Valentines Day Gift Guide 2022

Love is in the air! Or maybe it’s the intoxicating combination that is my night serum, a bowl of Sixlets and the Christmas cookie candle I am polishing off? Anyone else a Sixlet fan while we’re on the subject? I feel like Sixlets are to candy as Hallmark movies are to cinema. They pass as a candy and I do enjoy the crunch, but there is hardly any substance.

But today I am not here to talk about candy-oh wait, YES I AM. I am here to talk about sweets, and candles and flowers and anything else cheesy or dipped in fakey chocolate. As previously mentioned time and time again, I am a real sucker for Valentines Day. Love the color palette, love the gifts, love the vibe, love it all. And now more than ever – what the world needs now is love, sweet love.

I have rounded up some of the best gift ideas for the lad, lady or wee-lass in your life! And here they are:

Le Maxi Macaron Rouge & Moi Kit

I got this kit for Christmas a couple of years ago and I have just loved it. Le Mini Macaron polishes are a one-step gel nail polish that require an LED lamp. In this particular kit, the lamp is a macaron -yes, a MACARON.

The manicures easily last 2 weeks and soak off without too much work with acetone. The brand has a decent range of colors and a shiny top coat which I have recently tried.

Shades: Rose Antique and Rose Dahlia

I recently tried this opaque white and was really impressed with the result. The below picture is after approximately 9 days of wear.

Sol de Janiero ’40 Black Amber Plum & Vanilla Woods Body Mist

All of the fragrance mists from Sol de Janeiro are wonderful in their own right. And this warm floral scent is absolutely perfect for Valentines Day. At some point I will likely own the whole lineup, including ’71 (the carmelized vanilla and macadamia one) because who doesn’t want to smell like a SNACK?

Heart Print Puffed Shoulder Sweatshirt and Pearl Embellished Pink Sweater

YOU GUYS. These sweaters are Charter Club from Macys. Am I 400 years old or has Charter Club stepped up their game? Because I find both of these tops to be quintessentially Valentines Day adorable. I need both and will pair them with a bow in my hair.

Name Stories Print

Wouldn’t it be so sweet to do a little collage of these with all your family member’s names? The above-pictured prints come in 16 color choices and the section at the very top is customizable. Here are a couple of others for reference:

The quality is un-matched and the site has over 4,000 names to choose from. Also, the print comes expertly packed between very sturdy cardboard so it arrives in pristine condition.

Customized Pint Glass from Well Told

A perfect gift for the drink-lover, be it beer, wine, coffee, whiskey or water – these beautifully etched items are unique and can be super personalized. Each item can be customized with any U.S city (seriously! even really small towns), college town, night sky, or topography. Of course I had to make a Portland map for my David. He loves this glass and always gets it out when we have company over so everyone can ooh and aah over his cool glass. Check out some of these other ideas!

Subscription Boxes

I have been really into watching subscription box reviews lately and feel that these would make such fun gift ideas! I have heard great things about the Jilly Box, the Margot Elena box and Universal Yums.

Some of you might know that I also subscribe to get Billie razor refill blades delivered every other month.

I love Billie’s products, their packaging and basically everything else they stand for. ALSO – have you seen their dry shampoo bottle? Ridiculously cute.

I have a referral link for Billie (anyone can get one!) which gives me $5 off if you are interested in signing up.

I also recently tried the Nudge oral care subscription, which came with:

  • Fluoride-free natural toothpaste
  • 2 sustainably sourced bamboo toothbrushes
  • 100% biodegradable floss
  • Alcohol-free and fresh concentrated mouthwash

These products are all-natural, sustainably sourced, use responsible packaging and are kid-friendly. I love having products I use all the time like razors, dry shampoo and oral care ship to me automatically. It is one less thing I have to worry about replenishing and makes life just a tad bit easier. These boxes are perfect gifts for the “act of service” love language type. I mean, what says “I love you” more than lifting a burden and providing great oral hygiene?!

Cuddle and Kind Dolls

These sweet, hand-knit dolls make me want to have 5 more babies. And not only because all of the stuffies are so cute – but because for each doll sold, Cuddle and Kind donates 10 meals to a kid in need. Hannah the Bunny would make such a precious Valentines gift for any little!

Couples Split Blanket

End the nightly tug-of-war for around $100! I found this product on Uncommon Goods (it’s like a bougie Sky Mall) and instantly knew I needed to talk about it. This is a blanket and sheet set that comes pre-split down the middle, but not all the way to the end. You can tuck in the bottom and each person has their own sheet and blanket, which is 4 inches wider there is plenty of room. I LOVE this idea!

Bar Fly Fragrance

It wouldn’t be a true Valentines gift guide if there wasn’t at least 2 fragrances right? Hat tip to my sister Amy (who always has the low-down on great fragrances) for introducing me to Bar Fly. This cologne is advertised as a unisex fragrance and I could not agree more. I think it tends to lean a but more masculine but personally I have always been a fan of heavy, masculine scents on women. This scent features notes of citrus-herb, jasmine, sandalwood, musk and Madagascar vanilla. I used to love walking by the Scotch & Soda store in Pioneer Place on my lunch breaks and the smell of Bar Fly would waft under my nose. It is such an alluring and lovely fragrance.

Plush Valentines Throw Blanket

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22 (sorry I had to) our 10-year-old is obsessed with blankets. Especially ones that are extra fuzzy and cozy. This $10 blanket from Target fits the bill perfectly and is adorned with pink hearts. What’s not to love?!

Yeti Rocks Rambler

I hate to include something so generically “manly”, but this little sucker is one of my husband’s favorite things. It keeps his whiskey cokes SO ice cold (as the name on the front would suggest) that the ice from his 6 o’clock cocktail is still intact the next morning. And it comes with a lid – which let’s be honest, shouldn’t all vessels meant to contain alcoholic beverages come with a lid?!

DW Home Coffee Cup Candles from TJ Maxx

Run! Don’t walk to TJ Maxx if you like these candles because I can only find them in-store. Are these not the cutest containers ever? I mean, the basic in me is just screaming. The only drawback are the scents – which sadly, are not my favorite but I am willing to overlook it for the rampant cuteness of the vessel. You could re-use as part of your decor and fill with conversation hearts! I MEAN.

And that is my list! What do YOU want for Valentines Day?

*Some of the items above were sent to me complimentary for review. All opinions are my own.

My 2021 Christmas List

The tradition lives on!

I have been posting these puppies since 2013 and looking back, they have all followed the same basic formula. A shoe, a jean, usually a bag, fragrance and/or beauty item. Maybe a lord of the rings phone case or STATEMENT NECKLACE (click here to see a few other doozies). Remember the statement necklace? Man, I loved ’em. I have even kept a few in hopes that one day they will make a comeback. I know it’s a long shot, but – bucket hats? Jnco jeans? What goes around comes back around in the world of fashion, amiright?!

This year’s theme is pretty paired down and includes some of the typical items we have all come to expect from yours truly. But there are also one or two fun things poking about – let’s get to it!

I discovered the Margot Elena Box on YouTube and instantly knew I’d love to try one after seeing all the amazing brands inside. You can expect to find items from Lollia, TokyoMilk and Library of Flowers in this box, with a combined price of up to $200. I feel like this would be such a fun thing to look forward to!

If you watch Mikayla Nogueira on TikTok, you understand why I want the Glow Recipe Niacinamide Drops. They supposedly make the skin truly glow and also provide treatment for dark spots, two things I am always after. Plus it doesn’t hurt that the packaging is adorably cute.

These corduroy overalls from Aerie are just so friggen’ cute. If you are an 80’s kid, you know the nostalgia of corduroy and the fact that they’re an overall makes these just irresistible to me.

The Clinique Happy Cookies & Kisses Perfume is just that – happiness in a bottle. If you know me well, you know that smells are, like, VERY important to me. I love a candle, a wax melt, perfume, body spray, you name it. This fragrance really does smell like cookies and therefore, I need to own it.

I want these Universal Thread Sneakers from Target simply to fill a gap in my wardrobe. With the roll-out of the wider leg, 90’s jean one also own a chunkier sneaker for accompaniment. I determined that I was not ready to fork over the $100+ for Air Force 1’s, and these fun sneakers from Target totally fit the bill.

A pair of huggie earrings such as these have also made the list, due to their rampant cuteness. I find the huggie style to be both super flattering, but also comfortable. Which essentially, defines my style as a whole.

The Madewell Transport Rucksack has been on my list for YEARS now. I think it started when I saw Home Alone 2 for the first time and watched Kevin McAllister run around New York City with his dad’s classy backpack.

Note the leather touches

And lastly, but certainly not least – this vintage-style keychain from Amazon. It’s adorable, and fun, and makes me feel like I live in a little flat on Rue Cler!

And that about does it folks! What is on YOUR list this year?

2021 Holiday Gift Guide

Shipping delays, supply chain shortages, Kyle Rittenhouse’s “crying” face? It’s enough to suck the holiday cheer right outta the room am I right? Well fear not, my lovely readers! For today I bring you a few odds and ends truly worthy of the season. Let’s get started.

Makeup/Beauty

Outlaw Soap

Why do products from Outlaw Soaps make such great gifts? Could it be the catchy names and funny packaging? The amazing smells? Or maybe the fact that each package always comes with STICKERS?!

Whatever the reason, Outlaw Soap has you covered. Their products are all-natural, cruelty-free and use sustainable and eco-friendly ingredients and packaging.

Some of my favorites include –

August and Monroe Calm Cream

This vitamin B3 gel moisturizer makes a perfect holiday gift due to the cold weather and it’s universally favorable formula. This stuff is lightweight, good for sensitive skin, vegan, fragrance-free and did I mention it feels amazing on the skin? It truly lives up to it’s name with addition of hyaluronic acid, niacinimide, and oats.

EcoLips Candy Cane Lip Balm

This wouldn’t be a true gift guide if I did not include one of my all-time favorite lip balms! EcoLips products are certified organic, gluten-free, and cruelty free. The packaging for this candy cane lip balm is actually made of plants and is 100% plastic-free! How amazing is that? Plus, the sweet peppermint vanilla flavor is perfection. I will be throwing these in everyone’s stockings this year.

Origins Ginger Body Souffle

This body cream is heaven. Anytime I see the word “whipped” in a body product, I know I am game to try it out. This stuff is lightweight, yet super moisturizing and does not leave behind a greasy finish. The scent is amazing and it has a lovely sensation when applying.

Home

Mollygrams Watercolor Alphabet Art

Guys. These customizable watercolor pieces from Mollygram are just too perfect. The above pictured name print for my daughter was done in the “woodland” theme, but she has several to choose from. I might need to order the Garden Party Alphabet print next!

I would also like to mention that these prints come pre-framed, are packaged very securely, and come with pre-installed hanging hardware.

Dyson Stick Vaccum

Yes I posed in my sweats, in the kitchen, with my Dyson stick vaccum. And listen, I know these are expensive. But hand to God, I use this thing at least once or twice a day. It is BY FAR the best money we’ve ever spent. It is lightweight, has great suction and does not have a CORD! Would make the greatest gift for LITERALLY anyone. Definitely get the version with all of the attachments, because I have used every single one. I would kiss the inventor of this vacuum if I could, it is that good.

Barefoot Dreams Throw Blanket

Again we have an expensive item that is worth every single penny. The only loophole to that cost being that from time to time, they do sell these at Nordstrom Rack for a significantly reduced price. This is BY FAR the softest, most luxurious material I have ever felt and when I picture heaven, I picture Barefoot Dreams. The perfect gift for someone who appreciates luxury!

Touch Control Egg Night Light

We got one of these when Clara was younger, for those late night-time nursing sessions. It is so perfect, providing just enough light so you’re not banging around in the dark. The light is totally customizable – it can be brightened or darkened or made warm or cool toned. Plus, it is controlled by touch! It comes with a little charging station and lasts a very long time between charges (7+ hours or so). This also makes a great gift for anyone who gets up frequently in the night for any reason. The low light and portability makes it so practical.

Fashion

Sincerely Silver Necklaces

These dainty, yet strong and durable nameplate necklaces are the perfect gift! Sincerely Silver offers lots of customizable options in sterling silver, gold and rose gold and the quality is wonderful. My favorite of the bunch has to be this rose gold “Natalie” necklace which is subtle and would look so cute layered!

Nike Blazer Low ’77 Sneakers

I have a pair of the original black Nike Blazers and they are easily my favorite sneaker. Comfy, stylish and they go with everything! This version is even cuter with a slight platform. These also come in several color variations.

North Face Cragmont Fleece Jacket

I MEAN. These colors? Rarely do I recommend items that can be purchased at Dicks or REI – but this jacket is an exception. The fleece is super soft and the relaxed fit means you can easily layer. Such a great gift for anyone in the PNW.

Misc.

Heirloom Video Books

The Heirloom video books are basically the perfect gift for our parents, grandparents or anyone who might enjoy the nostalgia of a photo album, but integrated with video. Heirloom makes it super easy to purchase, create and send a book without leaving your computer.

Here’s how the box will look when it gets shipped out to your loved one:

Click here to learn more about these awesome and unique video books.

Bedfellow Sleep Mask

Perfect for anyone with an affinity for naps, a frequent flier, or the wrinkle-conscious – this sleep mask has customizable memory foam cups that feel like little angel hugs. The design means no pressure on your eyes and a total leak-free seal, keeping things totally blacked out.

I also love that come in a little silk bag, perfect for throwing in a suitcase.

Mirthemp CBD Roll-On Pain Gel

A perfect gift for anyone over the age of 30 and/or works from home! I have a few different CBD topicals and this one is among my favorites. I especially love the addition of menthol. I tend to wake up with neck and upper back pain at least once a month and I love reaching for this to provide relief. I also love that it is roll-on and I don’t have to get up to wash my hands after using it.

*Some of the items above were sent to me complimentary for review. All opinions are my own.

Two New Lip Favorites

Isn’t it funny we spend so much money on something that takes up such a small amount of space? I guess I should re-phrase – something that I spend so much money on that takes up little space on MY face.

I guess if I had big injected lips it would make more sense, but here I am au natural and still I treat them to a lip mask every night, exfoliating sugar scrubs and lip plumping glosses. But I can’t stop and I won’t stop. I am a lip product junkie and I am here to stay.

Here are some new-found favorites –

Simihaze Velvet Blur Matte Lip Balm in shade mist

All about this minimalistic outer packaging.

My good buddy Kyle lovingly gave me this lip balm after we had both discovered the Instagram add and DIED over the packaging. I MEAN. Do you blame us? It really is perfection. It is matte, yes, but it glides on like a dream and despite being a “balm” is super pigmented. I have worn it solo and with a shinier balm/gloss over the top and it is beautiful every time.

NM the snaggle tooth

EcoLips Medicinal Lip Balm and Brazilian Lip Tint

You guys all know I love me some Eco Lips. All of their products are lovely, affordable and super comfortable. The medicinal lip balm was great when I was sick a couple weeks ago (just a cold) and the brazilian tint in the shade blissful has been my tried-and-true to pop on right before Teams calls. It is the perfect “your lips but better” color and always brightens my face up. The scrub packs a nice grit and is delicious!

What lip products are you loving right now? I am just starting to run out of my beloved Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask and want to try something new!

A Fall Update

Holy November!

I feel like such a BWG when I say it, but how is it November really? I feel like adulthood and parenting most notably makes you realize just how fast time is flying by. All of the sudden Clara is using full sentences and walking up the stairs without touching the railing. And E is already getting invited to boy-girl parties and shopping in the juniors section. And so, “Sunrise, Sunset” plays on a constant loop inside my brain and I cry silent tears as I make the hard decision to stop using Dreft on Clara’s clothes and realize E can almost start borrowing my clothes.

I MUST digress.

TBH honest this fall has been pretty darn tough. I have recently taken on a new role at work, a bit of a promotion really, and man is it pushing my limits. After roughly 15 yrs in the work force I think I have finally realized my strengths as a steadfast implementer. The big thinker, I am not not. But once I have a directive or goal – I am darn good at making it all happen. And I am getting better at streamlining processes along the way. The problem sometimes is that us “think outside the box”, make it happen people are not a dime a dozen. So others end up relying on us too much, they come to expect our hustle and ability to figure it out, and that can be tough to uphold day in and day out. I am still trying to find the balance, the rhythm and most importantly – the strength to speak up when things are out of control to maintain my poise, my stamina. OK work talk over.

While it has been a tough past few months, of course there have been joys.

We will start with pumpkin patches.

Yes, patches. I feel like one patch is sufficient each fall. You walk around in the mud, pet a goat, pay $9 for a couple donuts. But since Clara came along, it’s like BRING ON the patches. The girl just loves ’em. She really just loves pumpkins you guys. And she doesn’t even care that we don’t buy the pumpkins, she just likes being around them.

She also LIVES for Halloween. We have been talking about it all year. And she had costumes chosen for us all.

How could I NOT be Daisy Duck for this tot? But the best part was the organization of E’s candy, as evidenced here:

Oh, and I finally got around to hanging up my Dorothy M. Davis (my grandma) original oil painting. What a beaut!

Other notable highlights include Clara’s first Blazers game of the season, some great wagon rides, walks, couch-time and some corduroy overalls (for me).

Stay tuned for a few updated beauty favorites next week! Happy fall everyone :).

Adventures in Potty Training

You all knew this was coming. And really, so did I. But I think what I have to say may baffle, shock, even amaze you. So here it is – I do not really care when Clara potty trains. But before you clutch your pearls, know this: we have been solely at home. Clara has not gone to daycare a day in her life. We are lucky enough to have two wonderful people (Grandma and Auntie) who come over during the week and watch her until nap time. So as a result, any urgency with potty training has been shelved. But alas, I know once she does finally enroll in preschool or go to daycare, potty training and toilet use are ubiquitous. I know this needs to happen at some point, but my person laissez-faire parenting style has gotten me this far. Why change now? Homegirl will participate when she’s ready yeah?

First of all, we definitely have a potty-dancer on our hands. SHE KNOWS when she has to go and dances excitedly to show it. Running in place, clutching herself ala Michael Jackson – her body is letting her know. Her brain is the asshole in this equation, making her exclaim, “NO!” very loudly when we tell her to sit on the toilet.

We have tried sitting with her. Taking her into the bathroom with us, or her sister when we go. We reward her when she tries, verbally and with an m&m or two. But it is just not clicking. And I am not frustrated, more perplexed. What is going to be the thing that makes it come together?

One method we have recently introduced is Pinky Bear! This kit includes an interactive board book called “Potty Train with Pinky Bear”, and of course the plush Pinky Bear who is designed with a little front pouch to hold special surprises.

Here’s how we did it: We read the book to Clara while she sat on the potty, talked about Pinky Bear with her and when she was finished – we brought them together. Video disclaimer: kindly ignore our 90’s Olive Garden wall paper and my gaggy, overly excited voice. I can’t help it.

So far, we’ve had pretty decent success with Pinky Bear. Clara gets excited to read the book and see what Pinky has in store for her if she sits on the potty. And while we have not had an abundance of successful potty sessions, at least she is trying!

Pinky Bear was sent to me for review and can be purchased on Amazon here! Also worth noting – Potty Train with Pinky Bear has won the National Parenting Center Seal of Approval and a Mom’s Choice Award Honoring Excellence.

I will keep you all updated on our success, as I am sure you thrilled about. If you have any potty training tips or wisdom, I am all ears!

Agency Skincare Review

You know when you stumble upon a new product, or service and think to yourself “I should have thought of that!”? Or you get a great idea and 2 years later see it on shelves at the store? Yeah, that’s me. I was wearing my bathrobe backwards LONG before the Snuggie. And dry shampoo? Pffff…I’ve been baby powdering my hair since 9th grade.

Another idea I have that definitely should be a real thing? Drive through pizza. Why isn’t this being done? We can get burgers, tacos, fried chicken without exiting our vehicles but if we want a delicious ‘za we must get up and answer the door? Or carry it out? I am not okay with this.

Agency Skincare is another example of a great idea I’m sure many have had – customized skincare without a trip to the dermatologist. It really is ingenious and the folks at Agency are doing it right. I was given the opportunity to try Agency free for 3 months as a member of Influenster, and I have been blown away. And if you have not done so already, go sign up for Influenster here (this is a referral link where I get points). You can easily earn free stuff by asking/answering product questions, leaving product reviews for things you’ve already tried, filling out surveys, etc. Also – it is completely free.

Here is how Agency works:

  • Sign up, share your goals, and upload photos accessible only by your licensed medical provider
  • Try your first set of products
  • Agency will check in on your progress and make adjustments based on how you’re doing
  • Agency continues to refine your products over time

As you all might know by now – my skincare goals are mostly centered around fine lines/wrinkles and dark spots.

Here are the pictures I sent into Agency back in May.

Agency reached back out after a week or so, with the following:

And here is what I was sent:

Everything comes packaged neatly in simple packaging in a small box (no outer box) which I appreciate.

The first shipment includes enough product for one month with the recommended usage, instructions, as well as all the drug information.

I followed the instructions I was given, starting out in the AM by washing my face with the Hourglass Equilibrium Cream Cleanser (HIGHLY recommend, btw).

Then following with a moisturizer and SPF, then the dark spot formula. My current moisturizer has been the Shiseido Vital Perfection Cream, and the Dr. Brandt Liquid Sun Shield.

I have just been using a dab of the dark spot formula and focusing it right on my large dark spots.

For the PM, the same products remain in play with the addition of the Future Formula and Shiseido Vital Perfection Serum before the Shiseido cream.

The future formula is a gel-like serum think sinks nicely into the skin. The dark spot formula is thicker, almost like a zit cream.

After the initial month, Agency reaches out to “check in” and adjustments can be made based on how your skin is reacting to the products.

Both of these products have incorporated so well into my current routine. I have also slowly increased the potency of my formulas to achieve the best results possible. Here is where I am currently at:

And now for the part you have all been waiting for…THE AFTER PHOTOS! (Disclaimer, I DO have under-eye concealer on in the photos below, but that is it!)

And full disclosure, I am also getting IPL. You can read more about my progress here. But I am so impressed with my skin lately and not just because my dark spots are fading. I feel like the overall texture and tone has improved, and I just feel more glowy and hydrated. I really feel like this current lineup of products has played a significant role in the state of my skin as a whole.

I should also mention that this post is not sponsored. I really think Agency is definitely worth trying out. And right now they have a free trial promotion going on, where you just pay $4.95 in S&H and get your first month of product for free. So kindof a no-brainer if you are at all interested.

Let me know if you end up giving it a try, I would love to hear what they prescribe for you!