Wednesday, December 11, 2019

What I'm Looking Forward To In 2020

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There are only 20 days left in 2019, can you believe that? I truly cannot. I started 2019 with a new home and being newly engaged so the year quite literally could not have started better! This year was truly filled with lots of happiness, hard work, and good fortune.

2020 is going to be a big year. Big might not even be a strong enough word!! So, I thought I would share some things I am most excited for in 2020 as they are fun to chat about but also to get you all up to speed if you are at all new to Summer Wind! 

Our Shower
Our shower will be the first thing to kick off 2019 which is crazy. I'm looking forward to celebrating our upcoming wedding with everyone. Although we've been wedding planning all year, we haven't really done anything in celebration since our engagement party in February 2019, so it will be fun!

Our Wedding Weekend 
I mean this is a big DUH, but I couldn't ignore it!! We get married in late spring 2020. We chose to have a longer engagement (over a year) so we could secure the church and venue that we wanted and with only a few months to go, I am so glad for this longer engagement period. We have been able to soak up every moment of being engaged and the wedding stress has been far reduced because we have been able to spread things out so much. 

I keep trying to picture the wedding weekend... I think about what it will be like, what things will look like, how I will feel, etc. I know it will go by like a flash! 

I will resume Wedding Wednesdays in the new year! If you are new hear and want to read past wedding Wednesdays, click here

Our Honeymoon 
This is going to be the longest trip we have both ever taken. We will be gone roughly 18 days which is a little nuts for me. I am a homebody that enjoys routine but I am SO excited for this honeymoon. It's definitely not a common honeymoon- I don't know anyone personally who has done a honeymoon like this. We actually weren't even planning on doing what we are doing. I had stumbled upon this idea and we both ended up loving it and running with it. I will share the details eventually but I think this will be a trip of a lifetime! 

Updating the Summer Wind Website 
This has been on my list for over a year now. With a big move and planning a wedding, I wanted to wait until I was able to give the updates the attention that they deserved so I put them off until 2020 after the wedding. Once that passes, I will have all of my time back! 

Turning 30 
I turn 30 on April 14th. Just typing that out is so weird. I don't think 30 sounds old, and it's not, but I don't think I feel 30 (whatever that is supposed to feel like). But, I will say ever since I turned 28, I started to feel much more like an 'adult'. This year, buying a home and being engaged has definitely made me feel as 'adult' as ever. I'm pretty sure (and hopeful) 30 is going to be a great year! 

Celebrating 1 Year In Our Home 
In April it will mark one year! I LOVE our home and I cannot believe we have been in this house for 8 months already. We are still nowhere near done with the decorating and all of that but we are slowly getting there. I am excited to finally be having our powder room wallpaper installed in January! 

Continuing My Fitness Routine 
I started Orange Theory in September and I truthfully thought it would be to just get in shape for the wedding. Before I started, I thought I would probably quit after the wedding. But no, I LOVE Orange Theory and cannot see myself stopping. It's become such a part of my daily routine and I truly feel so incredible. Not only do I feel good, but it lessens my stress and anxiety SO much. It's also amazing to see what our bodies are capable of, which sounds soooo cliché, I know. But already in just over 3 months, I've greatly increased the weight I am able to lift and the distance and speed I am able to run. I'll have an updated Orange Theory post likely in late January/early February.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers Under $25

Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers Under $25
Today I'm sharing gifts under $25. Sorry for 2 guides in a row but I am getting SO many requests for the under $25/stocking stuffer ideas so I thought I would get this up as soon as possible. These all make great stocking stuffers but many are also very appropriate to give as gifts on their own! $25 price limit is a tough one but I also think opening a stocking is the most fun part of Christmas!

Tinted Lip Balm// This is one of my favorites (get the color rose) and reminds me so much of my favorite Dior lip balm- this is just much less costly!

Wet Brush// This is a product I've been using for years. It is so great for brushing your hair in the shower or post-shower or even at the beach/pool. 

Teleties// These are my favorite coiled hair ties. They hold my super thick hair well and keep their shape. 

Olay Daily Facials// These are my ride or die when it comes to washing my face. I have been using these non-stop for years. They are great for travel, too, because they are already dry, they can never dry out and you'll always have an easy way to wash your face on hand! 

Retinol Eye Cream// This is my latest favorite skincare product. I received a jar for a sponsored post and instantly fell in love. It's SO hydrating!

Hand Cream// I love this scent and this brand is so luxurious. I have been a fan of the brand for years and their products are wonderful. You can find a large selection of Molton Brown on sale, here.

Big Apple Red Polish// This is basically the only red polish I will wear. It's that perfect, bright, classic red!

Set of Kitchen Towels// You can never have too many kitchen towels. Ours get so grungy after a year or so of use, so it's nice to retire those as 'emergency towels' and get fresh ones every so often. 

Foil Cutter// This is a must for any wine-o! We have one and love it. 

Herend-Inspired Hand Towel// How cute is this? I just love Herend and this is something fun to give a Herend-lover without breaking the bank. 

Lavender Soap// This brand is newer to me as I was gifted some of their products a few weeks ago and fell in love with their lavender scent. So soothing! 

Gift Tags// How cute are these gift tags? So fun to have on hand and an inexpensive but personalized gift. 

Lip Balm// This is my favorite lip balm. I've used it for 10+ years. It works, it's trusty and it's cheap. I keep one everywhere. 

Sleep Mask// I love sleep masks and really rely on them so I like to rotate through a few. This one is so cute and you could even be really *extra* and have it monogrammed. 

Lip Liner// You have all heard me talk about this a ton. It's the perfect 'your lips but better' color so it's perfect for everyday wear. It's a 'liner' but I never wear it like that, I fill in my entire lips. It's really matte/drying so I like to put something over top of it like a balm or gloss. 

Peel Pad// These are the best and will truly change your skin for the better. The little kit is only $17 and with only a few treatments, you will notice a difference and become hooked. They reduce your pore size, get rid of acne, keep fine lines away and more. 

Custom Playing Cards// How fun are these? When I came across these, I just realized we don't have any playing cards in our house and I'm sure others are like that, too, so it would be a fun little surprise. 

Pearl Stud Earrings// The irony is that I have both beautiful real pearls and real diamond studs and yet I choose to wear the costume jewelry more. I am always so paranoid about losing them! These are a great costume stud and you don't have to worry about losing them. 

Small Blue and White Planter// How cute is this?! It's a mini planter for things like herbs and would look so cute on a windowsill. 

Body Cream// This is my favorite body cream. It's so rich but absorbs so quickly and doesn't have a fragrance. It's a no-fuss skincare product that literally anyone can use. 

Like I said, you can take some of these stocking stuffers and group them into inexpensive but cute gifts, too! I always like to take cellophane, a big bow, and a gift tag to turn it into a festive little present! 

Make full-gifts out of the Stocking Stuffers:
Small Blue and White Planter and a planted herb like basil or rosemary or mint!

See My Gift Guides Here:
Cyber Week Guides:

2018 Gift Guides that still have a lot of great items in stock 
Stocking Stuffers
Gifts for Coworkers (love this one!!)
2017 Under $100 (most items are still in stock)
2017 Under $100 (most items are still in stock)

Monday, December 9, 2019

Gift Guide: For the Pups

gift ideas for dogs and pet owners

This list is so fun for me to make because I absolutely LOVE shopping for Henry. It's something that brings me so much joy. He's 100% spoiled but he's just so good and so sweet, I can't help it!

These are all ideas for pups and pet owners. I love that my parents and aunt all give Henry presents, too, it's adorable and he loves it! So, if you are going to a house with a pet for the holidays, consider snagging something for their pet. It really means a lot to the owner and the pet obviously loves it, too. A lot of pet products are super inexpensive. They actually have a ton of name-brand toys at places like Homegoods and TJ Maxx, too, that are around $4! 

Dog Print// I just love this print and what a sweet reminder of the pups in our lives. 

Chinoiserie Dog Bowl// Henry has this and we LOVE it. Instead of being an eyesore like a lot of pet items, this is actually beautiful and blends in with our decor. Plus, Dana hand paints the name of your pet inside of the bowl. 

Elephant Storage Basket// This is another item we have in our master bedroom. We store Henry's 'upstair' toys in it and it's so cute sitting in the corner. I think it's probably meant to be a planter but works just as well as a little toy basket. It would be cute to use in a child's room, too. 

Puzzle Cube // In true Australian Cattle Dog fashion, Henry is SO smart. He needs to be mentally stimulated which is hard some days and especially hard in the winter when we don't go for as long of walks. I swear I have tried every toy under the sun to keep him occupied and active and this one is one of his absolute favorites as he tries to remove the balls inside of the 'cage'. 

Bow Collar// Henry looks so dapper in his bow collar! They have such cute holiday plaids but also some other non-holiday options, too! It's extremely high-quality for the price. 

Personalized Mat// We have a personalized mat for Henry and it's so sweet. It's also kind of necessary so he doesn't splash his water all over our hardwood floors! 

Vitamin Treats// We give one of these to Henry every morning. It is a vitamin treat. It's fun to be ablt to treat him and know he is getting nourished, too. 

Dog Bone Pillow// This is going to sound crazy but Henry loves his pillow. I know you're probably like 'how in the world do you know he loves it'. It looks/feels like a stuffed toy and he has not chewed on it or played with it like a toy. In fact, he moves it around on his bed to get it in the 'right' position for him. It's so funny. He also just oddly loves pillows. If he is in a bed, he lays his head on a pillow like a human would, ha! But seriously this is just such a fun little 'unnecessary' gift idea. 

Engraved Ornament// I got my parents a special dog ornament the year Mac passed away (last year) for Christmas and it is so special. Also a fun ornament idea for a newly adopted pup! 

Dino Nylabone// This is hands-down Henry's favorite toy. He loves Nylabone brand toys and oddly enough, he specifically prefers the dinosaur-shaped ones. My aunt gets him one every year and he goes nuts for it. Henry is a VERY heavy chewer and this is a toy that lasts him for months (which is so rare). 

Leather Dog Tag// This is one major sale right now (seriously $3), but Henry has this tag in blue and it's so cute. It's real pebbled leather and his name is embossed in gold. 

Cableknit Sweater// This cable knit is so stinking cute. I die for pet clothes and really try to limit putting Henry in them because I know he doesn't love them. However, sometimes it is truly frigid outside and a sweater/coat is a welcome layer. Henry has a coat and he truly doesn't mind it. 

Frame// I think this is so sweet and adorable. It's a simple, thoughtful gift idea. 

Scout Bag// We use this bag for Henry whenever we bring him anywhere. It's like his little overnight bag. It's small and you can get it embroidered. We got it customized with his name and what I like about it is that it's lightweight and a material that you can just wipe off with a wet cloth if it gets dirty.  

Custom Dog Socks// Fun story. Last year, my fiancé really wanted a Juju Smith Schuster jersey (a Pittsburgh Steeler player). I truly convinced him that I didn't get him it (because I don't like team jerseys in general so it was easy... but you know, I got him the jersey anyway... #truelove) and told him I got him the 'best gift ever'. For weeks, he kept joking and saying 'nothing could be better than a Juju jersey' and he could not guess what I got him. So, I had him open these socks with Henry's face on them and he was absolutely THRILLED. The smile on his face was the biggest I had ever seen. They're truly hysterical and kind of a gag gift but my fiancé thought they were the coolest thing ever and now refers to them as his 'Henry socks'. He says it was the best gift he has ever received!

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Service Sunday: Support Pet Shelters

Another Service Sunday! Today is a roundup of pet-related charities as I received a ton of information regarding all different types of charities. I absolutely LOVE that so many of you are also advocates for pets and adoption. Pet adoption is truly important to me and something I am passionate about. 

If you have been considering adopting a pet, and are able to afford it and take on the responsibility, I could not recommend it more. We adopted our family dog Mac (from Washington Humane Society) and he brought SO MUCH happiness to our family. He passed away in February 2018 and I miss him dearly. I adopted Henry in December 2017 and you all know how much I love my Henry. We rescued him from Tracy's Dogs.

A lot of shelters are way too full in the country. When you adopt a dog, you save two dogs. One because you leave a spot open in a shelter and two because of the dog you save. In our case, we saved 3 dogs: 1 spot opened up in the shelter, one spot opened up with Tracy's Dogs and we saved Henry. It's truly a wonderful thing you can do and I cannot even begin to put into words the joy and happiness Henry brings to our lives. We adopted Henry from Southern Texas where they have a severe stray dog population. This is because the dogs are not being neutered and spayed and just keep reproducing. It's a big issue and the shelters aren't big enough and simply can't afford to save them all so a lot of shelters are high-kill shelters. It's heartbreaking. Henry was literally saved from being euthanized in a south Texas shelter because of Tracy's Dogs. Tracy's Dogs was the organization that saved him from the kill-shelter and then they got him up to date on everything, socialized him, etc. and he then came to us. Seriously, it is one of the best decisions I have ever made in my entire life. I was nervous about the cost and responsibility and in hindsight, I should have never been worried. 

However, I know not everyone wants a pet and a lot of you are probably like us: we personally cannot handle/care for more dogs at this time! But, there is still a lot you can do to help and make a difference. 

First, I am going to share the many ways you can help. It obviously differs from charity to charity, but these will give you a starting point to think of what you can do personally. Then, I'll share some local Pittsburgh non-profits (as those are the ones I received the most submissions for) but I'll also share some national ones that have been sent in by readers (and some that I already knew about, too). 

How You Can Help
Obviously, the first thing you can do is to donate money. I know a lot of people would rather volunteer or donate actual items and whatnot, but money in these instances can help SO much. A lot of the humane societies and pet organizations have high medical bills because of all of the animals they treat. Even just spaying and neutering is an expense. A lot of charities, which are INCREDIBLE, also will pay for your dog's medical bills if you cannot afford them. Also, with money, they are able to buy all the supplies they need! A lot of non-profits give you the option to make a monthly donation (which is what I have set up to do) and it is so easy and makes donating more money possible! 

Fostering dogs is another great option. I have never done this so I can't really speak too much about it but you are giving a dog a warm and loving home until they can either recover from illness or until they are adopted. A lot of sick dogs or older dogs simply can't be in a shelter and there are so many scared, emaciated dogs who would thrive in a warm and loving home. It's SUCH a selfless thing to do.

Donating items is an option at a lot of non-profits. Most websites have wish-lists of items they could use and I've seen some even post their Amazon wish lists so you can go on and so easily donate something they can truly use. You can also donate your old towels at some places... not all accept this but if you have old towels you don't use, consider calling around to see if any shelters in your area can use them! 

Volunteering is another great option! A lot of shelters and the like require training first, but a lot of times, if you just want to provide interaction and companionship, you might not need to go through all of the training. Dogs just want to be loved and human interaction enriches their lives SO much. Even just from being with Henry all the time- he always wants to be petted or played with and he even finds so much peace and relaxation when he just lays right up against me.

Local Pittsburgh Pet Non-Profits:

National Pet Non-Profits:
- Tracy's Dogs (where we got Henry!)
- ACDRA (this is a site I was heavily checking before I found Henry)

I also found this really great resource for a list of charities that will help you to pay for your dog's medical needs should you be unable to. It's great to donate to organizations like these but it's also great to share this resource if you know anyone that has an animal in need and can't afford the medical costs. Which, if you didn't know, can get crazy expensive- we had an emergency incident with Henry and had to take him to the emergency vet one year ago and we were fortunate enough to be able to afford whatever he needed but there are so many people who can't. I think our bill (for a one night stay and treatment) was over $1500!

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