White Furniture Credenza

J. Lowery

About:  Our philosophy is simple—Create meaningful accessories for the people who inspire and influence us each day. We aspire to design beautiful, quality pieces that fit seamlessly into your lifestyle and personal aesthetic. Distinctive handbags that are understated, effortless, and confident—Much like the women who carry them.

Product Pick: Max Bucket Bag

Joy Creative Shop

About: We firmly believe that the simplest things inspire the greatest joy. You’ll see that our designs are simple on purpose. We dream in color and our goal as a brand is to help you find unique ways to express gratitude throughout your day. Everything we do is approached through a lens of ease: Would this make it easier to tell someone you’re thinking of them? Could we ease someone into the practice of gratitude if we offered this type of product? Would this make it easier to get kids to write thank-you notes?

Product Pick: Task Notepad

Lucy Grymes

About: Lucy Grymes is a paper and lifestyle brand that strives to create paper goods that are beautiful and easy to use. Our hope is that these products will inspire your creativity while putting the ease and enjoyment back into entertaining. As we continue to grow, we hope to expand the breadth and depth of our product line.

Product Pick: Skiing Scalloped Paper Placemat

Kate Scialabba

About: Kate creates fluid, yet structured pieces by combining organic shapes and brushstrokes with geometry and pattern. She composes each piece by deconstructing and reconstructing images from her travels, growing up on the coast, and life in the city.

Product Pick: Tablescape IV

Katie Kime

About: Launched in Austin, Texas in 2013, Katie Kime is a bold, print-based lifestyle brand inspired by Katie’s own spirited approach to dressing both herself and her home. Her singular style - think preppy chic goes globe-trotting - is noted for southern sensibility with global influences. Traditional wares meet colorful, modern prints. Optimistic, bright, and often unexpected. 

Product Pick: Playtime Ice Bucket

Maxwell and Geraldine

About: We are identical twin sisters living on opposite coasts of the U.S. who talk every day and love a good dress. A few years ago, we started dreaming about making chic, beautiful dresses that were missing from our closets. Do you know those hard-to-find, easy-to-wear styles that add instant polish? When you find one, it’s like winning the wardrobe lottery. You hold on to it for years and reach for it again and again. We wanted more of them, and we thought you might too.

Product Pick: The Brooke in Blue

Mi Golondrina

About: Inspired by my mother’s Mexican heritage and love of Mexican art, I wanted to continue telling the story of Mexican art by preserving the traditions of hand-embroidery and empowering artisans throughout Mexico.  Every Mi Golondrina garment is born in the small villages of Mexico, hand-stitched by skilled artisans who have been using these methods for over 200 years. 

Product Pick: Multicolor Embroidered Blouse

Packed Party

About: We're on a mission to get the world partying because we believe in celebrating the little things. People won't remember what you say, but they'll always remember the way you make 'em feel so we strive to design products that spark conversation, celebration, or just a smile. After all, isn't that what life's all about?

Product Pick: Jolly Jingle and Mingle Cup Stack

Paper Eliza

About: Paper Eliza was a happy accident. I didn’t dream about opening a custom stationery shop as a little girl. Confession, I dreaded the ritual of writing thank you notes post birthdays and Christmas. In high school, I was yearbook editor and dreamed of working in publishing. I dabbled in the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, fine-tuning my InDesign, PhotoShop, and Illustrator skills and loved to paint in my free time. Freshman year of college, I missed the creative outlet yearbook provided and found myself accepting a marketing internship with a graphic designer who specialized in helping small businesses grow through social media. She shared an office with a beautiful wedding stationery-er and I worked for them both - exporting documents, handling printer relations, and packing collections. I loved it and learned what it took to run a successful small business from two incredible girl bosses. A handful of friends were familiar with my creative side and commissioned me to make them custom stationery sets for their summers abroad. I sketched the illustrations, saved the documents, called the printing company that I was familiar with, and placed the order. To open an account with the printers and print the cards, they asked the name of my paper business. Thrown off guard and in a moment of panic, I answered “Paper Eliza” and the rest is history. 

Product Pick: 2021-2022 Planner

Pomegranate Inc

About: Worry about who's gathered in the chairs; we've got your table covered with exclusive hand-blocked linens & accessories.

Product Pick: Jewel Blossom Napkins

Red Clay 

About: While out for dinner a few years ago, Molly Fienning encountered one of Charleston’s culinary urban legends: a hot sauce that patrons were stealing right off the restaurant table. She was amused by the sauce’s lore and added a few dashes to her meal. The Fresno-based sauce was full of flavor, subtle heat and complemented every bite. Suddenly, Molly had become a hot sauce person. The newly converted hot sauce fanatic begged the chef to visit her table and they traded stories about food, flavor, and family. Having never been a big fan of hot sauce, she was enamored by the literally life-changing sauce Chef Geoff Rhyne had created. Within the year, they partnered to bring Geoff’s sauce to tables across the country – no subversive dinner thievery required.

Product Pick: The Whole Shebang Set

Room 422

About: Room 422 currently serves as a one-stop shop for all the necessities you need to deck out your room. My hope is that with a variety of patterns and colors, each customer can mix and match to create their personal home away from home.

Product Pick: Ruth Spa Headboard

Sant and Abel

About: Whether you’re caught running to the corner store at the crack of dawn for milk, inadvertently locking yourself out of the hotel room as you grab the morning paper, or mowing your front lawns, Sant and Abel is the brand you will want to be caught wearing, day and night.

Product Pick: Christmas Tree Pajama Set

Sea Marie Designs

About: Sea Marie Designs is a curated collection of affordable & beautiful year-round Coastal style accessories. I started this shop as a creative outlet once my youngest daughter started school a few days a week in April 2019. With a degree & background in Interior Design as well as Showroom Buying & Speciality Retail, I knew E-Commerce would be the perfect marriage to allow the flexibility of a stay-at-home mom, and a passion for customer service and design. 

Product Pick: Block Print Cosmetic Bags

Smith & Co. Jewel Design

About: A graduate from The University of Alabama, Smith Hinton Dickens started her career in the textile business working under the most established designers in the interior industry. She gained creative perspective and inspiration while working alongside some of the most innovative designers across the country. Through her experience and true love for fashion, she launched Smith and Co. Jewel Design in 2020, focusing on creating unique accessories inspired by the classics. Smith now lives in Wilmington, NC with her husband, Skip.

Product Pick: City Girl Hoops

Susan Gordon

About: Susan Gordon is truly a creator at heart.  She is dedicated to bringing timeless beauty into everyday life, and her love of clay and commitment to lifelong pieces set the tone for her journey with ceramics. Keeping classic taste at the core of her design, what began as handmade pottery and jewelry have become so much more.

Product Pick: Framed Intaglio

Sprinkled with Pink

About: Sprinkled with Pink is a Dallas-based, female-founded brand that brings a pop of fun to all of life's happiest celebrations. Our personalized accessories add the perfect touch for bachelorette parties. 

Product Pick: Vegan Leather Phone Case

Vivian Drew

About: Hayley Drinkard's inspiration for Vivian Drew is rooted in her two daughters, Vivi and Drew. After deciding to stay home when she was pregnant with her youngest daughter, Drew, Hayley found herself praying feverishly about how she could contribute to her family income. Soon thereafter she decided to treat herself to a nice piece of jewelry, because as she said, no one wants to buy clothes right after having a baby. While searching for the perfect necklace, God opened her eyes to the possibility of creating her own jewelry line. She shared this revelation with her husband, and of course, he was very supportive. The rest is history… Vivian Drew history.

Product Pick: Pearl Bouquet Studs

I hope y'all enjoyed reading about some of these small businesses and found great items worth gifting too! 

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

The Best Big Ticket Gifts I've Received

 As I’ve gotten older, my Christmas list has become more and more practical, but also over the years it has become filled with more expensive items too. While I wish that weren’t the case that is what tends to happen when you’re able to buy the smaller things you may want throughout the year thanks to a paycheck. Take yesterday’s Christmas wish list post, for example, even a pair of practical running shoes is over $100. I know many of y’all also try to include more practical items on your wish list which made me think that as you’re making your list and checking it twice it could be helpful for me to share some of the best big-ticket gifts I’ve received. 

Some of these have been gifted to me by my family, some by myself, and others by the brands so I’d like to think that the only bias included is my opinion and personal style. I’m hopeful that many of these items will go on sale in the coming weeks making them a bit more affordable for gifting. Even still, all of these things are items I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth from! I hope you find this useful as you make your wish list and start shopping for gifts! 

Barbour Jacket

While there is definitely a bit of sticker shock when you see the price of a waxed Barbour jacket for the first time, I can assure you it is worth EVERY penny. This is, without a doubt, one of the most worn items in my closet. I received mine for Christmas my freshman year of college (meaning I’ve had it for a long time) and wear it regularly for almost three full seasons of the year. I have the Barbour Beadnell jacket in the color Sage in a U.S. 6 and have since invested in a hood and liner for the coat. Even with those additions, I think that if I had a quarter for every time I wear it, I would have another one or even two in my closet. I have sent it to be rewaxed before by the Barbour team in North Carolina, and it came back feeling like a brand-new jacket. As long as you continue to take care of it, it’s a piece that can last forever. If you’re considering purchasing a Barbour jacket, I have shared a complete guide on the brand and their jackets in this post.

Dyson Vacuum

A Dyson Vacuum was a bit of a pipe dream on my Christmas list last year and I was both shocked and elated when I opened it up on Christmas morning. I even had my family skip my next turn to open a gift so that I could get it set up and ready to use (which probably made my mom happy come time for cleanup). Having a cordless vacuum really is a game-changer, and this one is powerful while still being pretty compact. It’s an investment, but Dyson also sells refurbished options (as does Amazon) that cut the price tag quite a bit! 

Weezie Towels

During Weezie’s big birthday sale this past year I decided to finally bite the bullet and purchase new bath towels. The ones I was using had held up well but had seen better days which is to be expected since I had had them since high school graduation. After my first use of my Weezie Piped Edge Bath Towel, I questioned what took me so long to upgrade. I love the way they look and feel and even after washing them weekly they look as good as they did when I first opened them. I also love my short sleeve Weezie robe, which would make another great gift! 

Michelle Watch 

One of the most unbelievable collaborations I’ve gotten to do through my blog was the one I did around the time of my college graduation with Michele Watches. I didn’t fully expect the collaboration to be a reality until this watch showed up in the mail. I remember a few friends were with me when I picked up the package, and they made me unwrap it in front of them so they could see it too. At first, I thought I would only wear it on occasion, but since receiving it well over four years ago, I’ve worn it almost every day. The square face is modern yet still classic, and the ability to change the bands has been an unexpected feature that I’ve adored since it makes it feel like I have more options to choose from. A watch had never really been on my wish list, and now I can’t imagine not having it on me at all times. 

Gold Family Crest Ring

A couple of years ago for Christmas, my sister-in-law gave me one of the most thoughtful gifts. When she and my brother had gotten married, she originally wanted something with her new monogram (we are slowly convincing her of how fun southern traditions can be) but came across a family crest ring instead. She got one for herself and gifted one to me for Christmas, and I wear it daily. I love that it looks like a classic signet ring with a really sweet story behind it! I wish I had thought to gift it to her as a way to further welcome her into the family, but it was so thoughtful for her to give it to me! Since it was a gift. I don’t know exact details on the crest's size or where it is from, but I’ve linked one that looks incredibly similar to mine.

David Yurman Bracelets

I have this one and this one.

Sticking with the jewelry trend, my David Yurman bracelets, like my Michele watch, are items I reach for daily. My first David Yurman was actually a gift to myself, my sophomore of high school. I had seen them and loved the simplistic style and combination of metals and eventually saved up enough money to purchase my own. I have since added to my collection and love the layered look and variety of bracelets made by the brand. As such a timeless piece, I could see many girls categorizing a David Yurman bracelet as one of the best gifts they have received as well. 

Mark and Graham Luggage

I used to rely on my parents’ suitcases in our attic, but once I moved out, I figured it was about time I have my own luggage. I own both the carry-on and checked size of this hard-shell suitcase and love the navy color's classic appearance. What’s great about this luggage is that you can go ahead and buy it as a set or break up the gift and order the various sizes separately. The hard exterior makes me think that everything inside is well protected, and the navy striped lining when you unzip it is pretty cute too. 

Barrington Gifts Tote

I love tote bags and am under the impression that you can never really have too many. That’s a good mindset to have when narrowing down which Barrington Gifts St. Anne Tote print to purchase. Thanks to my indecision, I now have five different prints of Barrington Gift’s totes. The durability and functionality of it are what keep me coming back to it time and time again. Whether I’m carrying my laptop, magazines, and other work supplies or textbooks in college, these totes only get better with age. Thanks to the customized nature, I also love that you can create exactly what you want to fit your style when making this purchase! You can see one of them in the first image of this post! 

Longchamp Le Pliage Large Tote 

I warned you that I love tote bags! I received my very first Longchamp bag in eighth grade and have been a huge fan of the brand ever since. While I’ve outgrown that first medium-sized chocolate brown one I received years ago, my navy, large Le Pliage tote is the perfect bag to tote to the gym or pack in when heading out of town. The material is so durable, and the style is simple enough to be used as an accessory or luggage easily! 

Patagonia Puffer Jacket

Sometimes a gift to yourself can’t be beaten since you know precisely what you want. That’s how I feel about this Patagonia Puffer Jacket that I got for myself during the Nordstrom Anniversary sale this year. I have a white North Face puffer jacket that I got before my 8th-grade class trip to Washington D.C. (it’s as shocking to me as it probably is to y’all that this jacket still fits and appears to be white) and decided it was finally time for an upgrade. I chose this jacket in particular because it would be easy to put on over other jackets and can be packed up into a very tiny size. It gets so much wear in the winter when I am in comfy leggings, and the better sweater pullover from the brand has been another great buy. 

Frye Riding Boots

Two years ago for Christmas, I received these boots but only because my previous identical pair had been quite literally worn through. I had them resoled a few times, but I wore them so much that the last time (when I could see my sock through the sole of the shoe) I was considering resoling them, it became clear that a new pair would be a better investment. I had kept my eyes peeled for something similar and classic that I liked equally so I wouldn’t be asking for the exact same thing I already had, but nothing fit that bill, so the Frye Melissa Riding Boots were unwrapped (again) on Christmas morning. From November until March, I wear these boots frequently with dresses or jeans. The quality of Frye’s boots is unparalleled, and I’ve been impressed by how good these boots still look despite the countless treks across campus I’ve put them through. 

LL Bean Duck Boots

Growing up, I called these farm boots since we always knew to pack them when we went to our grandparents’ house, which we call the farm. I even have one of my aunt’s pair from college in my closet since these shoes last forever! Whether you’re looking for something easy to hose off when dirty or keep your toes warm in the snow, these boots can fit the bill! 

MacBook Pro

I spent more time with this computer than I did with my family while in college. If that’s not a scary realization, I’m not sure what is, but it’s the reality. I was lucky enough to replace that first MacBook Pro I received in high school and used so much that it had to have its hard drive replaced with a newer one for my master’s graduation that I hope will have an equally lengthy lifetime. From college applications, starting a blog, four years of college coursework, teaching lesson plans, graduate coursework, and the occasional Netflix binge, I’ve spent a lot of time behind the screen of a Macbook and can undoubtedly say it is worth the investment. 

Lake Pajamas 

I wish I could come up with where my love of pajama sets originated, but I think it started at a very young age. I always remember opening my pajama drawer to find matching sets to grab. I suppose I never outgrew that since my pajama drawer now is still the same way with many of those sets from Lake Pajamas. I could rave about these for days (and actually did yesterday) and understand why some people may be hesitant to purchase them. They are expensive for a pair of pajamas, but the quality is unparalleled. Pajamas are one of those items that get more wear than many of my real clothes, and I use that as an excuse to spend a little more on them. The material of these P.J.s is so soft, and the different colors and lengths mean they make a fantastic gift for a variety of people! 


I don’t lose things often, but unfortunately, AirPods are something that I’ve lost. After punishing myself for having misplaced them I finally purchased a replacement pair. They make moving around and doing different tasks while listening to music, books, and podcasts so much easier. I love not having to worry about a cord on walks and runs and overall think these are a great buy that I wish I hadn’t waited so long to get behind. I have the non-noise canceling version, but if you’re looking for the noise canceling ones, I’ve seen them here. 

KitchenAid Mixer

My mom was looking to upgrade the KitchenAid Mixer she’d had for years and did so by giving me that one and purchasing a new one. I’m so glad she did because I got a KitchenAid out of it, and given how much I enjoy baking, it’s a gift that keeps on giving! I can also attest to the fact that they last and hold up so well! Mine is a basic white one, but if I were to ever upgrade I’d want one that holds a larger size bowl. 

I’d love to hear what your most-used bigger ticket gift items have been! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

My 2021 Christmas and Birthday Wish List

 Drum roll, please! After being asked by my parents multiple times, I am finally sharing my Christmas and birthday (12/26) wish list. It may have taken me longer than expected to come up with what to put on it this year, but I think this is the earliest I’ve shared my own wish list since I typically wait until after Thanksgiving to get this live. I know supply chain issues have everyone eager to get started on their Christmas shopping this year, so I understand my parent’s sense of urgency in getting this from me! 

With a birthday the day after Christmas, this is the one time of year that I put together a wish list, and in years past, it has been a bit more practical of a round-up. It took me a while to come up with items this time since I definitely don't need anything and because of that I’ve included some things I’ve had my eyes on for quite a while but haven’t ever asked for or purchased for myself. Since my parents tend to shop directly from this blog post, I’ve included links to the items, color preferences, and sizing right here for them! Last year they knocked it out of the park by gifting me a Dyson Vacuum from my wish list, which I wasn’t expecting to actually receive, so by putting down more ideas than I’d ever anticipate being gifted it’ll be fun to be surprised on Christmas morning! 

To shop these pieces I’ve included links directly below this image and in the text beneath as well as a clickable image at the bottom of this post. 

I am on the verge of finishing my full size bottle of this perfume and thought having a travel size container of it would fill in well for a while. That was before my travel container of it fell on my bathroom floor and shattered. My bathroom still smells fantastic because of it, but now I don't have any of my favorite scent left to wear. 

The pandemic really changed my preferences in planners since I was using a to-do list alongside a monthly calendar since I didn't want to purchase a 2021 planner after only using my 2020 one for a few months. After a lot of research I stubbed upon this one which seems to fit all of my recent calendar needs. 

Last weekend I went through all of my socks and decided it was time to purge some of the ones with holes. I even decided to get rid of some of my sticky workout socks that weren't quite as sticky anymore. Because of that, I'd love a couple of new pairs since they are what I wear too MPower. I've had a number of Sticky Be socks over the years and think they have the cutest styles and hold up well! 

size: 8.5
I hate buying new running shoes. It feels like punishment for being active. I always get the exact same style, so this year I figured I'd put them on my Christmas list as an option instead of waiting to purchase them until I am in desperate need. I have this exact same model, but would love to switch it up a bit in my next pair with this color. 

color: Cobalt
Last year as a combined gift, Nell gave me two of these last year for Christmas and my birthday and they were such a sweet surprise. I love colored glassware and think it would be fun to continue to build on my collection! If you're looking for a great gift these are especially awesome since they are packaged really beautifully. 

size: Medium
I've loved this print and style of pajamas for a long time and realize I don't have many pairs of long sleeve, long pant pajamas. While they are expensive I know they'd get a lot of wear and be fun to reach for when getting ready for bed! 

size: Small
This is definitely a "reach" present, but that's what a wishlist is for, right? I have a shirt from Mi Golondrina that I gifted myself for surviving my first and only year of teaching and to date it is still one of my favorite clothing pieces I own. It gets a ton of wear and makes me smile when I reach for it! I think Mi Golondrina's dresses are equally as beautiful and unique, and I love that they've started incorporating patterned fabrics alongside their embroidery. 

I love cooking out of a cookbook. I still find plenty of recipes to make online, but having a hard copy in front of me is way better than staring at my phone while cooking. A few of my favorite cooking accounts to follow on Instagram have cookbooks out or coming out that I don't own but would love to! 

I've heard great thinks about this moisturizer and am always looking for something to brighten my complexion up a bit. Vitamin C is a great way to do that and I'd love to give this a try! 

size: 10 (I like these loose)
I love these Lululemon shirts but they run pretty tight. I've actually found an Amazon alternative for most of the short sleeve ones, but have Lululemon's striped version in long sleeves and would love it in short sleeves as well. 

I asked for this last year and I think my family thought it was a joke, but here it is again in full proof that I was serious!

size: 8.5
color: Latte Suede
One hole in my closet that I've been noticing the past month or so when getting ready is a pair of neutral shoes that works well with jeans and dresses that isn't boots, booties, or sneakers. My friend Sophia loves her Birdies and I love the look of them! I think these would be both cute and practical making them a great gift idea. 

My mom LOVES an antique mall or estate sale. She's always telling me when good sales are happening in Birmingham and goes to the ones she can in Fairhope. She finds it fun to have a few wishlist items that she can keep her eyes peeled for while she's shopping. Gold bangles are always on mine. I have a thicker smooth one and a thinner etched one both of which I love wearing when getting dressed up. I'd love to add more to my collection as she sees them at a great price. The ones linked are really just for look and I can't imagine paying that much knowing the deals she gets at her sales! 

This is another item I have my mom keep her eyes peeled for when shopping. Since I often have leftover flowers from shoots it would be nice to have cute, small vessels for me to display around my house. The ones linked are from Surcie and look to be sold out, but hopefully, they have something similar soon if you're on the hunt for cute vases! 

I'd love to know what y'all are asking for this holiday season!

Monday, November 15, 2021

Step Into My Week 11.15

 Happy Monday! Happy to report that if you’re reading this then you’ve survived the first week of it getting darker earlier this year. I don’t mind cold weather, but the shortened days definitely feel like they contribute to my productive hours shortening too. This week that wasn’t too much of a problem though since I had Thursday and Friday off from work. 

I started my week as I typically do with a class at MPower before showering, picking up flowers, and heading into the office. I had a shoot the previous Thursday, which meant I had some unpacking that needed to be done to return the products I borrowed. I also was scheduled for a shoot on Wednesday and wanted to begin repacking for that. Those tasks were briefly interrupted by a meeting at 11:00, and afterward, I went to Trader Joes to get a few more flowers on my way home. Once at home, I arranged the flowers for my shoot and sent some follow-up emails out. Later in the afternoon, I met my friend Ellen (who happened to be my sorority grand little) for a walk on Jemison Trail. I was supposed to have bible study that night, but we all agreed to use the night as a catchup day which gave me time to work that night. I had made lasagna soup in my crockpot, which I happily ate for dinner.

Tuesday, I went to MPower before working from home most of the day. Later on, I went to the Hibiscus House showroom for a little bit to regroup with Elizabeth. Our sink and dishwasher were having some issues, so it was nice to cook dinner at Hunter’s house that night. We finished watching Netflix’s Squid Games, and I left pretty early to go to bed.

Wednesday was my only shoot day of the week, but since it was a location shoot, I was in the office pretty early to finalize all of my props and load them in my car. We couldn’t have asked for more beautiful fall weather and had the perfect setting to execute the shoot. I think we wrapped around 2:00, and I was able to go back to the office to unload everything before making my way home. Eventually, I showered and ate dinner, but I spent most of the evening working on blog content and Hibiscus House tasks while watching Gilmore Girls. 

Since Thursday was Veteran’s Day, I was given the day off from work and went to MPower a little bit later in the morning than usual. I went to the Hibiscus House showroom for a while before heading home to change for a Friendsgiving I had that night. Hunter and I made what we were taking and finished helping set up at our friend’s house before everyone else showed up. Sadly, I didn’t take any photos, but we had quite the spread and were able to sit on their screened porch for our meal.

I decided to take Friday off since I still have a substantial amount of unused vacation time and celebrated by sleeping in a little bit. Eventually, I got up and started my day, and around 11:00 met Elizabeth at the Birmingham Home and Garden Inspiration Home. We were there for about 30 minutes touring it and taking pictures before grabbing lunch and going to the Hibiscus House showroom to take a few styled photos. I worked from home later in the afternoon and met up with my friends around 5:30 for a drink before dinner at Slims in Crestline Village. We all split pizzas and enjoyed delicious cocktails before heading our separate ways. I think I was home and asleep before 10:30! 


Saturday morning, I enjoyed coffee in bed before taking an MPower class. When I came home, I cleaned the house, did some laundry, and showered before meeting up with the same friends from the night before for lunch at Brick & Tin. After lunch, we did some shopping around the villages, and I eventually went home to take it easy for a bit before needing to get ready for a wedding Hunter and I attended that night. The ceremony was at a church in Birmingham with a reception to follow at the Birmingham Country Club. The food was amazing and the bartenders were very generous in their pours which kept everyone on the dancefloor for most of the event. I got home around 11:00 and was excited to take off my heels and put on pajamas before going to bed! 

I slept in a bit on Sunday before getting up and getting some work done. Midmorning, I treated myself to Crestline Bagel before working through some more tasks. In the afternoon, I went on a walk and talked on the phone with my parents and once I was back at my house made the food I was taking for that night’s Friendsgiving. Before getting ready and going to that, I had a zoom meeting for about an hour. Friendsgiving started around 6:30 and we all left around 8:00 VERY full. We had a delicious spread of all the Thanksgiving regulars and it was good to get together before we head our separate ways to spend the holiday with our families. Once I was home I did a little bit more work before getting in bed and falling asleep before 10:00.

I hope y’all had an equally restful and fun week! 

Saturday, November 13, 2021

What To Wear For Thanksgiving - Thanksgiving Outfit Ideas

Thanksgiving will be here before we know it, and if you’re anything like me, you’re probably already thinking about what you may want to wear. Personally, this doesn’t make a ton of sense given that my family is small and we don’t have big plans for the day, but given the occasion, it’s still fun to dress up a little bit. With all the food I’m bound to consume day-of my preference is typically a dress, but I know that may not be the case for everyone, so I included some more casual outfit ideas in this post as well. 

Since I’ll be heading to Fairhope for part of my time off for Thanksgiving if I’m going to order anything to pack to take home I’m going to need to do that asap. Even if you’re staying put, I don’t think it would be a bad idea to go ahead and order a piece if you’re planning to purchase something new since shipping delays have already been a recognizable issue this holiday season. In case you missed it, I shared blog posts featuring cute tops and cute dresses that would also provide great inspiration for what to wear for Thanksgiving! 

If you’re interested in shopping any of the pieces shown, links to each of the items can be found beneath the image! 

Thanksgiving Outfit Idea Number 1

Thanksgiving Outfit Idea Number 2

Thanksgiving Outfit Idea Number 3

Thanksgiving Outfit Idea Number 4

Would also look so cute with THESE!

Thanksgiving Outfit Idea Number 5

Thanksgiving Outfit Idea Number 6

Thanksgiving Outfit Idea Number 7

Thanksgiving Outfit Idea Number 8

Thanksgiving Outfit Idea Number 10

Thanksgiving Outfit Idea Number 11

What are you planning to wear? 

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Prep In Your Step Top Reader Clicked & Purchased Gifts

 ‘Tis the season for holiday-related content! I’m already feeling behind this year (which is no fun), but everyone got a very early start and when I went on a long walk on Sunday, I saw three Christmas trees already set up (what!?). While I still don’t plan to set up my Christmas tree until after Thanksgiving, I am doing my very best to go ahead and order Christmas presents. With expected shipping delays and supply chain issues if there’s ever a year to get on top of shopping it’s this one! 

By this time last year, I already had a few gift guides live, but late is better than never and I always like to start my guides for the season by looking back at the past year’s most popular items! For not being a math person I oddly love looking into analytics which is how I came across the items I’m sharing today.

Top Reader Purchased Gifts

The image below features which gifts I shared last year were my top reader purchases. Unfortunately, I’m not able to confirm based on my analytics that once clicked the items shown are the ones actually purchased, but these products did lead to the most sale click-throughs! It’s such an interesting combination of items, but I appreciate y’alls range in price points with these pieces! 

1. Frye Melissa Button Boot 

2. Monogrammed Jean Jacket

3. Hand Painted Pet Ornament

4. Ceramic Custom Cache Pot

5. Nordstrom CZ Necklace

6. Family Crest Ring

7. Anecdote 'Adulting' Candle

8. ABC Jogger Pants

9. Lake Pajamas

10. Intaglio on Canvas

Top Reader Clicked Gifts

I find this category of “clicked” gifts to be a bit more accurate since unlike the purchased gifts I know this is the exact item you went to see from my gift guides regardless of if you decided to purchase the item. It’s very clear that y’all are my people with the inclusion of this gift! I need to order a few this year to have on hand for dirty Santa and even to make Christmas morning more entertaining! 

1. Amazon Sweater

2. Vintage Havana Sneakers

3. Vintage Board Game Box

4. Coffee Mug Warmer

5. Honeydew PJ Set

6. Home Exterior Watercolor

7. Pinch Errand Kit

8. Margarita Machine - Prank Gift Box

9. Laddered Standing Desk

10. Neck & Back Massager

I’ll be saying this a lot in the coming weeks, but if you’re eager to start your shopping and I haven’t gotten around to making a guide for who you are shopping for then be sure to check out last year’s gift guides. I compiled ALL of them here and hate to say this about something I created, but they are really really really good! 

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