Friday, October 30, 2020

15 Reader Favorite Products

Shop the Products:
A few weeks ago, I asked you all if you could only choose one item that you have purchased based on my recommendation that you absolutely love and gift it to someone what would it be?

I can always look at my data/analytics and see the top products but I think it's even more interesting hearing from all of you! So this post is filled with items I have chatted about with you all in the past. You can think of this as kind of a gift guide as I'm not including it in my official guides but a lot of these items will be included in upcoming guides. I am including the most often mentioned items that are also still available. There were SO many but there were some clear standouts that were mentioned many times.

Obagi Vitamin C Serum// Vitamin C serum is a must-have skincare product for me and this is one of the best. I am using this currently and it minimizes my pores, brightens my skin, lessens redness and acne scarring, and more. It's pricey but worth every penny to me. 

RTIC Mug// I talk about these mugs often as they are basically Yeti mugs but for SO much less. We have so many of them and use them every day. Great quality!! 

Wicked Good Slippers// These slippers are the GOAT when it comes to slippers. These are must-haves if you live in a cold winter climate. I wear these starting around November and through March. They keep my feet SO warm and so high quality. '

Down Throw Blanket// You all have heard me go on and on about this blanket and part of it is definitely nostalgic for me, but it's also such a good blanket. Another really great gift to give for the holidays (wait for a sale- there's always something going on!!). 

Dudley Stephens Fleece// I love DS pieces. They are warm and cozy and a chic fleece option. I wear mine ALL of the time in the winter and even love their joggers!

Olay Daily Facials// These are the only things I use to remove my makeup. I have been using them for years and definitely one of my most favorite products ever. They work SO much better than makeup wipes. 

Coffee Mug// I wrote an entire blog post about this coffee mug which I realize is a little nuts, but this is a bone china mug that holds a LOT of coffee. It feels and looks elegant, too. 

Cooling Eye Balm// This was kind of a surprising one for me because I haven't talked about this in a while, but this is such a good one. I use this every single day- truly never skip a day. It's an 'unnecessary' product in that you really don't need it but boy does it feel good on my eyes in the mornings. It's cooling and I find that it helps the puffiness to lessen. Use code SYDNEY for 15% off. 

Teleties// I have tried all of the hair coil ties and these are the best. I have never had one break, they truly don't leave crimps in my hair and hold all of my hair tightly in a vigorous workout. 

CZ Stud Earrings// I always buy these in the Nordstrom Anniversary sale. I have real diamond studs but prefer to wear these as I am not worried about losing them. They are gorgeous and so nice. These make such a good gift. 

Dior Lip Glow// Pricey, but I love these tinted lip balms. Berry is my favorite shade. 

Estancia Cabernet// This is the cabernet that I typically drink week-to-week. It's ~$15/bottle so it's inexpensive and it's always available at the state stores so it's easy to find! It's dry and has a deep flavor and is just all-around a delicious and easy to drink wine. It tastes a lot higher end than the price suggests. 

Faux Suede Top// This is such a good top. It's a wardrobe staple for me as this top is SO comfortable but looks so pretty. It's unique because of the faux suede fabric and doesn't wrinkle easily. 

Ninja Coffee Maker// This is the coffee maker we use daily. We have a Nespresso and love that, but we typically use that on the weekends while we use this to make black coffee during the week. It makes the perfect cup of coffee. I always say that this is a great registry item. 

Lake Pajamas// Best pajamas!! Another pricey item that is worth every penny. They are SO soft and comfortable and I love the colors and stripes. I don't even think they are the cutest pajamas ever, I just think that they are so comfortable so look doesn't matter, ha!

Thursday, October 29, 2020


We are almost to Halloween weekend and November kicks off this Sunday. I cannot believe it. We also set the clocks back on Sunday which is not really my favorite. I don't love when things get dark SO early but I think it helps to look at the silver lining of that...  it means the holiday season is upon us! I also find that I am much better at going to bed earlier once the clocks fall back. Therefore, I am a much better morning person and I always feel SO much better when I keep to that schedule. 

I think we will end up decorating for Christmas next weekend. I need to be able to shoot things for my website/social media that are Christmas themed, so that's really what is driving the early decorating. Also, I don't mind decorating earlier than usual to get into a festive and cozy atmosphere in our home! We don't host Thanksgiving, so I don't need to worry about that aspect either. Traditionally, at my parent's house, we alwayas decorate the Sunday after Thanksgiving during the Steeler game. 

This week I did a lot of desk work which is never exciting but since it was mostly cold and gray all week, I didn't mind! This weekend, I need to focus on getting our house in order and clean!

The photos above are from a visit to the pumpkin patch back in September and over a month later, I realized I never shared these photos! We had such a fun time at Trax Farms which is south of Pittsburgh! 

Gifting: This advent calendar is SO fun and a good value at under $50. 

Eating: My very favorite Thanksgiving side dish: Green Bean Casserole. What's yours? 

Drinking: Adding this to my cocktail list: a winter aperol spritz

Reading: I'm wondering if anyone has any good seasonal books? I'm looking for a feel-good book that's set during Christmas/holiday time- one that feels great to read with a hot cup of tea at night instead of watching TV!

Sale: My favorite conditioner is on sale right now in the big bottle!! It is regularly $48 and right now it is $28. It makes my hair so soft, healthy, and shiny. 

 Have you guys watched any good movies lately? My fiancé and I just finished The Haunting of Bly Manor and loved it and we are going strong with Blacklist (love it), but on the weekends, sometimes we like to stay in and watch a movie instead of a show! 
Loving: So many great new pieces at J.Crew. They always do tartan so well. I am particularly fond of this sweater for men and am thinking about getting it for my fiancé. It has an early 90s Home Alone vibe that I am just loving! 
Wanting: SO many holiday things starting to pop up and I LOVE it!!! Tartans, metallics, gift sets, etc. ! Also so many cozy things like this down robe which I really think I need. 

Smelling: I burned this candle this week and it's so wonderful. It's a great daytime candle since the grapefruit gives off an 'energizing' scent and the pine smells so fresh. 

Quoting:Always say ‘my peace is more important’ when you find yourself reacting to something that doesn’t deserve your energy.”// See more of my favorites, here. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Gift Guide: Small Business Part II

Gift Guide: Small Business Part II
Gift Guide season is upon us and you saw my first guide last week. Today is the day for the second and final edition of my small business guide. I wanted to get these out as early as possible as to not overwhelm these wonderful businesses! Plus, Christmas is now less than 2 months away!

As a housekeeping note, I will have most (if not all) gift guides live prior to Black Friday/Cyber Monday this year. I know you have all voiced your opinions (thank you!!) and the majority of you have said the sooner the better. So I hear you and we are doing things earlier than usual this year. I am working my hardest to get these all out for you ASAP! Hoping to get two more out for next week. I put a lot of care and thought into all I do, and as frivolous as it sounds, I take my gift guides seriously. I put SO much thought and consideration into each item that I include and I can only hope you can tell in the finished product! 

Mary Caroline Spano Bracelet// I was sent a pair of these beautiful bracelets this past summer. They are just so different and while subtle, they are special! 

Charming Scribe Wedding Memory Book// I shared this in a blog post on its own this summer but these are just SO beautiful. A great gift for a bride-to-be. 

India Amory Tablecloth// I bought my first India Amory tablecloth back in April and love her things. They are so beautiful and colorful! 

Tiny Tassel Earrings// These tassel earrings are SO cute. I love these navy pair but I have a more neutral pair so I can wear with a bunch of different oufits. 

Classic Prep Monograms Beaded Clutch// I ordered one of these for our wedding, but when we had to postpone, I panicked because I knew I had our date beaded into the clutch. So, I reached out to the company to see if it was too late to remove the date on the inside and they said it was but they offered to create an entirely new clutch for me and use my old one for product photos. SO thoughtful and wonderful customer service. The clutch is seriously a work of art and I can't wait to be able to carry it. 

Amanda Lindroth// I ordered my first Amanda Lindroth items this past summer and love her tableware and linens. Everything is bright and fun! 

Vivian Drew// Her earrings are now being sold at Anthropologie which is huge!!! The earrings are stunning and my sister will be wearing a pair in our wedding! 

Sarah Flint// These shoes are serioulsy the BEST. The comfort level is off the charts and they are such high quality. I've pretty much stopped buying Manolos and Jimmy Choo's in favor of Sarah Flint. 

Shop The Avenue Bow// These bows are just adorable. Several colors to choose from and you can have whatever you'd like embroidered on them. 

Mi Golondrina// Love love love Mi Golondrina pieces. They are so beautifully embroidered and the fabrics are crisp and bright. I also have a headband and it's one of my most worn pieces and something I have gotten numerous compliments on. 

Willa Heart// I have a Willa Heart piece in our guest room and love it. I learned about Willa Heart when I was on Nantucket last summer. They sold her pieces at Skinny Dip and I fell in love. The pieces are bright and whimsical and just make me smile. 

Monogram Decal Sticker// I have monogram decals everywhere but these are fun because they are layered! 

Tuckernuck Easton Blouse// One of my most worn pieces of clothing ever. I wrote an entire blog post about this top becuase it's so flattering and comfortable. 

Biscuit Home Linens// I love these beautiful printed linens. Whether you're trying to add some pattern or color to your bedroom or designing a room from scratch, these linens are worth the splurge. 

Plainly Worded Art// Jane is SO talented. I've comissioned three pieces from her: our family dog Mac who passed away in 2018, my parent's house, and the Pittsburgh skyline where we got engaged. 

Monogrammed Tissue Box Cover// No tissue box is bare in our house, ha!! I love these monogrammed tissue box covers as they are beautiful and there are so many embroidery options. 

2020 Gift Guides:

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Best Artificial Christmas Tree (and most affordable)

The Best Artificial Christmas Tree (and most affordable)

The Best Artificial Christmas Tree (and most affordable)

The Best Artificial Christmas Tree (and most affordable)
We still have a few days left of October, but I just had to put up this post because my Christmas tree is on crazy sale right now. I, admittedly, had to put on some Christmas music to even get me in the right mood to post about holiday decor, haha!! Anyway, it's regularly $379 and right now it is on sale for $199. 

Last year was the first Christmas in our home and so we were in need of a tree. I wanted an artificial one because I was concerned about Henry getting into a real one and eating the pine needles and all of that. I also like to put mine up before Thanksgiving (as we don't host at our house) so a real Christmas tree would likely not make it all the way to the new year so artificial just makes sense for us. 

Last year in early November, I went to ALL of the stores one day with my mom to try and find us a tree. We seriously looked everywhere and took the entire day to browse. I think it's hard to find a faux Christmas tree without seeing them in person because some can look so cheap/fake/tacky. So, we ended up with this tree and it checked off all of my boxes. It is:

- Full looking. There are no gaping holes in it and it does not look sparse. It takes quite a while to fluff it because of this but it is SO worth it. 

- Each branch has dimension because of the variation in color. The tree itself is not just one shade of green. It has a very slight color variation which helps to give it the depth to look like a real tree. 

- I didn't care about it being pre-lit. The lights on any tree are never reliable and always have issues so I would actually prefer to string my own, but these came with lights, which was fine. Usually, a pre-lit tree is much pricier but on sale, this was such a good price, so I didn't mind. I like a tree with a LOT of lights so I think last year we added two more strands to it and if the lights fail in years to come, it really won't matter to me because I will string my own!

- SO easy to put up and store away. Seriously it comes in 3 pieces and also the metal stand is included. We just store it away in the box it came in (which is actually quite compact). I had ordered a special storage sleeve thing for our tree and I ended up returning it because the box was a better option for us. 

- You get a 2-year warranty for the lights and a 5-year warranty for the actual tree.

- I bought ours in-store, but they are currently offering both free shipping and curbside pickup. The box fit in my sedan! with the seats down. 

- The tree does not shed at all. Needles stay intact and don't make a mess. There is also no fake snow or glitter you have to deal with. 
This was a quick iPhone snap at night last year so you can see it in different lighting. I might even add one more string of lights this year, ha!! I just LOVE the glow that a tree gives off. Also, a bit off-topic, but seeing this photo is fun because we have made so much progress in terms of decorating our living room since last year! 

I don't have any links for the ornaments that we have. I have a lot of ornaments from my childhood and some from my fiancé's childhood plus ornaments we have collected from travels over the years or special milestones. I don't love buying a ton of random ornaments that don't have meaning behind them, but I do have a set of colored balls that help to fill out the tree a little better until we get to the point where all of our ornaments are collected. And the most random place to buy beautiful ornaments is Cracker Barrel. There is one in Robinson (outside of Pittsburgh) and we randomly went last year after a Costco trip (it's super close by) and they had unique and well-made ornaments. We spent like 30 minutes 'oohing and ahhing' at them!!! I haven't been back since then, but I want to go back this year and look at them all again, ha!

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