It’s that time of year! Time to preview the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale! I always love the Nsale, especially because it is right around my birthday so I have another excuse to treat myself. I’ve always used the sale as an opportunity to stock up on Fall essentials and clothes for work. It truly is a great time to get your seasonal essentials for a steal. My focus is usually on shoes/boots, jeans, bags, and any other higher ticket items I have been eyeing up. This year my Wish List looks very different. I mean, my life looks very different. Between Covid and maternity leave, I am pretty sure I’ll be spending most of the rest of 2020 snuggled up at home with my little one. This year my focus is on cozy essentials that will make my chilly seasons at home a little more comfortable and luxurious.
Early access for cardholders starts on August 13th and shopping for everyone begins on August 19th. You can start building your Wish List now so you have everything ready to for when its go time!
II’ve included my Wish List picks below. You can easily click the photo to shop (all pieces are linked!).
You can never have enough Barefoot Dreams blankets or really Barefoot Dreams anything. That is why I have three of these super soft items on my Wish List. I already got Baby P his own Barefoot Dreams baby blanket and I can’t wait to get the matching full size version for me to use in the nursery during our long nights in the glider together. The two cardigans are also at the top of my list because they are basically like wearing a blanket (perfect for when the temperature drops) and I can easily wear them with a nursing tank underneath.
While we are on the topic of nursing friendly pieces, I also love this pajama set and pajama shirt. I am especially excited about the set because if I can get it in time I think it would be perfect to bring in my hospital bag. If I’m going to be spending a majority of the rest of 2020 in pajamas they should be top notch.
The UGG slippers obviously go with my theme of not leaving the house. I love that these have some tread on the bottom. These are perfect for before it gets too chilly.
I did branch out into some more transitional pieces that I can wear once I make my way back out in public again. I’m eyeing up these Caslon short and long sleeve tees which I can wear to lounge around at home or I can eventually dress up. I also am loving the BP leopard joggers that can be dressed up or down as well.
Probably my most out of the house friendly pick are the infamous SPANX leather leggings. I have been debating purchasing these for a couples years and I think this year is the year I do it. When I do end up attending a social event again, I have realistic expectations for myself. The transition of my postpartum attire will be smoother if I rely on these leggings which can be comfortable and stylish.
The last thing on my list are these blush wine glasses. We’ve been in need of a new stemless set and these are just too perfect not to get. I love drinking everything out of wine glasses with a fun paper straw to spice things up so I will definitely get good use out of these. And postpartum I can finally enjoy a little wine to break them in.
So now its your turn, tell me what you can’t wait to score from the Nsale this year? Is your Wish List full of cozy pieces or are you stocking up for your return to office?
I wanted to post a quick follow up to my Sephora Sale Pregnancy Must Haves that went live yesterday. I got a few questions about how to sift through all of the recommendations and decide on just a few products that you can order so you don't break the bank.
I put together a few suggestions that will give you some great products while sticking to a reasonable budget. One of the things I love about Sephora are their mini sizes which allow you to try new products before investing in the full size versions.
The Acne Trifecta
When hormonal acne hits, this trio has been what has worked for me. In my original post the spot treatment I recommend is the Belli Acne Control Spot Treatment which is pregnancy approved. This is what I am currently using but I have used the Umbrian Clay Mask by Fresh as my go to spot treatment before I was pregnant. I actually ran out and figured out I was pregnant before I had a chance to restock so I went with a new one from a pregnancy brand. After doing some more research, I believe the mask from Fresh should also be pregnancy approved (still double check for yourself, I'm not a doctor!). If you aren't pregnant, no worries then and you should be adding this amazing gem to your cart right now. You can also get The Deep Cleanse from Tatcha and the ACV Peel that I recommend in mini sizes to try out. You can get all three for under $50 during the sale!
Best Bang for Your Buck
For under $100, you can revamp your whole skincare routine with The Littles set from Drunk Elephant. This set contains 8 products from the line that are total game changers. It contains the Marula Oil, Protini Cream, and Umbra Sheer Physical Sunscreen ,all three of which are on my master list for pregnancy. According to Drunk Elephant's website, all of the other products are pregnancy safe but I have been shying away from the Glycolic Night Cream due to the salicylic acid. You can always save that for after your little bebe is born or if you aren't pregnant than you don't have to worry!
Top 3 For Glowing Skin
You can get these three items (all on my favorites list) for just a little over $100. These are the perfect combination of products to achieve glowy skin and if you were going to only invest in three basic products, these are what I would recommend. The duo from Drunk Elephant gives you their bar cleanser and exfoliant (both of which I love). These you can start with in the mini size since a little really does go a long way. The Water Cream from Tatcha I would go big on from the start. You will be lathering this everywhere morning and night. Last is the Healthy Glow Tinted Moisturizer from Charlotte Tilbury which I have been living in instead of foundation during quarantine.
This post was super quick and I just wanted to get it out there to answer some questions! If you have any other questions I didn't answer or additional suggestions, just drop me a message!
In quarantine I have been capitalizing on every little exciting thing that is happening, making it something big to look forward to. Well this week I don’t have to create my own hype because the excitement for the Sephora Insider Sale is REAL. For VIB member is starts on Tuesday, April 21st and I am ready.
Swapping out your regular beauty routine for pregnancy safe products can be expensive so this is a great time for mamas to be to stock up. Just digging through the crazy advice on the internet to decide what you are comfortable with ingredient wise is a hassle enough, at least when actually buying the products you decide on you deserve a break.
I’ve went through my fair share of products as I’ve experimented through these first 18 weeks of pregnancy so I want to share with you all what has ended up actually working for me. Unfortunately not only have I had to make the usual pregnancy product swaps, but I also was blessed with some crazy pregnancy skin. I had the “pregnancy glow” for maybe two weeks until it turned into hormonal acne and stretch marks, so don’t worry, I have products for those too.
I know going through a list of all of these products can feel overwhelming, but remember I am a product junkie so I love trying new stuff and budget each month for it. Don’t feel like you need everything at once. Try a few that feel most relevant to what you need and go from there. This is by no means a list of things you MUST have, just a list of things that have worked for me. I also am not a medical professional so always check with your doctor if you are unsure about a product or ingredient. These are the products I have choose to use based on my research and conversations with my doctor. There are enough crazy mommy blogs out there shaming you into spending $500 on a new beauty routine so you don’t “harm your baby” (and most of those are bullshit in my opinion). After almost falling victim to that myself thanks to all of the guilt I started feel, I have made an effort to be super careful about how I word these posts. I want the takeaway to be, “here is what worked for me, hope this helps” because none of us are experts and even the actual experts have conflicting advice! The best we can do is make informed decisions based on our research, so I hope my trial and error can help you narrow down what you may want to purchase, and keep you from wasting money on products that don’t get the job done. I also have to say, a lot of these products I was using even before I was pregnant and based on what ingredients I am okay with, they passed the test to be used during pregnancy as well. I didn't decide, oh I'm pregnant, lets buy new everything. That is totally unrealistic, so I urge you all to take a look at the products you already have and see what you can make work. I'll say this again for the people in the back, these are just recommendations for the swaps you do want to make or when you are out of a product and looking to restock!
As I am super excited for the Sephora Sale, not every product I love can be found at Sephora, so I have included links to those too. Most are not super expensive so won’t break the bank even without a sale ticket price. A lot of these products can also be purchased in mini sizes so if you want to try them out before you invest, these are prefect. I find out about most of my favorite products through sample sizes and purchasing the mini versions. This is also a great way to stick to your budget if you want to try a few things at once instead of splurge on one big item.
This Tula Purifying Face Cleanser Is a product I used before I found out I was pregnant and luckily could continue to use into my pregnancy. I love Tula products because they are formulated by a gastroenterologist and the line focuses around probiotics. This cleanser is gentle but gets the job done so it is perfect for everyday use.
In pregnancy I have limited my chemical exfoliants big time so I started to notice more build up on my skin. Especially as I started to break out more, I also noticed these tiny bumps on my face, neck, and chest that could only be remedying with some good, old fashioned, physical exfoliant. The JuJu Exfoliating Bar from Drunk Elephant has become my 'go to' because I feel like I can really feel it making a difference. It leaves my skin feeling noticeably smoother but not irritated. I use it on my face and down to my chest.
Moisturizers are where I will spend the big(ger) bucks. I am a true believer that the right moisturizer is a game changer. After trying so many, these three have really stood out as hero products since I've been pregnant. The Protini Polypeptide Cream from Drunk Elephant is my usual night time moisturizer. I will layer the Virgin Marula Oil from Drunk Elephant under it when I need a little more love in the hydration department. My favorite daytime moisturizer is The Water Cream from Tatcha. It is so light weight and soothing, plus it really makes a difference on how makeup lays on your skin. For a while I was wondering if Tatcha was worth all of the hype and the price but after trying a sample size and falling in love, I have to admit, it is worth every penny.
Drunk Elephant's Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser is the easiest way to remove makeup. With a little bit of this stuff, your makeup will just slide off of your face. No pulling or scrubbing and it works really well on stubborn mascara too. I first discovered this product in one of Drunk Elephant's mini sets. I love these because you get to try multiple products for less than $30 and decide which ones you like. In this case, I ended up also falling in love with the moisturizer that came with it. The Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer is one of my favorite moisturizers, so you can try out two of my favorites for only $22. I am always surprised with how long these tiny products last for too. Tip: Even if I end up purchasing the full size product, I save the tiny containers so I can refill them for traveling.
These Josie Maran Bear Naked Wipes are so soothing and are prefect for lazy nights when you can't imagine leaving your comfortable bed to get up and wash your face. I leave these in my nightstand for convenience. These wipes are my favorite because they slide smoothly over your skin so you aren't pulling or rubbing to wash the day off.
Pregnancy fatigue is NO JOKE. I looked in the mirror when I was about 8 weeks pregnant and it looked like I hadn't slept in three months. Well I know I'm only going to get MORE tired once baby gets here so I'm locking this in as a long term staple in my skincare routine. While mamas to be may have to limit their caffeine intake, that doesn't mean we can't use a little on our skin. The Rose Glow & Get It Eye Balm from Tula is a savior. It is cooling, brightening, and moisturizing. With a mixture of caffeine, hyaluronic acid, and rosehip oil (nature's retinol) this eye balm helps to treat your tired eyes while making them immediately look better.
Even though I have been more acne prone during my pregnancy, I still also have issues with hydration. I love the Jet Lag Mask from Summer Fridays because it is hydrating without making your skin feel oily. This is a must for me to have whenever I fly and during the cold winter months. This is another product I used prior to being pregnant so I was thrilled I would be able to continue using it through my pregnancy.
Another hydrating favorite from Summer Fridays is their new Lip Butter Balm. Hydrating, not sticky, pregnancy safe, pretty self explanatory.
No chemical sunscreen was the first pregnancy skincare rule that I learned. Basically every product I had for daytime, whether makeup or skincare, had chemical sunscreen in it. I would say the chemical SPF was the number one reason for many of the makeup products I had to swap out. I am big on sun protection so I needed to find an alternative quickly, especially since in my first trimester I was vacationing in Hawaii for two weeks. The Physical Defense Protection from Drunk Elephant is the best physical sunscreen product I have found so far. I put a little on in the morning mixed with my moisturizer for everyday use. For serious sun exposure I use this on my entire body. It is light weight and didn't make me break out, which is always a big concern for me when it comes to sunscreen. There was a bit of a learning curve when applying it because it is a lot thicker than my usual formula. A little goes a long way with this stuff!
I know there are mixed reviews when it comes to getting spray tans during pregnancy. I decided against it based on the conversations I had with my doctor. As someone who religiously was getting sprayed, I was desperately searching for a comparable option. My search for these products was also escalated due to my first trimester trip to Hawaii. Both of these products have exceeded my expectations in delivering a bronze glow. I usually add the D-Bronzi Sunshine Drops from Drunk Elephant into my moisturizer to use on my face and neck. I use the Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops in Dark for the rest of my body. I mix these in with my daily body moisturizer for easy application. I've also used the Isle of Paradise drops on my face which worked out perfectly fine as well. The Isle of Paradise drops pack more of a punch in delivering an immediate and darker tan, so I used these on my face while we were in Hawaii and will probably start to do so more in the summer. The color lasts about a week so you really only have to apply once a week which is super convenient. The D-Bronzi Drops are better for daily use in my opinion since they have more of a subtle, buildable color.
The Acne Trifecta
Pregnancy acne is NO JOKE. At first I thought a few little patches of hormonal acne would be no big deal. I was used to some weird break outs that corresponded with my Crohn's flares so I thought I was prepared. Well, I wasn't. I realized that the heavy hitters I was using to knock out my breakouts before were not safe to use in pregnancy. This lead me on quite a journey to identify what the heck I could actually use and what worked. I finally feel like I have things under control and I have seen a big improvement.
First off I had to bring in a bit of a heavier exfoliant to use every other day. The Deep Cleanse by Tatcha has really helped with the tiny bumps I have been getting and has been especially useful along my jawline. All of my usual peels were off the table, as were my spot treatments so I had to really get creative here. My doctor recommended trying to stick with benzoyl peroxide products for acne treatment but BP always does a number on my sensitive skin so that was not going to be good for me. Instead I use the Volition Apple Cider Vinegar Peel Resurfacing Pads once per week, specifically concentrated around where my hormonal acnes is occurring. Every other night I use Belli's Acne Control Spot Treatment. Belli is skincare specifically formulated for pregnancy and this specific product uses sulfur as the acne fighting ingredient. This spot treatment works great, but can be a bit drying, hence why I am using it every other night. The other nights I make sure I am focusing on hydration and usually layering my Murula Oil under my Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer.
So far Palmer's Coconut Oil Body Lotion has been my 'go to' for hydrating and trying to fend off stretch marks. I know they are pretty inevitable which was proven as over the past three weeks, despite my struggle to gain weight during my pregnancy, new stretch marks have made themselves at home on my sides. I am on the hunt for another product to add into my routine in conjunction with this body lotion, but nothing can replace this tried and true staple. This is also great to mix your tan drops in with and it smells like a vacation.
I've really paired down my everyday makeup routine thanks to never having to leave the house. This has made making my routine pregnancy safe a lot easier since I've eliminated a lot of steps. These products are the ones I have been wearing when I do wear makeup. This is all you will see me wearing on Instagram these days as well. As much as I love getting glam, I am holding off until I have somewhere to be.
Nail Polish (What I Have Been Using in Quarantine)
Last, but not least -- nails. I won't lie to you all and say I was going to stop getting my SNS Dip manicures while I was pregnant. I stopped getting them because I am in quarantine and can't leave my house. If you know me, you know my nail tech, Tracy, is an angel of a woman and has been doing beautiful things to my nails since 2017. I have consistently seen her every 3-4 weeks since July 2017, until now. I am a little lost and on my own since it has been a while since I've painted my own nails (first world problem, I KNOW). I remembered that one of the brands I loved when I was DIYing my nails was Deborah Lippmann. Well, not much has changed and the products are still great. As a plus they are also a lot safer when it comes to ingredients and they don't require UV exposure. I also am very horrible at painting my own nails and I can actually make them look decent with this kit. I recommend the Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro base and top coat as your initial investment. You can purchase full size Deborah Lippmann polishes from Sephora, but I really like the set of mini polishes since I rarely ever use a whole bottle anyway. These have been the six colors I have had on rotation since the beginning of quarantine.
I know this was a long one, but I hope it helps! I have really been so excited to share these products with you all because I know how challenging it can be to find advice on what to use during pregnancy. The Sephora Sale was just the icing on the cake to make this post that much sweeter since that makes a lot of these amazing products more affordable.
I am also working on a post detailing new items that I want to try and purchase from the Sephora Insider Sale and a post breaking down the best combination of products to get on a budget.
As always, let me know if you have any questions and I can't wait to hear what you all buy from the sale this week!
I hope everyone is getting through quarantine alright. If you saw my post on Instagram, you know that unfortunately I had to relocate to my parents' house to quarantine for the safety of me and Baby P. You can catch up on the whole story here but the overall gist is that my husband is a nurse and on the front lines helping Covid-19 patient. I am so incredibly proud of him, but heartbroken that we will be living apart until things settle down.
Although it feels like this pandemic is the only thing going on in the world, life is still moving along, and mamas are still pregnant! Today I wanted to talk about something on the lighter side and share the 'must have' items for pregnancy so far. I've pulled together items that have helped me through my first trimester, most of which I still use now 17 weeks in. Whether you are currently baking a little one or are hoping to soon, take a look through my list and rest assured you can safely order all of these online without leaving your quarantine.
My Favorite Pregnancy Tests
Up until I was frantically trying to decipher a positive vs negative results, I didn't realize there was such a thing as a favorite pregnancy test. I also didn't realize why there are so many different ones out there until I started really getting familiar with the whole testing process.
First Response Early Result, in my experience, was best when you were testing before your missed period. They are very sensitive and help decrease that nerve wrecking time you have to wait between ovulation and when you can accurately test. What I didn't realize was that if you are testing very early on, the second pink line may be faint. Even a faint line can mean a big fat positive and it darkens as the pregnancy hormones increase in your body.
If you are a crazy person like me and know you are going to take a ton of pregnancy tests at every moment you can to see if there are any changes in 'your line', I highly recommend stocking up on some more cost effective options like the Accumed Pregnancy Test Strips. There are 25 tests in a box for only $8. They aren't as fancy as the pricier options but they get the job done.
Once I got some promising pink line tests, I confirmed with Clearblue. At first when First Response was picking up a positive, the Clearblue digital tests weren't since it was still early. Once I was technically supposed to have missed my period, the Clearblue tests starting reading positive and gave a very clear 'PREGNANT'. These are very straight forward and there is really no way to misinterpret these, so they are a great way to really confirm you are, in fact, pregnant.
My 'Go-To' Prenatal
I started taking prenatal vitamins before I actually found out I was pregnant since we were trying to conceive. I already took Ritual multivitamins so I easily switched my subscription for the prenatal. The Ritual prenatal doesn't make me nauseous and it easily packs everything I need into two pills. I also love, especially now that I can't go to the store, that they come via subscription so I never have to worry about running out. With pregnancy brain in full force, this is definitely helpful.
So In the first trimester you may not even start to actually show but you will feel bloated and uncomfortable in basically anything you own besides sweatpants. About 6 weeks in, my bloating was out of control so I needed to invest in some basics that would make me feel more comfortable. These maternity tank tops are great because they are longer than usual tanks so they accommodate your growing belly and can cover things up if you need to start unbuttoning those jeans more often. Underwear was also something that just felt entirely uncomfortable to me. On a whim, I ordered these 'under the bump' underwear that were a total game changer for me. They are SO comfortable and don't feel restrictive at all. I can't recommend these enough, even if you don't think you need them, you do.
I debated waiting until I got bigger to buy a pregnancy pillow but I am very happy I got one early on. As someone who always sleeps on their stomach, this helped me get used to side sleeping. It also is great for getting comfy when lounging on the sofa, which you will be doing a lot of in your first trimester. Later on in my pregnancy I may upgrade to one with more support but this is perfect for beginning stages and under $40.
My Everyday Savior
Staying hydrated is so important when you are pregnant but it was certainly not one of my top skills. I literally need to have cold water accessible via a straw to me at all times to enforce hydration. That is exactly what I made happen. I love these Simply Modern tumblers so I ordered the blush pink/baby blue one along with some reusable straws the I ONLY use for water. With my senses (taste + smell) going wild, I needed a cup that would be free of any other smells or flavors. Water only please. This cup keeps my water cold, travels well, and is a fraction of the price of other ones on the market.
That is my roundup of the what you need in your first trimester! I will continue to update with more of my favorites as my pregnancy progresses. If you have any favorite products that mamas to be should check out, feel free to drop them below!
December has been WILD so far. In every kind of good way. But it, for real, has been super chaotic. The runner up in the gift guide poll I did the other week was this one! Gifts for Guys! I put together a list of man approved (and Crohnically Blonde suggested) gifts that you can order now and they'll still arrive in time for Christmas.
This one Is a little brief, but pretty self explanatory, so I wanted to get it out to you all before the last shipping date passes us by. You can click through the images below and read my comments on why they made my list.
Also, if you are looking for a super meaningful (but also you are doing it kind of last minute) gift, check out my Guide to Gifting Experiences for some other awesome ideas that will make a big impact and are unique.
Happy shopping and I'll be back with some additional details on what has been happening soon!
The holiday season means you will, more than likely, be dashing from event to event all December long. From meeting up with friends, office parties, spending time with family, and checking everything off of your pre holiday 'to do' list, chances are you are letting your regular nutrition, fitness, and sleep routines fall by the wayside. With IBD, this can be the time when flares and symptoms can hit the hardest. In my experience, I see this happen due to changes in my routine and added stress. It is also, of course, sick season so the more you socialize the more you are exposed to potential bugs that can knock you on your butt for quite a few days. Every year, I feel like I tweak my routine a little bit and become savvier in how to keep my health in check throughout the holidays while still being able to enjoy myself.
This year I have five tips that I am living by to help me make it through this crazy busy, festive month.
Vitamins and hydration
Holiday season means lots of eating and drinking outside of your normal routine, or at least the option to. I like to indulge a little when I can. Wine night with friends that are in town, dinner out to celebrate a successful year with my team, gluten free Christmas treats..... My usual rule of thumb is to let yourself enjoy what you want, while being mindful of how they will impact how you feel. It is all about the balance, baby. And honestly, this time of year we can get a little off balance and live your best life, and you should not feel guilty. That being said, during this time of the year, proper hydration and nutrient intake can become an afterthought to all of the holiday cheer. Instead of stressing, I am making things easy by sticking to a regemine I can keep conveniently in my purse everyday. I am making sure I drink at least one packet of DripDrop ORS for dehydration relief each day (more than one for sure if I am having a few glasses of bubbly). This is also key for if my Crohn's symptoms start acting up. Even when I can get those under control, the dehydration can keep me down and out for even longer. Mixing in a packet of DripDrop ORS everyday helps to keep me on my A-game no matter what my body is throwing at me.
I also make sure I take a quality multivitamin once per day. I have been taking Ritual vitamins for the past year and a half and absolutely love them. I can feel confident that no matter what weird combination of foods I'm grabbing from our holiday potluck, at least I am getting my core vitamins everyday.
Limit your plans - its okay to say 'no'
This one took me so long to actually live by. There are so many plans happening around the holidays, but you don't have to attend every single event you are invited to. I've realized that it is better to give your all at a few events you are really excited to attend then be half checked out at a laundry list of events that you only sort of care about. I also used to always feel really bad about saying no to events I would get invited to because I didn't want to let down the host. Well, let's be real, the host has so much going on, they probably don't really care one way or another. Not being rude, but unless you are the guest of honor, it is not a big deal. And if the host is a close enough friend, they would probably want you to be relaxing at home if that's what is best for you anyway.
As part of limiting my plans I make a list at the beginning of December of all of the things I want to do/attend and then I prioritize them. By adding the things I really want to do into my planner from the start I have a more realistic idea of what else I can commit to.
Work from home if your office is sick
If there is a bug cycling through your office, do yourself a favor and if you can, work from home. So many people will try to power through their illness and bring all of their germs to work with them instead of laying low at home. As someone with a compromised immune system, this does NOT sit well with me. If I notice something is going around and too many people are dropping like flies in the office, I try to limit my exposure. Whether that means staying in my office or requesting to work from home, this ensures that I can continue to get my work done and hopefully not succumb to the office plague.
Keep your sleep schedule regular
Sleep can be tricky when your social calendar is packed. You might be out late on week nights when usually your bedtime is 9pm or you may find yourself with extra time to hit snooze on your days off. The best thing you can do is keep your sleep schedule as regular as possible. I usually try to have an hour time frame that I go to bed and wake up routinely everyday (including days off!). If I am out at an event, I always set a target time for me to say my goodbyes and call an Uber, so that I can be home in time to do at least some semblance of my nightly routine and be in bed at a regular time. Of course there are exceptions and nights when you are having such a great time, turning in for the evening sounds miserable, and that's fine, stay out! Like I said, all about balance, baby.
If you have PTO take it
I can't tell you how many times I hear my coworkers talking about all of the hours of PTO they are going to lose at the end of the year. A lot of companies have a maximum amount of PTO that you can roll over to the New Year which leaves a lot of hours to be taken or lost. Most of us workaholics rack up time all year just to keep running ourselves to the ground until December 31st then starting all over again. If you have time banked up, please do yourself a favor and USE IT. It is your time, you earned it, don't feel guilty about taking off work to refresh yourself for the New Year. It doesn't matter if you are going on vacation or staying on your sofa watching Netflix for three days, either way, you're doing what you need to do to give you mind and body a break. This will help you to feel less rundown as you tackle the mid winter months, and hopefully help to keep you a bit healthier.
I hope you all have a happy and healthy holiday season full of B A L A N C E.
With holiday season basically here, it is time to start making your shopping list for all of the loved ones in your life you are gifting to this year. I always feel like as you get older, the harder it gets to find the perfect gift for your friends and siblings. Once you're at a certain point in life, if you need it, you buy it, so what possibly can I gift you?
I am always a fan of the gift of experiences (a winery tour, a staycation at a local hotel, etc.), but if you are looking for some perfect gifts for you friends to unwrap, I say, focus on adding a little luxury to their life. I like to gift my friends and sisters things that they wouldn't necessarily splurge on for themselves or something that they didn't even know they needed. When they open a gift like one of these, I hope it brings back a little excitement instead of just checking something off of a wish list. I also get weirdly excited when I gift a product/item that I am so obsessed with and know the recipient will be too. I try so many products so I know I'm picking out the best stuff for the people I'm excited to gift to.
Of course, these luxurious/thoughtful/actually affordable gifts are sometimes hard to find, until you know about them... then you know. I've curated a list of my favorite giftable items that range in price from $15-$200, so you have some options on what to spend, or you can mix and match a few to create a perfect bag of goodies.
Barefoot Dreams Blanket
I'm starting with the most expensive item first, but also the most amazing. This was a gift to me from one of my best friends last Christmas (of course inspired by The Skinny Confidential), and it is probably one of the most used and favorited things I've ever gotten. I never imagined a blanket would be worth $180, but, guys... it really is. This is the softest, most durable, coziest blanket you will ever own. It is perfect to gift to a friend who just moved into a new home or really anyone. These come in a range of different colors and they even have a matching baby blanket for the new mamas in your life.
Barefoot Dreams Socks
If you want to go a little more cost friendly, but still gift the ultimate comfort of Barefoot Dreams, these sock are the way to go. They are a perfect little piece of luxury that you can look forward to when you get home from work or throw in your carryon for a long flight. If you are gifting a gift card for a mani/pedi or spa day, these are a great extra to throw in or you can make a little relaxation kit with these, a cute mug, and some mint tea.
Uncommon James Jewelry
You can't go wrong with these beautiful pieces. Uncommon James pieces are always trendy, but accessibly trendy so that you can wear them season after season, therefore, worth investing in. The quality is great and definitely feel a little luxurious. All of the pieces have a super delicate feel and can go with just about any style. This makes them great for gifting!
Gift Boxes from Winc
A good bottle of wine is one of my go to gifts, but I always feel like I'm missing a little something by just giving a bottle. Winc's gift boxes give a little festive extra-ness to your wine gift, which adds some personality and fun when you're opening it. I also love these for friends you have to ship gifts to, since Winc will package and send it directly for you.
Drunk Elephant Skincare
I am obsessed with this skincare and I wish I could gift it to every person I know, because its that freaking good. I love the mini sets that allow you to try a few hero products at a great price point. If you're going for a bigger ticket item, opt for one of their larger kits that contain a fuller range of products. Amazing skincare doesn't always make everyone's budget, especially when you're spending left and right around the holidays, so being able to give the gift of a little self care can feel magical.
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask
This stuff Is a game changer. I've talked about it on the blog and my Instagram so many times before so I will spare you some of the details. This lip mask is great for everyday and overnight wear, and is especially crucial in the colder months. At $20 per jar, it can feel like a bit of a splurge for what you think you could use vaseline for. But seriously, that's why you need to gift this stuff. What one of your friends may not buy for herself, she will truly appreciate the benefits of this skincare essential. This is NO vaseline and definitely worth the $20.
Peter Thomas Roth Face Mask Kit
Or really any face mask kit. I love sampler style beauty kits that give you a chance to sample more than one product and indulge a bit. It might just be me, but face masks feel like a universal sign of relaxation so gifting a variety of them is truly the gift that keeps on giving.
Capri Blue Candles
The best smelling, most beautiful candles ever. You can never have enough of these and no one is EVER disappointed opening one. They are perfect for basically any lady on your list. I also love that they come in the standard size and the minis which are great to throw in with a gift card or a bottle of wine.
I love these monogramed totes from Marley Lilly. They are cute, cost effective, and super durable ( I know because I have a few myself). These are great for just about anyone of your list, but super special for the newly engaged or married ladies. There is nothing like seeing your new monogram as a bride to be! Marley Lilly also always has really great deals so you can spoil your friends without breaking the bank.
A Subscription Box
A subscription box if the ultimate gift that keeps on giving. FabFitFun is one of my favorites because it incorporates a mixture of wellness, home, fashion, and beauty products that will definitely appeal to most tastes. If you gift a year long subscription (under $200), the recipient also has the option to customize their boxes each quarter. I love this idea because it makes you feel like you are getting a special gift four times a year and you get to choose why you really want.
So, that's my curated list! What lovely ladies are on your gifting? Is there anything you are SO excited to give this year?! Drop a comment and let me know.
Also, make sure to check back and follow along on Instagram for my other upcoming gift guides and gift recommendations. You can also check out my Spoonie Gift Guide from last year!
We touched down back in Baltimore today from our week look vacation. As much as I didn’t want to come back to real life, I am happy to be reunited with my pups and sleep in my own bed. The day we get back from trips is always full of trying to get us set back up for the rest of the week. Unpacking, laundry, grocery shopping, trying to make the transition back to the daily grind as easy as possible. My to do list isn’t just full of chores though. I also make sure to take some time to reset my body after being on a different schedule (and potentially being jet lagged). I also prepare for my week and get organized so the 'back to real life' anxiety is kept to a minimum.
Rehydrating is priority numero uno. Usually while I’m unpacking I put on a hydrating face mask to combat any dryness from being on the plane. This past trip I tried this new face mask from Summer Friday’s call Jet Lag, so fitting right? I've also been liking the Drunk Elephant Lippe Balm to help any dry or sunburnt lips.
I also make sure to rehydrate my insides too. This is probably the most important part of my reset routine. If I don't rehydrated properly after traveling I feel pretty miserable and that on top of a post vacation slump is not fun. I usually carry DripDrop ORS on the plane with me so I drink one packet on the flight and another once I get home. On top of the usual dehydration from flying/ traveling I pretty much always have some type of Crohn’s symptoms when I’m away and out of my normal eating routine. This always requires a little extra dehydration relief to make sure I’m feeling good once I’m back to business. I notice, too, that the more dehydrated I am the more my skin will freak out from climate changes between destinations. I think of dehydration relief as the ultimate way to reset my body and make sure I am fueled and balanced to get back to the grind. DripDrop ORS also helps to pack in some extra vitamins that can help prevent getting sick from the nasty germs you can pick up on the plane. Win, win situation overall.
Whether I traveled through different time zones, jet lagged or not, I like to keep my nighttime routine consistent and calming. I make a cup of mint tea with some CBD oil to help me sleep and enjoy this while reading. I always feel the anxiety build in me as the clock creeps closer to having to go back to work. I try and limit this anxiety by trying to stay as relaxed from my trip as possible as long as I can. By getting a good night sleep, I’m more physically and emotionally equipped to handle playing catch up at work when I am back in the office.
The last thing I do, is block out an hour of the day to read critical emails and map out the rest of my week. It’s easy to wait until the morning you return back to the office to catch up, but to me that feels dreadful and chaotic. By feeling prepared and organized for the week of ‘real life’ ahead, my anxiety is lessened and I know what to expect. I make sure to plan my meals and time to move (walk, at home workout, gym) so I can get back into my routine as quickly as possible.
Right now I’m snuggled up on our sofa with our pups, catching up on our shows, and feeling as ready as I can be for the week ahead. What do you do to get back into your routine after a trip?
Okay, we know Amazon is where its at for just about everything. I got great feedback on my Amazon Fashion Finds blog post I did a little while ago, so I decided to start to share some more of my Amazon faves. I’ve been on a serious budget kick lately as were trying to factor in revamping some areas of our house and (hopefully) a new car soon, without sacrificing our love for traveling and our upcoming trips. Amazon is a life saver for not only getting stuff delivered to your doorstep in record time, but also for finding quality items at great prices. I’ve decided to give you all an inside look on what my Amazon shopping list has looked like for the past month, highlighting the top five items that are budget friendly and have made my life easier in some way or another.
This COLOR WOW spray is a miracle for your hair. My mother in law recommended I try this stuff to combat the frizzy hair problems that summer brings. This heat activated spray works like a keratin treatment that you apply to your hair every three washes. I have super fine hair, but it doesn’t weigh it down. It gives me a silky texture and keeps my ends from getting dry and unruly. Its less than $30 and you only need a little bit every use so you really get a bang for your buck.
This here is a digital camera card reader that imports photos from your memory card directly to your iPhone. I bought this solely based on the recommendation of my friend and favorite photographer, Madison Short. She posted it as a must have on her Insta story and for only $12 I was sold. It makes updating your content while traveling so much easier so it’s a big must for any avid bloggers.
I haven’t stopped wearing these headbands. The Skinny Confidential posted these Gucci knockoffs the other day in Instagram and I purchased IMMEDIATELY. They are a current favorite for spicing up a boring outfit and ideal for days when you want to look put together but washing your hair is not in the cards for you. You can get all three colors for $12. Score.
I needed a new vanity mirror since mine just died on me, so I ordered this one on Prime Day. The mirror is way bigger compared to its circular predecessor and the lighting is perfectly even. It is battery powered so there is no annoying cord across your vanity, plus it has a really clean, sleek design that makes it aesthetically pleasing to stay out in the open 24/7. Great investment.
Last but not least, this god damn life saver right here. My husband is NOTORIOUS for losing just about everything, including his wallet. After a close call the other day, thinking we were going to have to cancel and reorder every credit card we have, I had to put my foot down. The Tile Slim is perfect for your forgetful hubby (or for yourself). It just slips inside your wallet or purse, or even on your phone, so that you can track the whereabouts of your items 24/7. The Slim is a perfect size for a guy to slip into his wallet and will help him stay on top of his game. Let’s face it, we can’t make them less forgetful but we can help proactively solve the problem instead of searching the house for three hours every other weekend.
I’m gearing up to do another Amazon Fashion finds post after I pull together all of my favorite pieces for transitioning into fall. I’ve already snagged a few, but I’m making sure they are tried and true before I can officially recommend.
What was your most helpful Amazon purchase this past month?
Okay, so if you read my most recent post on my health update, you know that I recently started seeing a new primary care doctor. So far she has been great and I am super positive about my switch. One of the things I really like about her approach, is that she really strives to see the bigger picture, instead of just focusing on all symptoms separately. This is so critical when you are dealing with autoimmune diseases since they manifest so differently in everybody and their symptoms can be tricky to pin down. I wanted to share a conversation that we had because, number one, I really liked how she approached it, and number two, this advice may be able to help other IBD sufferers. Full disclosure, I am not a medical professional, or qualified to give any medical advice. What I can do, is share my experience in hopes that it may inspire you to have similar conversations with your doctor.
Our main discussion was around a few concerns I have had over the past few months, related to weird symptoms I was experiencing. I couldn't tell if these were related to Crohn's symptoms, medication side effects, or some other issue entirely. I had been getting headaches as well as spikes in my blood pressure pretty frequently. Usually my BP runs pretty normal and stably, I've been hooked up to vital machines every six weeks for the past four-ish years so I know. I had exams, blood work, EKGs, the whole nine yards done, but no one could figure out what was going on. Everyone was assuming these were due to my anxiety, which could be the case some times, but honestly I feel like my anxiety has been more in control over the past few months than it has ever been. Things weren't adding up.
My new doctor and I started having conversations around this and we uncovered the almost annoyingly simple answer. In my frustration I ranted about how my Crohn's symptoms being better the past few months, obviously not gone entirely, but things have been under control. I went on about how conscious I was about taking care of my body when my symptoms were bad and how I don't understand why something else seems to be wrong now. Then the question of how much water I was drinking came up. Of course I make sure to stay hydrated! When my Crohn's is bad I actually HAVE TO pay attention to my hydration at all times to make sure I don't end up in the hospital. Things started to click together as I explained my diligent hydration routine. I realized that since my Crohn's symptoms have been better, my avoidance of dehydration had slipped to the back of my mind. When I was doing a physical activity or out in the sun I was always careful to pack a DripDrop packet and track my water intake, but as far as day to day, for some reason I guess since I wasn't losing as much water due to my symptoms, all was well. This is NOT THE CASE. My symptoms aren't gone completely so I am still at a higher risk of dehydration, but I was acting like this wasn't even a factor anymore.
As we pieced this together I honestly felt like an idiot. She explained how your blood pressure can be seriously impacted by dehydration and I needed to make sure that was a priority even if I was seemingly feeling fine. She was convinced that the chronic dehydration I had recently been unknowingly experiencing was the cause for my blood pressure spikes. I was cracking myself up with how crazy this sounded after I went through all of these tests and freaked myself out to no end. "I have a partnership with the best Oral Rehydration Solution company out there. I drink them whenever I work out or am outside or am sick." I was literally yelling at myself in her office. "Well start not just drinking them when you think you 'need' to. Start drinking one per day at least and two in the summer." My doctor literally just prescribed me DripDrop to fix my BP and headache issues.....
Over the past six weeks or so, I've been taking her advice and making sure I am being way more conscious of my water intake and making sure I am adding DripDrop to my water at least once per day. I also have been diligent about the one glass of champagne to one glass of water ratio rule, which I am very proud of. Go. Me. Miraculously my headaches have improved and my blood pressure has been way more normal. Wow.
So what did I learn from this story and why am I sharing it. One, I am thankful I have a doctor that actually thought of chronic dehydration instead if just trying to prescribe me an unnecessary pill. Two, sometimes the seemingly more simple answer is the right one. Three, just because you are feeling okay doesn't mean you can slack on your usual care and precautions. Last thing, I was really excited to share this story because DripDrop genuinely has helped me so much. I know I talk about DripDrop often and how it is a product I am proud to be a partner to. But I also know in the world of social media where bloggers are promoting products all the time it is hard to tell what is authentic and what isn't. I like being able to share a story like this, where you can see how DripDrop truly is a part of my health protocol. It isn't just part of an Instagram post, or a blog post. This isn't just a lifestyle product I am taking cute photos of (although, yes, I think they are very cute). This is a product that changes lives and saves lives. And I am very proud to work with them.
Blonde babe. Maryland native. Crohn's crushing puppy mother to two sweet rescues.
Welcome to my unfiltered commentary on crushing chronic illness in your 20's and everything that goes along with that.