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Thoughtful gifts: a holiday guide from my shopping cart

I know we are all busy shopping for those we love during this time of year. Gift giving is something I really enjoy; I take great pride in doing research, shopping, and finding gifts that I think my loved ones will really enjoy. However, like everyone, sometimes I hit a road block and get REALLY stumped on ideas. Often then I turn to things that I love or would like to receive to find creative solutions to the gifting conundrum. Here are some things that I’ve had my eye on lately and I’d quite like to add to my “collection”:


Mirror Home Gym | I’ve wanted a Peleton for as long as I can remember. However, since discovering Mirror, I think this might suit my lifestyle just a little better. I love an intimate Pilates class, a yoga session with a knowledgeable instructor, a quick BURN of cardio when I need to really sweat and I think the Mirror fits that capacity quite nicely. So much so that Blake and I had a conversation about buying one of these before bed last night and, lest he forget, I plan to revisit that chat again after the holidays. 



Drunk Elephant “Agent Ellie” Day Kit | Lately I’ve been making the effort to find a little more time for self-care and one way I’m doing that is by taking really good care of my skin. I’m a huge fan of Drunk Elephant (C-Firma is a part of my morning routine) and would love to give the rest of this lineup a try. Bonus: the kit is only $88 and comes with a full size C-Firma (which retails for $80). Drunk Elephant refuses to use the “Dirty 6” skincare ingredients in any of their products, is cruelty free, and is considered a clean product in the market– all things I appreciate with a brand. 


GloPRO Microneedling Facial Regeneration Tool | Please see aforementioned comment about self-care and my commitment to taking care of my skin. I’ve seen several beauty bloggers use this and I’m intrigued. As I stand firmly planted in my mid-30s (gasp) anything to help me stay youthful is a big win in my book.


Alexis Bittar post earrings | These are edgy and cool without being too over the top. They would be perfect to dress up even the most basic of jean/ tee combos.


Rag & Bone “Hudson” long sleeved tee | Speaking of basic jean/ tee combos. Equally as perfect with leggings and a puffy vest as it is with cropped skinny jeans and a pair of booties. The white tee elevated.


Antica Farmacista Prosecco + Santorini diffuser duo | To me candles and home fragrance is the ultimate luxury gift. We have the Prosecco diffuser in our downstairs bath and I can’t tell you how much I adore it. This sweet gift set would serve as the perfect gift for either your neighbor, boss, co-worker, or mother-in-law.


Woody holiday place mats | I love the festive cheer that these would bring to any table. Mix and match them with this fun plaid version for an unexpected twist to your holiday décor. Bonus: they are corksheet and covered in coated paper which means they are durable and SUPER easy to clean.


Rifle Paper Company planner | I live and breathe for my paper planners so this is an easy one for me. I have this sweet floral number and have already filled the pages with my grand plans for the year remaining and beyond. A great gift for a recent grad, new mom, or a list maker. I also have heard great things about bullet journals and, though I’m almost certain I would enjoy them, I haven’t quite crossed that threshold myself.


SAM. Soho down coat | A dreamy gift for sure. Stay warm this winter with this sweet puffer.


Spanx faux leather leggings | I love these damn things and no words of mine will do justice to them. Full stop.

Food, lately

I feel like I’ve been in a cooking rut. Between my weird allergy diagnosis a few weeks ago and a clingy 7 month old that solely wants to be held by mama at dinnertime, it’s been difficult for me to pull anything out of my kitchen that even closely resembles a meal. But, I got excited when my coworker shared some of her favorite recipes with me last week so here we are.

Two of my recent cooking finds, both from the genius Deb Perelman at Smitten Kitchen.


First is this sausage and tomato risotto (and the above image is very clearly not mine – full credit to Deb). I used 1 lb of sausage instead of ¾ of a pound (because it’s sold by the lb in my grocery store) and obviously refused to measure any of the cheese as I dumped in half a container of pre-grated Parm. Because if ½ a cup is good, 1 ½ cups are better. I currently am not eating beef (see aforementioned weird allergy) or gluten and I have a feeling this dish will serve as my spaghetti stand in during the cooler winter months that are coming. It’s a stick to your bones sort of dinner. I’m here for that.


And second is this beautiful street cart style chicken (from the Smitten Kitchen Every Day cookbook). I really didn’t deviate at all from this recipe because why mess with greatness but I did double the marinade and include both chicken thighs (for Blake) and breasts (for the girls + me). It was a LOT of food. What can I say- I like leftovers. Next time I would drizzle the dressing all over the salad, chicken, and rice because it’s tangy and yogurt-y and so delicious. The girls and Blake had their with pita. 

Two thumbs up. Will make again. 

My friend and fellow runner Margaret shared this article yesterday. As a mom, I often find my silence and solace running (though these days I’m also pushing a jogging stroller). I would be lying if I said that I can simply put in my headphones and go. I’m constantly vigilant; checking for weird noises, strange people, and making sure I’m not the only one on my route. I’ve even gone so far as to tell Blake what I’m wearing — “I’m in a hot pink tank top” just in case. I run with one headphone out, never share my path, have my location activated (for family members) on my phone.

I hate feeling unsafe running alone in my city. I hate getting waved at, shouted at, stared at. It doesn’t make me feel strong or empowered— the two things that I SHOULD feel while propelling 100 extra pounds forward while also keeping pace and focusing on my breath. As Margaret said in her post “This is not an immigrant problem or a race problem. This is a male problem.” And yet, I’ll continue to run as long as my legs will carry me…

A Deck Refresh


Somewhat unexpectedly, on the final day of my maternity leave, I grew a wild hair and decided to redo our outdoor living space. I spent a good deal of those 14 weeks working completing other house to-do lists so it seems only fitting that I closed my leave out with one final project. Plus, all of the outdoor furniture at World Market was on clearance after the 4th of July.

I sadly don’t have a before picture but we haven’t used the space much since moving in 15 months ago. It was’t warm or welcoming before– two things I really enjoy about it now. Needless to say, we’ve spent as much time as possible out here (Palmer’s the biggest fan!) and can’t wait for some cooler, non-90 degree weather in NC.

We get full afternoon sun so the umbrellas were an absolute must. I accidentally ordered 3 during my 4am feeding/ shopping spree and though I’m not sure we need THAT many, Blake convinced me to keep all of them.

Bonus: most of these items are on clearance for the end of summer – gotta love the crazy world of retail. I’m still on the hunt for a good outdoor rug (love this Dash + Albert one but I haven’t been able to pull the trigger yet) so if you have any good options, let me know!

Umbrellas: Amazon or this Prime Day deal for under $32!

Couch: World Market (ours is the gray version which is sold out online)

Chairs: Target (30% off today!)

Ottoman + side table: Amazon

Throw pillows: World Market (most of the appear to be sold out but I love this palm leaf pillow)

Planters: (white) NC Farmer’s Market, (terra cotta) Ikea

Magnetic Screen for the door: Amazon

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: Beauty Buys

I love a good beauty product as much as the collective crowd so, naturally, I’m excited to see some of these items included in the Nordstrom Anniversary sale. See below for a couple of my favorites.


1- Simplehuman mirror with brightness control. This magnifying mirror is cordless and rechargeable and lights up when your face approaches. Super excited to add this one to my bathroom counter. 

2- Antica “Prosecco” Home Ambiance Perfume. I got a couple of different scents to leave throughout the house– this one for the guest bath and a “Baby” scent for Marlowe’s room. 

3- Deborah Lippmann nailpolish set. This set of gel lab pro colors is a great rainbow of neutral colors. Each polish features a dual-patented formula infused with 10 active ingredients that help deliver health, wear and shine while giving you the gloss and cushion of a gel manicure without the nail damage. 

4- Tata Harper Complete Skincare Regimen. Set includes Regenerating Cleanser, Resurfacing Mask, Repairative Moisturizer, and Rejuvenating Serum. 

5- St. Tropez Jumbo Self Tan Bronzing Mousse. Maybe because I’m in my mid-thirties but I have finally gotten the memo about caring for your skin in the sun. I’ve grown to become a huge fan of self tanner to give me a soft bronzed glow (currently using the R+F self tanner once a week). Can’t wait to try this one. 

6- Kiehl’s amino acid shampoo + conditioner. I’ve recently switched to the Kiehl’s Sunflower Color Preserving Shampoo + Conditioner + Deep Conditioner Pak(here, here, and here) from Pureology and I’m super excited to try this other option. 

7- Diptyque candle set. Perfect to spread these throughout your home or give as a housewarming gift. Stock up on these while they’re on sale. 

I also snagged this silicone forehead wrinkle reducer (Wrinkles Schminkles) to try while I’m still nursing (and can’t use Botox). They are currently sold out but I’m hoping Nordstrom will restock before the sale opens to the public on the 20th. 

+ I’d also like to try this Herbivore set because I’m all about a hydrating face mist these days.