Best Gift Guides of 2018

Holiday shopping can be so stressful. I like to think that I do a pretty good job at knowing what someone needs or what they would enjoy, but sometimes it’s just hard and while it feels kind of like cheating to ask someone “what do you want?” it can be a good guarantee to give something that will actually be used and appreciated. Each year I feel like I struggle buying for one person… and every year it changes! Last year, I had NO idea what to get my brother-in-law, but this year I feel like I really knocked it out of the park… whereas last year I knew exactly what to get my mom, and this year it’s just cricket sounds when I try and thing of something. (I finally broke down and asked for ideas… so hi mom please email me back with some!) 🙂

One thing that has helped me narrow down my gift choices in the past is GIFT GUIDES!!! You might be sick of them already (it seems like there are 12 new ones showing up in my feed every day) but man they can be helpful! I love seeing what items show up on multiple lists (aka the hot items of the year) and seeing what items are crazy (like, who would ever buy that?!?!). I also find it… we’ll say entertaining… to see gift guides that are WAAAAAAAAY out of my budget. Like, wow you fancy that you think this $80 thing is a casual stocking stuffer, ok. Good for you, but no.

Every time I have seen a gift guide in my feed that I enjoyed, I added it to a list and I wanted to share the best of the best I’ve seen so far! Don’t waste your time looking all over the internet – no! They’re all right here for you! Hooray!

For the GUYS:

Gifts under $50

Gifts for lots of different types of guys

15 gifts for him

Ultimate gift guide for every man in your life

Ultimate gift guide for men

Gift guide for him

Gift guide for guys

Boyfriend gift guide


For the GALS:

Gift ideas for her

Gift guide for her under $50

Gift Guide for her: Mostly under $100

Cozy gift guide for her



Makeup gift guide

Gifts for beauty lovers

Beauty junkie gift guide



Gift guide for the bibliophile

Adulting gifts

Gifts for the homebody

Gift guide for the best friend

Gifts for chronic illness patients

Gift guide for the jet-setter 

Gifts from Amazon



Gifts for co-workers or your boss

Gift guide for your co-worker



Gift guide for toys

Gift guide for the snuggle bug



Stocking stuffers

Stocking stuffers

(To be honest I think all of these “stocking stuffers” would be excellent normal gifts that go under the tree, but they labeled them as “stocking stuffers” so here they are on my list.)


My Holiday Bucket List

Now that Thanksgiving is officially over, it’s now 100% acceptable to be in holiday mode!!! To be honest, I’ve been in holiday mode ever since I got back from Boston. I’ve been putting up decorations, listening to Christmas music, and trying to plan out what I’m going to get all my favorite people for gifts this year. I am usually completely DONE with shopping by this point in the year, and I don’t know what happened, but I’m feeling very behind! Hopefully I can get that wrapped up soon (and then get the gifts wrapped up soon!!)

I love a good list, and so I thought I should make myself a little holiday bucket list this year! Life gets so hectic and busy around the holidays (I do realize that I’m saying this as a single person with no pets and no children and no significant other so how busy can I actually be but I still feel busy!) and in years past I’d get into January and then suddenly realize “OH NO I FORGOT TO DO *insert holiday activity* THIS YEAR!!!!!!!!!!” I can’t let that happen again!

I love that I can already cross a few things off this list!! I’ve got to make some Christmas cookies this weekend to take to a church holiday party, but I want to make some other cookies, too, and maybe take them to my office! My mom sent me home with approximately 74 Hershey kisses so I’m sure I’ll make the peanut butter blossom cookies (those are one of my favorites!) I’m not sure what my Christmas craft will be – I’ve always wanted to try making my own cinnamon ornaments (like these) so maybe I’ll give those a go!!

Hitting Reset After a Vacation

Vacations are just the best, am I right?!? The fun and the food and the adventures and the food and the relaxation and the food! Clearly you see my priorities when I’m in a new place – I love seeing all the sights and trying ALL the local foods! I really did a good job getting my fill with all things tourist-related while in Boston last week. That city is delicious.

But now that I’m back home and no longer really sick, it’s time to get back in the swing of things and get my life back on track. When I’ve had a particularly indulgent trip (you know, one that includes cannolis and the world’s best frozen margaritas and black and white cookies and coffees and you get where I’m going here), I really like to hit a reset button when I get home and get my body and my mind back to feeling the very best. I do this is a few different ways!

Reset: My Face

It’s all fun and games and vacation treats until you get home and it’s breakout city. I know that when I’m on vacation, I’m not the best about getting my skincare routine done fully each and every night. Shoot, I consider it a good night if I even remember to take my makeup off before passing out from all the fun (or in the case of my most recent trip, passing out from NyQuil. Which happened. In the middle of a conversation. Sorry gals!)

So when I get home and my face is feeling dry and neglected, I really like to make sure that I’m taking the time to get my face back in order. This means that I’m washing my face morning and night (using this cleansing sponge), using this rosehip facial oil, and making sure I use a good moisturizer both day and night.

Since my skin is normally super dehydrated after all the plane rides and hotel rooms and generally not drinking enough water, I always make sure that I do good hydrating face and eye masks when I get home. This face mask is always my favorite and I found some gold eye masks on Amazon that might not even do anything but I like the little pampering feeling that I get from using them!

Reset: My Nutrition

After eating ALL the yummy food with little to no hesitation while on a trip, it’s good to kind of reign it in when I get home and get my body back to a more normal state. I try do get lots of healthy groceries and make the glowing green smoothie for a few mornings as my breakfast. It’s a great way to start your day with greens and fruit and no added sugars and starting my day with all the healthy things really helps me keep that mindset for the rest of the day.

For the rest of my food, I do what I call “Half-30” where I try my best to limit sugar, gluten, grains, alcohol, and processed foods and eat as many wholesome, clean meals as possible where I focus on lean protein and lots and lots of vegetables. (This time was kind of rough since I was so sick and ate nothing but soup for 5 days… but I’m starting back with this now!!)

Reset: My Movement

I feel like you get where I’m going here – it’s time to get moving! Although we did a TON of walking while in Boston (including a 2 mile trek from our apartment to the Boston Tea Party Museum), we also did a lot of sitting and relaxing, too. So now that I’m back, I really want to make sure that my body is getting back to a normal rhythm of movement, but I also don’t want to go too crazy and overdo it! So my plan is to simply walk! I’m making sure that I walk for at least 30 minutes every day so I get back in the habit. It’s crazy cold here in Dallas right now, so I’ve been walking on the treadmill at the gym while listening to an audiobook!

Another thing I make sure to do is STRETCH! Stretch every day! It’s nice to just take 10 minutes at the end of the day and relax while stretching, and it helps to make sure I’m feeling limber and ready to walk the next day, too!

Reset: My Mind

There always seems to be a ton of stuff to catch up on when getting back from a vacation, right? So in order to actually get all the things done, I really try and focus on keeping my mind focused on the important things. Unfortunately, watching TV does not fall into that category… so I try to make sure that I’m not mindlessly wasting my time watching The Office for the 14th time, read a little bit more instead, and make sure that I get a solid night’s sleep each and every night.


Desktop Backgrounds for Summer

Hi there! I’m here with another installment of some of my favorite desktop backgrounds! I’m trying to keep my work desktop looking bright and fun during the summer, and these will definitely help me do that.

download here

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Since I change my desktop background every week on Monday (I don’t get people who have had the same one for years – crazy!), I’ve used my fair share of fun images over the past few years. Check out other desktop backgrounds I’ve loved and shared here, here, here, and here!


Recent Reads – May 2018

Ok so first, let me start out by saying that I can’t believe that May is already over. This is nuts and I refuse to believe it. It has completely flown by, but at the same time it’s felt like the looooooooongest month ever (maybe because I’ve had 2 car accidents and my parents came to visit and I went out of town all in 1 month- that’s a lot of stuff going on!) But the fact that it was a super long month meant that I actually got some good reading done for once!

The unfortunate thing, though, is that I wasn’t wow-ed by any of the books I read this month. One I would deem as pretty good, one I would say was ok, and one I just didn’t really enjoy at all. So let’s get into it, shall we?!?


“The story of a young woman’s coming-of-age, set against the glitzy, grimy backdrop of New York’s most elite restaurants, in Sweetbitter Stephanie Danler deftly conjures the nonstop and high-adrenaline world of the food industry and evokes the infinite possibilities, the unbearable beauty, and the fragility and brutality of being young and adrift.”

So here’s the thing… I didn’t really know anything about this book before I started it except “set in restaurant” and “going to be a TV show.” I used to work in a restaurant, so I wanted to give it a go! I thought oh maybe it will be about a girl who finds herself, and love, while working in a restaurant! and ummm no I was 100% wrong. Just so wrong. I don’t want to give anything away, but there was SO MUCH DRUG USE. And the main character was just so self-destructive, and I found it very annoying and frustrating. I honestly don’t know why SO MANY PEOPLE loved this book so much, and I have no desire to watch the TV show. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right head space to enjoy a book about somebody just making the worst life choices, maybe I missed the point, but just… sorry no.

The After Party

“Joan Fortier is the epitome of Texas glamour and the center of the 1950s Houston social scene. Tall, blonde, beautiful, and strong, she dominates the room and the gossip columns. Every man wants her; every woman wants to be her. Devoted to Joan since childhood, Cece Buchanan is either her chaperone or her partner in crime, depending on whom you ask. But when Joan’s radical behavior escalates the summer they are twenty-five, Cece considers it her responsibility to bring her back to the fold, ultimately forcing one provocative choice to appear the only one there is.”

I am all about books set in the 50’s, especially if it’s about fancy ladies in the 50’s. So this one set in TEXAS with fancy ladies in the 50’s?!?! I was SO READY for it! And it… was pretty ok… it did seem a bit repetitive at some points (yes, Cece, we get it, you are being torn between being a good friend and being her babysitter). The story seemed a bit one-sided since we really only see things from Cece’s point of view, but the settings were wonderful and that helped me stay interested in the story. I definitely related to the narrator – I’ve felt responsible for explaining away the behavior of a friend when really I should have just ended the friendship. It’s hard to determine when to keep trying to help someone (when they might not even want to be helped) and when to just cut and run, and I feel like the author could have displayed those feelings a little bit better in the book.

Fitness Junkie

When Janey Sweet, CEO of a couture wedding gown company, is photographed in the front row of a fashion show eating a bruffin–the delicious love child of a brioche and a muffin–her best friend and business partner gives her an ultimatum: lose thirty pounds or lose your job. … As Janey eschews carbs, pays thousands of dollars to wellness gurus, and is harassed by her very own fitness bracelet, she can’t help but wonder: Did she really need to lose weight in the first place?

This was definitely my favorite out of the three I read in May. It was on the list of books I wanted to read this summer so I was really excited to get it started! I LOVED another book by the same authors (The Knockoff) and while I didn’t think this one was as good, I still enjoyed it a lot! The story had a lot of ups and downs and things going on which kept it interesting but it wasn’t too hard to keep track of, which was good. This book made me laugh out loud a few times and I definitely recommend it if you want a fun, easy read for your flight or for the pool!

I already have a few books picked out to read during the month of June, and I can’t wait to start them! Have you read any of these 3 books already? What did you think?!?