Thursday, December 8, 2016

Gift Ideas for the Gracious Host - A DIY Gift Basket

It's that time of year- holiday open houses, Christmas cocktail parties and progressive dinner parties begin dotting calendars left and right. If you're like me and refuse to show up empty handed to any little soiree then this post is for you. It's time to ditch that bottle of wine your girlfriend may never, ever drink and check out this easy DIY hostess gift basket that you can put together for as little as $25 and guarantee yourself a repeat invite into their home. 

When gathering trinkets to add to the basket, I try to think of things I would like to be on the receiving end of. That may sound selfish but the truth is, I tend to choose sweet, thoughtful accessories for my home and self that while I wouldn't necessarily splurge on them personally, I'd undoubtedly love to receive them from others. It's a creative way to say "thank you" to that gracious hostess and friend in your life. 

1. Start with your basket. Now, this doesn't need to be a basket in the literal sense, as there's many receptacles you could choose to fill. My girlfriend once gave me a beautiful little serving bowl filled with spa goodies that was just as appreciated had it been stuffed in a sock. Whatever you choose, aim for something that could be used time and time again. For this basket I chose a little wooden crate from TJMaxx that could easily be re-purposed as next year's Christmas decor.

2. Who doesn't love a pretty candle? Whenever I pull together a gift basket, I always try to include a seasonal candle in a decorative jar. This one comes in an ornate mercury glass jar and smells like a fir tree!

3. Include something for the hostess herself. For this particular basket, I threw in a pair of tech-savvy buffalo plaid gloves and a knit pom hat (because what woman couldn't use an extra winter hat or gloves?) Other great ideas include a pair of costume earrings, nail polish or a lip gloss set. 

4 and 7, The kitchen is the heart of a home. Therefore, I always like to include something for the kitchen when I'm putting together a gift basket. This basket includes an oven mitt and Kate Spade dish towel set. 

5. Sneak in some sweets. While a homemade snack would undoubtedly go the extra mile, chocolate is chocolate no matter how it gets in the basket. In past years I've whipped up a generously sized batch of Moose Munch and divvied it up among hostess gifts- this year, however, these dark chocolate covered mint patties will have to suffice. 

6. Don't forget the bubbly. Ever.

Read on below for some more great gift basket ideas from some of my favorite blogging gals. Whether you're shopping for the coffee lover, beer drinker, spa frequenter or mom to many in your life, there's some excellent ideas for everyone!

Craft Beer Gift Basket - Ellie & Addie

Coffee Lovers Gift Basket - Chasin' Mason

DIY Money Tree - Seeing All Sides

Homemade Hot Chocolate Gift Basket - Running From The Law 

Champagne Gift Basket - East Coast Chic

Spa Day Gift Basket - Secrets of a Stay At Home Mom

Kid Craft Gift Basket - The Adventure Starts Here

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

From Ponte Knit to Fringe to A Cotton Target Tee, How This Mom Does Holiday Style - A $250 Nordstrom Giveaway!

Today, I'm really excited to be teaming up with the fabulous and fashionable girls over at Take Time For Style to share my take on how "Moms Do Holiday Style." 

I had grand plans to talk a bit more about what I wore for our family pictures but then thought maybe I'd write about my favorite new style item, the frindged-capelet, but as I was uploading some photos, it got me thinking- not only will there be plenty of glitz and glam shared by some fantastic ladies during the next few weeks (many whom are much more fashionable than I), but since I spend the majority of my day in jeans and t-shirts, why not share a holiday twist on my every day look? 

At first is was ponte knit pants and a dolman-sleeve sweater for family photos, paired with my all-time favorite pair of booties...

And then it was almost a fringed capelet (which totally feels like you're wearing a warm blanket) paired once again with my favorite favorite ankle boots... 

And yes, this is what it's really like taking pictures with our family. 

But ultimately, it's function over fashion that always wins out, so jeans and a santa silhouette t-shirt is what I decided to go with for today's post.

What prompted this fun and festive purchase, you might be wondering? The answer is simple. As room mom for my oldest's Kindergarten class, I wanted something merry and whimsical to wear for his upcoming class party. I first wanted to buy this shirt when it rolled out in early November but couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger before Thanksgiving. Thankfully there was a whole entire rack left when I went back to Target this week for, you guessed it, bread and laundry detergent. 

Because when does one EVER walk into Target to buy just what's on their list, especially during a holiday season? As soon as Carter saw me in this shirt, he immediately exclaimed, "Mom, you could TOTALLY be one of Santa's elves wearing that!" 

Nailed it. This year? This is how I'll be doing Mom's Holiday Style. (Just don't tell my Cyber Monday JCrew Factory purchase that...) 

T-shirt: Target
Jeans: JCrew Factory
Wellie Boots: Hunter (from $79!)

Be sure to tune in all month long to Take Time For Style's Mom's Do Holiday Fashion collaboration and check out all the many different styles shared. 

Before you go, click here to enter to 
win $250 to Nordstrom!

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Gift Guide: What To Buy For The Toddler Boy (Ages 2-4)

A Real Dustbuster \ Plasma Car and Helmet \ Sprout Channel Tablet

Step2 Flip and Doodle Desk \ T-Ball Set \ Thomas the Tank Engine Ride-on Coaster

Table and Chair Set \ Superhero Dress Up Set

1. Laugh if you must but there will absolutely be a real dustbuster beneath the tree for our 2yo this year. Honestly? I should probably wrap a second one for my 4yo as it's been a beloved toy when we visit both my parents and our friends who have one- the best part? It actually works and costs about the same (if not less) than a "working" toy vacuum. 

2. This isn't the first time I raved about our plasma cars. Four years running, these are the MOST-PLAYED with toy in our entire house. All three of my boys have one and they spend hours racing them up and down our sidewalk. Don't forget your helmet!

3. My older boys already have Kindles and while they're great and perfectly age-appropriate for 6.5 and 4.5, I love that the Sprout Channel tablet comes pre-loaded with over 40 of your  toddler's favorite Sprout TV shows. There's games, crafts, coloring pages and more! The price point and rubber casing sweeten its appeal.

4. I love the idea of a little art station tucked away in the corner of a playroom. For years I've allowed the boys to use their kid-sized table and chairs set for arts & crafts and truth be told, they've ruined it with paint, markers and stickers. This is a great alternative to creating a safe space for little artists.

5. Another one of my 2.5yo's favorites- the T-ball set! Sure, we've probably been watching too much of The Sandlot but he loves playing baseball and running the bases in the backyard with his brothers!

6. This is a total splurge-worthy gift but at least it doesn't come with a million small pieces, am I right? I've wanted to get the boys one of these ride on roller coasters for years and after both our 2 and 4 year old spent the majority of a recent playdate playing with it? We'll be surprising the boys with one of these next month. If nothing else, it will undoubtedly break up some of the hum-drum winter doldrums in our house!

7. Speaking of a kid-sized table and chairs set, this is one of my favorites and will be set up in Collins' bedroom of our new house- giving him his own little space to sit down, read a book and play with his toys (free from the disturbance of older brothers).

8. All three of the boys received these as birthday party favors and our littlest asks to wear his "supah-hero dress" every day. Any dress-up costume would do but my boys love this set in particular. 

What's on your toddler and/or pre-schooler's list this year?
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