9 Of My Favorite Things

So I wanted to just give you a glimpse into some of my favorite things for the holiday season. There is no rhyme or reason to this list.  Some aren’t even clutter free!  (Gasp!).  However, they are things I love and would LOVE to receive.  Santa are you listening?

Favorite Things

1.  Zebra Nine’s custom designs never disappoint.  They are beautiful, durable and meaningful.  For jewelry like this you’d expect to pay a lot, but it’s quite affordable.  This year I was able to try out her Thankful, Grateful, Blessed necklace.  It’s stunning and just wearing it is a great reminder of all you have in your life.  I love Zebra Nine’s jewelry because you can wear it every day…it’s comfortable and easy to wear.  The silver in this necklace goes with everything too!

2.  Cooper & Ella is one of my favorite clothing brands.  Their clothes are comfortable, stylish and easy to wear.  It’s so great to have your closet filled with things you can throw on with dress pants or jeans and run out the door looking great.  The fabrics are easy to wear and easy to care for.  I love wearing my Cooper & Ella items to professional events.  I also love wearing them out running errands or for coffee.  They are one of the few things in my closet I can clean fast enough to have them clean and ready to wear again.  Some of their fall styles are great for going out and nights on the town.  (Perfect for all those family events and holidays parties!)  Check out the Emily Button Back Blouse in Plaid.  PERFECT for holiday gatherings.  You’ll look stylish but be oh so comfy.  Everyone will want to touch your shirt!  I love that I can wear festive plaid and still be in a soft, feminine, flatting piece!

3.  If you need an amazing piece of jewelry, check out Jane Bach. Their initial jewelry is high quality, long lasting and a classic.  You’ll love their unique bracelets and necklaces.  These are amazing gifts for friends, grandmothers, mothers and even teenagers who love a little preppy.

4.  Michael Stars is another one of my go to brands.  Their clothes launder well, look effortless and feel amazing.  I was able to try out two of their new designs.  The Long Sleeve Crewneck is everything but ordinary.  It’s made of a soft, flowing knit and looks amazing paired with jeans or a pair of dress pants.  I have this in black and I’m wearing it to a holiday party with a black shirt and statement necklace. However, it will just as easily go with yoga pants, sneakers and a scarf.  My favorite part?  THUMBHOLES! Gift this to yourself and your girl friends, it’s a crowd favorite.

If you want something special, I love the Long Sleeve Sweatshirt With Zipper Back.  Soft and cozy like your favorite sweatshirt, but with the style of a high end piece.  The white looks awesome for both winter AND spring.  The front of the sweatshirt has detailing making this look like a piece worthy of heels.  However, it feels like your old college sweatshirt.  I love this piece…I can look AND feel good at the same time.  It’s timeless and has no season.

5.  Bryght’s Eustace Wall Shelf is not only beautiful, but it helps organize any room where you hang it. I love the idea of not only giving a beautiful shelf like this as a gift, but taking the gift a step further.  Place a cherished collection on the shelf or frame some meaningful photos on it as an added surprise.  The shelf is a work of art and it made of stunning wood grain.  You’re going to love this on your wall!

Bryght Shelf

6.  No dog lover should be with with this next item.  The iFetch is an automatic ball thrower for your dog.  All they need to do is return the ball to a well sized slot and the iFetch throws it for them!  I have two active border collies.  They could play fetch all day.  Sadly, I have to work and can’t play with them all day.  However, the iFetch can! This is awesome for inside and outside and outside play.  Get your pup the exercise they need which training them to do a new trick. This stimulates their mind and body.  My pups give it four paws up!

7.  Leatherology has some stunning options.  My favorite is their Leather Pouch.  I was lucky enough to receive the embossed version with a heart on it and my initials in the bottom right hand corner.  Not only can you choose the color of the pouch but you have embossing options.  This is a luxurious and personalized gift that anyone would love to receive.  It’s soft and beautiful but it holds a surprising amount of stuff!  I love that it even has some small inner pouches as well.  I will carry this as a purse, use it for office supplies on the go or even bring it to business meetings.  It makes me smile every time I see it and because of its high functionality, that will be a lot!

8.  Lola&Sophie is one of my go to, favorite brands. Their clothes are SO so soft and comfy while being so stylish. I love that seemingly simple items, like this grey sweater, are modernized with details like asymmetrical hemlines and zippers.  I can leave the house in this sweater, and no matter where I’m going, I feel comfortable and stylish.  I’ve worn this with cropped ponte pants and heels, jeans and boots and even yoga pants and sneakers.  I think all looked good.  Lole & Sophie have some amazing tops, dresses, and bottoms that will become your favorite wardrobe staples.

9.  SinfulColors nail polish is an amazing gift.  Depending on your budget, you can buy one or a whole set for a friend. The colors are amazing for the holidays, but extend the whole year through.  I was able to try out some of the colors and they are vibrant, fun and long lasting.  These make great stocking stuffers, but also serve as amazing hostess and teacher gifts!  Follow them on Facebook to see all of their amazing holiday collections.

SinfulColors

 

 

 

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Giving Grown Up Style (And 24 hour giveaway!)

We all have a boy on our list…..he’s a teenager or early teen and you just have no idea what to get them.  You used to be able to buy them toys, games and even possibly sneak in a sweater.  However, he’s older now and you have no idea how to gift to this allusive teenage creative.  I’ve found your solution…it’s new new scents from Old Spice!  I tried this out on a living, breathing teenager and the success was shocking.  He even said thank you when I gave him the kit!

Please note I took part in a sponsored campaign for Old Spice.  However, my opinions are my own and I’m bringing you this because I think it’s a great fit for your holiday shopping needs.  And who doesn’t love a giveaway?  Scroll down to enter.

Their scents, Timber and Swagger are just what you AND your teenager need.  Not only do they eliminate the need for over spraying (and you know exactly what I’m talking about), they work ALL day.  When your teenager sweats, these kick into over time and release scent.  Even after a whole day at school, practice and a rough and tumble evening of gaming, he smelled great.  (And not like a drugstore!)

Timber

Not only is this gift consumable, it’s really a rite of passage. It’s thoughtful.  It’s all about learning how to “scent responsibly”. Giving them the right tools is the key.  What I love personally is that men in my family have used Old Spice for generations.  It’s like handing down a tradition.  (And an affordable one at that!)  SAVE on gifting Old Spice this holiday with the COUPONS available here.

Old Spice can be bought in my forms…deodorant, body wash, body spray, shampoo and more!  Gift these in stockings as well as under the tree.  Check out all of the options on the Old Spice Site.

If your boy (or girl) has outgrown gently used plastic toys, it’s time to give them another life with the Second Chance Toys. Learn more about their program here.

You’re not alone in being a little sad about your small one being not so small anymore…..check out Old Spice’s sequel to Momsong here:

Okay, here’s the best part…..We’re doing a giveaway!  Here’s what you can win:  (Scroll down to enter!)

-Old Spice Re-fresh Body Spray – The gift that keeps on giving, one spray at a time. Be among the first to enjoy new Old Spice Timber – the best way to get that lumberjacky smell without working at a local tree lot.

-Old Spice T-Shirt – The manliest chest tattoo on the planet without the regret when you turn 60.

Old Spice Branded Earbuds – Silence mom’s singing in the car. You’re welcome.

-Bear Paws Meat Tool – Cutlery your dad, his friend Dave and Uncle John will be impressed with when you’re given the reins to carve the holiday bird.

-Duct Tape – Fix anything on the planet, except holiday lights, where only half the strand works.

-Art of Manliness Book – Full of wisdom and New Year’s Resolutions.

-“Scent Responsibly” Instructions – Nothing will earn you grandma’s fruitcake faster than overspraying. Thanks to Old Spice Re-fresh technology – where one spray lasts all day – you can smell like a man and not a middle school locker room.  

-Smellcome to Manhood Certificate – A made-up diploma for the inside of your locker or to add to your LinkedIn profile.

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Gift Guide 2014-For When You’re REALLY Stumped

Sometimes you really want to get that special someone something, well, special.  I wanted to gather together a few items for you that are still useful and they are beautiful and thoughtful.  Read on to get inspired.  Have another idea?  Share it in the comment below with us! Gift guide

**Please note I received samples of some of these items in order to write these reviews.  My opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.**

1.  Doie Lounge has some really stunning robes.  They aren’t your grandmother’s house coat.  These are so soft that you’ll end up wearing it more often than you should.  They come in a variety of colors, each tipped with a unique and outspoken patten that makes the robes something special.  This is a great gift for anyone who loves luxury and can use a little more pampering time in their day.  AND, you can get 15% off with code JOYFUL (cannot be combined with other offers).

2. Chavez for Charity combines beauty with doing good. Their bracelets come in a variety of colors with beautiful and meaningful charms and retail for just $10 each.  25% of all proceeds go to benefit various charities.  These are amazing charities that make a big difference for people, animals and the communities they are a part of.  These bracelets and stunning in person and are stretchy so they fit just about anyone.  Great hostess gifts or teacher presents, it’s easy to order a bunch!

3.  Isotoner is a name you’ve known and loved for generations.  They have some pretty awesome new slippers.   The Woodlands Luka is a clog style with an awesome tribal design and just a touch of chic faux fur.  They are super comfy, soft and with the rubber bottom you won’t slip or slide around the house.  These make an amazing gift!

4.  Yoobi is candy for adults.  They make school and office supplies.  However, these aren’t the boring supplies you usually find in the supply cabinet.  These are adorable, brightly colored supplies that are unique and fun to use. They carry; binders, markers, push pins, staplers, notepads and lots more!  Their message is one for one. Meaning for every item you buy, they donate one item to a school in need.  My favorite item is their Mini highlighter pack.  These tiny highlights are great for purses, lockers or your back pocket.  Who can resist their cuteness?  Oh and Yoobi’s products are super affordable.

5.  A good bra and panties can not only change the look of your clothing and outfit, but it can change the way you feel.  Knowing you look good helps you approach your day with confidence. Felina and Le Mystere carry some of the best fitting, most comfortable and softest undergarments out there.  They are flattering to all sizes and the comfortable fabrics will make you grab these from your drawer over and over again.  I was able to try some of their items out and I found that they made me look polished and didn’t create any unflattering lines under my clothes.  From yoga pants to blouses to tee shirts, there are a go to item that will make a great gift for anyone who could use a little something special for themselves.

6.  Klub Nico is a woman’s dream. Their shoes are on super stylish, edgy and oh so comfortable.  I love the Lolo boots I was able to try out.  They are a little more cutting edge than I would traditionally pick out for myself.  However, they spice up any old outfit I throw on….I’ve worn them with leggings and a shirt as well as jeans and a sweater.  They are real leather and are really high quality shoes that will keep up with you over time and throughout your busy lifestyle.  I like that they give me a little height but there is no high heel to deal with while I’m racing from event to event.  These are a great wardrobe piece that any woman would love to have under the tree!  Check out all their other shoes too!  (They have LOTS!)  Want a little bonus?  Get free shipping on them at Nordstrom.

7.  Pajama Sutra are the softest PJs you’ll wear.  Unlike most boxy pajama pants, they are flattering.  Available in patterns for grown ups, they are 100% cotton, super soft and cozy and wash well.  Everyone loves a new pair of comfortable pajama pants, why not make them stylish?  You’ll love them too :)    

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Start Where You Are

Start Where You Are

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Easy Weekend Crockpot Cooking~White Chicken Chili

The winter months can always be made a little better with a  good bowl of chili.  This recipe is good for chilly winter nights and it’s also a great meal to have on hand as families visit during the holidays.  Make a double batch and freeze some.  It’s another easy, go to meal that you most likely have the mixings for in the pantry.

White Bean Chicken Chili

BeanChicChiliStepsHere’s what I put into the crockpot:

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon oregano

dash of pepper (fresh ground)

dash of salt

1 teaspoon cumin

3 frozen chicken breasts

1 bag of white beans (soaked over night)

3 cans of chicken broth

1 small can of green chilies

Put it all in and set to cook on low.  A few hours in, cut up the chicken.  It’s usually tender enough to shred with two forks.

When you’re ready to serve add in some shredded cheese and sour cream and serve!

This is a low fat, high protein meal that even kids will love!

 

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Holiday Travel Read-After

You may have heard about After.  Written by Anna Todd, it came to be in a brand new way.  Anna started writing After on Wattpad, an app on her phone.  She shared it one story at a time, digitally through her app.  Over time, After became a sensation and people were asking for more and more.  What started as a hobby for Anna has now turned into a four book series.  After, the is the first in the series.

I participated in the After by Anna Todd blog program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided a copy of the book but all opinions are my own.

After tells the story of a college freshman who has it all together.  Well, at least she thinks she does, until she meets someone she just can’t get out of her head.  The story became an internet sensation and readers were clamoring for more.  YOU get to read the whole story in it’s entirety in After.

You’re going to be hearing a lot from Anna Todd.  She’s a talented writer who is passionate about everything in her books!  Her story is unique; married right out of high school, she worked odd jobs while her husband was deployed three times.  She never aspired to be an author!

After Cover

So all of this made me curious about Wattpad.  I will admit, I’ve never used it.  I looked into it after reading After  and it’s awesome!  Wattpad is a mobile and social app that allows writers to publish their work and readers to digest it, for free.  They can even make suggestions, share and comment.  It’s a great platform if you want to read some up and coming authors, test the waters of your own work or try a different genre.  More than 24 hours of reading material is posted on Wattpad every minute!

So…..I’ve given you a lot to think  about…..I wanted to write this blog post now because lots of you are traveling for the holidays.  Spend the time on the train, plane or in the car wisely and pick up a great book like After or try your hand at Wattpad!  (And if you love After, there will be three more books in the series coming out!)

You can buy a physical copy of After here or get it for your e-reader here.

 

 

 

 

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Organizing Tip ~ Invest Your Time Wisely

Invest Wisely

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Organizing Gift Guide

**Please note I received samples of some of these products in order to facilitate this review.  My opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.**

Organizing Gift Guide

Want to help someone get organized?  These gifts will help them get started on the right foot.  Getting organized isn’t easy, but these products it will be a little more fun.  Instead of gifts that become clutter, give something that can really have a positive impact on their daily life.  And when they get organized, they will think of you :)

1.  A good calendar is critical to keeping a well organized schedule.  Many families balance multiple extra curricular activities, events, work schedules and family activities.  Neu Year’s calendar is just what you need to be able to keep track of your busy life and to see it, all in one place.  I love using it and color coding each family member’s activities.  You can get two versions. One starts on Sundays and the other starts on Mondays.  This is also great if you are a freelancer and want to track jobs, time worked or meetings.  Check out all of their amazing calendars and you’ll find one that fits the bill!

2.  It’s time to gather up all of those little  odds and ends and get them organized.  ReFleece’s pouches are great for kids and adult alike.  They are made with old clothes and scraps that would have otherwise ended up in the landfill.  Every case is unique. They come in three sizes (Medium is 9″ wide by 3.5″ tall, with a 2.5″ wide rectangular base.) and lots of fun color.   Fill these with office supplies, cosmetics, first aid stuff, charger cables, and more.  Lined with an old raincoat or wind-shell, your zip-it can be wiped clean.  (I LOVE that!).  These make a great gift for anyone on your site.  These could even be used as wrapping paper!

3.  Wrapster isn’t a large gift but it’s something everyone needs.  Stop fighting with your phone headset or your ear buds and organize them with the Wrapster.  It’s a simple principle…wrap your cords around and they never get tangled.  Next time you head out for a run or try to take a phone call, knots, and frustration, will be no where in sight. Oh and it’s just $1.99.

4.  Okay anyone who knows me knows I love purses. I love them just about as much as being organized. So when I was first told about Pouchee, I was excited.  This makes the purses you love, BETTER.  Pouchee allows you to keep as of you small essentials (checkbook, credit cards, lip gloss, phone, etc) in all of its small compartments. It forces you to stay organized and return items to their given spots. The best part is yet to come however. You can then take your Pouchee from purse to purse! This allows you to switch purses quickly and easily and without forgetting anything! It is large enough to fit your essentials, but small enough to fit in most bags. It comes in a variety of colors so you can find one that will contrast with your purse lining.    The leather Pouchee is sophisticated and so pretty you’ll want to carry it as a purse!  (And you can with the shoulder strap that comes with it!)  They come in a variety of fabrics, patterns and colors.  Order a bunch-your friends will love these.  

5.  It’s time to get those photos organized.  One of the best ways to do that is to get them off of your camera and onto the walls.  I was able to try out CanvasPop.  Their services takes your digital photos from your camera, phone, Facebook or even Instagram and turns them into amazing, high quality are.  This is a great gift for a teenager who loves to take photos, a photographer looking for  way to display their art or a family member who doesn’t get to see you as often as they’d like.  Prices start at about $35.  Once you check out their site, you’ll be inspired! Want 30% off?  Use code JOYFUL (expires in January 2015)

6.  This set of leather bins may be the most unique and stunning thing you’ve seen in along time.   These containers are absolutely gorgeous and are useful too.  Hold utensils, office supplies, hats and gloves, scarves, or even magazines in them.  The possibilities are endless.  They are sturdy too!  They come in four sizes so you can get one to meet your needs.  This is an amazing gift that will not be forgotten.  Let me tell you a little about the process of how they are created:

Leather appliqué is a process where hand-wrought domesticated water
buffalo leather is hand-filigreed with different design patterns. The
average labour time to create each piece by hand is 15 to 20 days. The
Leather appliqué and cotton storage/ paper bins has the filigreed
leather placed over solid coloured 100% cotton dyed fabrics on the
exterior which makes the medium an appliqué. The interior of the
storage/ paper bins are 100% cotton that has been block printed. Block
printing is done first by hand carving wood blocks into design
patterns on one side and a handle for the artisan to hold the carving
on the opposite side. Each colour of the design must be a different
carving and step by step by stamping the blocks that have been dipped
into different coloured dye the patterns are created onto the cotton.
Leather appliqué was developed in the 17th Century in present-day
India as a royal patroned art.

 

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Elf Gets Organized-Day 12-Relax

So you’ve already been going a million miles an hour and the holiday season is flying by you.  This is your official reminder, from The Joyful Organizer and Elf on the Shelf, to take some time for you.  Relax and have a cup of peppermint mocha.  Meet a friend to chat about your year or go for a manicure.  This task isn’t about racing to the next event or spending a lot of money, it’s about taking a few moments to enjoy the season for all that it is.

Day 12

 

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